Hello! My name is Mike (he/him), and I work to push the boundaries of language education. I currently teach French and conduct research in second language acquisition. This page serves to contextualize the work I post on this site, and give you a brief overview of who I am, what I stand for, and what I’ve learned as a teacher-researcher.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
I firmly believe that:
- All people have the right to a representative, equitable education in a safe environment.
- Regardless of the various facets of our identities, we all deserve respect, dignity, and the chance to broaden our minds and cultivate our pursuits.
- Education and knowledge should be freely available and accessible to everyone; unrestricted education is necessary for a democratic society.
- It is the moral imperative of all educators and educational researchers to critically examine our society and institutions, to actively dismantle oppressive systems, and to teach our students to do the same.
These values are core to my teaching, research, and my very being. Pretending to be neutral or apolitical ignores the reality that such a position implicitly propagates the status quo, which is neither neutral nor apolitical.
Education and Technology
Digital technologies pervade our societies and mediate many facets of our lives. Playing, learning, socializing, working, banking–these are all done online. We must help students to cultivate digital literacy skills in order to navigate our hybrid lives today, and prepare them to use, innovate, and create the technologies of tomorrow.
In my teaching, I have used technology for the following:
- Mediating live lectures and presentations through video or voice calls
- Mediating live, collaborative, project-based classes through video or voice calls
- Meeting 1-on-1 with students for tutoring or extra help
- Providing detailed, actionable feedback to students
- Automating feedback
- Organizing, delivering, and moderating asynchronous coursework
- Developing pre-recorded educational content for the flipped-classroom format
- Connecting students with authentic target-language materials from international sources
- Collaborating with colleagues on pedagogical practices
I have been lucky enough to work in school districts in high socioeconomic status areas, where students have access either to personal devices or school-issued devices. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, I frequently assigned technology-based activities in-class and for homework, ranging from research projects using international sources to digitally-distributed worksheets. All of the classes I taught pre-COVID were essentially blended courses. As a result, students were able to access and analyze international sources of information, teach themselves knew information, and collaborate with each other digitally.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, I earned credentials in fully-remote course development. I have since taught both synchronously and asynchronously at primary, secondary, and tertiary levels. This experience has proven to me the viability of digitally-mediated courses, as well as the necessity of modifying our course design according to a different body of teaching research. It is not sufficient merely to digitize a face-to-face course; a remote course must be built as such from the beginning, and we need to use different strategies based on its delivery as either blended, synchronous, or asynchronous.
Most importantly, digital technologies can serve to democratize education. Open Educational Resources (OER) can be shared on a much larger scale than the analog world’s equivalent (a veteran teacher sharing resources with a new teacher). Free (i.e. libre) software can minimize economic barriers to education that entrench generational poverty and prevent upward socioeconomic mobility.
At the primary and secondary levels, I’ve taught French and Latin from grades 5 through 12, including honors and AP courses. I’ve also taught undergraduate-level French and Latin. Outside of the formal classroom environment, I have tutored French, Latin, Linguistics, English composition, and chess.
My pedagogy is learner-centric and growth-oriented. The banking model of education is obsolete and inherently oppressive in its practice. Students learn best by actively doing. Digital technologies can provide more opportunities for students to synthesize knowledge gained through learning, to create artifacts which evidence their skills.
My primary research interests broadly include: learning through play, critical pedagogy, metalinguistic interventions, and multilingualism.