A report on ASEEES 2013 in Boston

Thanks to the generous support of the CLS travel fund, I was able to participate at the annual conference of Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES), held on November 21-24, 2013 in Boston, MA. From the website:

ASEEES, a nonprofit, non-political, scholarly society, is the leading private organization in the world dedicated to the advancement of knowledge about the former Soviet Union (including Eurasia) and Eastern and Central Europe. ASEEES supports teaching, research, and publication relating to Slavic, East-Central European and Eurasian studies nationally and internationally. The Association is also a constituent society of the American Council of Learned Societies.

I have been a regular participant at this conference and I am currently organizing another section on foreign language pedagogy for its next convention in 2014.

Since my recent research work has been focused on working with heritage learners and using authentic literary texts in the language classroom to improve their reading and writing skills, for this conference I presented a paper Teaching Literature in a Heritage Language Classroom as part of the panel on heritage language learning Teaching Heritage Learners of Russian: Practical Problems and Conceptual Approaches.  This presentation grew out of my work on the Dostoevsky Reader The Meek One (Yale University Press, 2011) and an anthology of Russian Poetry for Learners of Russian, forthcoming from Yale University Press in 2014.

Our panel was well-attended and we had a lot of productive discussions afterwards. Since we had presentations from the university professors teaching in the United States and in the United Kingdom, we were able to have a lively professional exchange comparing our teaching methods and techniques as well as our learners, their goals and motivation in learning Russian. This panel was extremely useful for me as an instructor here at Yale, since I have been teaching a heritage learners’ course for more than ten years, and it is always helpful to have the opportunity to learn how it is done in a different setting.

I feel that the language pedagogy panels, as well as the informal conversations with instructors from other schools, were very stimulating, and I was able to meet many colleagues from other institutions and get a lot of new ideas to apply in my classes here at Yale.  Again, I would like to thank the Center for Language Study for giving me this valuable opportunity for professional growth.

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