Academic Degrees: M.A. in French literature, Emory University; Ph.D. in French and Educational Studies, Emory University
Research Interests: Psychology of language learning and teaching, educational technology and virtual environments in language learning, curriculum development, & language program evaluation
Courses: Beginning French I: French Identity through Visual Media; Beginning French II: Exploring Parisian Identity; LING 200: Second Language Acquisition; RLL210: Language Pedagogy: Theories, Practices, & Approaches
My research intersects the fields of psychology of language learning and teaching, educational technology and virtual environments in language learning, curriculum development, & language program evaluation. My current book project (with Stacey Katz Bourns and Cheryl Krueger) under contract with Yale University Press aims to create links between foreign language pedagogy and meaningful content through the intersection of innovative theories, approaches, and practices. My research has been featured in the Modern Language Journal, Foreign Language Annals, the Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium (CALICO) Journal, Language Learning, the International Journal of Applied Linguistics, and various edited volumes.
In curriculum design, I aim to move away from more traditional classroom structures and instead included experiential and virtual learning contexts. For example, the Beginning French II course is contextualized around Paris and its arts, media, neighborhoods, and housing and students immerse themselves virtually in Parisian life. With the support of the Elson Family Initiative Arts fund, I have been fortunate to work with actors from the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) who have led experiential workshops for Beginning French students to equip them with some of the tools used by professional actors to communicate their stories and speak with confidence and clarity. With the support of a Foreign Language Advisory Group grant, I have recently incorporated virtual reality experiences into this course in an effort to enhance perspective, empathy, and cultural understanding of the Paris attacks in 2015.
I have also been fortunate to work in the realm of digital humanities as one of the co-founders of the Charlie Archive at Harvard Library, a multimedia collection of printed and digital materials produced in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris. The idea of creating such a collection emerged from a conversation among a literature scholar, two librarians (who specialize in digital preservation, Western Europe, and political ephemera), and me. The support from the Lasky-Barajas Fund for Digital Arts & Humanities has allowed us to grow this digital humanities project, and it now includes a collection of diverse donations from around the world. The archive, intended for both scholarly and pedagogical purposes, has collected various materials such as photos, cartoons, personal narratives, paintings, independent films, and blogs. I coordinated oral history narrative interviews with Harvard undergraduates and faculty to capture the perspectives of those in diverse fields such as Middle Eastern Studies, Religion, Law, History, and Government. In January 2017, we curated an interactive exhibit of digital and ephemeral materials from the Charlie Archive at the French Cultural Center in Boston.
In the Persian language pedagogy context, I served as the curriculum design specialist in the development of National Standards for Persian, funded by STARTALK. In this role, I helped guide the collaboration of over thirty Persian professors, scholars, and graduate students across the country in the development of a curriculum guide for Persian language learning. The final curriculum guide for Persian is a 125-page document that includes themes, genres, Standards-based goals, and sample units for Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Persian. I co-authored an article “The development of a national curriculum guide for Persian: Themes, genres, standards-based goals, and models,” which was published in the Journal of Less Commonly Taught Languages. In addition, I have given several workshops in the Arabic language pedagogy context at the National Middle East Language Resource Center and co-authored a chapter on beliefs, motivation, and engagement in the second edition of the Handbook for Arabic Teaching Professionals in the 21st century.
With the support of a grant from the Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching (HILT), I co-organized a Language Program Evaluation symposium in October 2014. The symposium, Innovation & Accountability in Foreign Language Program Evaluation, was related to my edited volume of the same title, and the main objective was to explore contemporary approaches, tools, and recommendations that can make evaluation a valuable means for identifying and acting on a language program’s strengths and weaknesses.