08 July 2016

Top 10 Reasons You Should Go to ASU Summer Institute

I owe a lot of my success as a Spanish teacher to an excellent MA program in the mountains of North Carolina. I took some hybrid courses during the school year, but I earned most of my MA in Romance Languages (Spanish, K-12) over three summers at the Summer Graduate Institute for Foreign Language Teachers at Appalachian State University.

It's almost Summer Institute time again this year, and I'm getting a little nostalgic. I'd like to show everyone what makes this program so great, and to that end, I've enlisted some of my brilliant Institute Amigos to share some of the amazing things they're doing in their classes to illustrate how cool they are and the program that united us is.

And so, for each week of Summer Institute 2016, learn about a cool new strategy--from some of the masters of my Masters program--to take your language instruction above and beyond.

But before this year's Summer Institute starts, let me share a little bit about what makes the program itself so special.


Where else can you earn six credit hours in three weeks? It's an intense three weeks, nonstop immersion lunches and immersion housing (if you choose to stay on campus), but you can't beat the efficiency!


While the rest of the South is melting, enjoy a cool(er) clime on the mountaintop. You almost don't need air conditioning!


We must have had quiche at least once a week--sometimes twice--while I was up there. What a tasty, nutritious meal while you converse in the target language with your amigos.


Whether you're waiting for the elevator in the dorm before you go to class in the morning, gazing out wistfully from the summit of the library while studying, or heading down the cascade of steps to the dining hall for supper, there are gorgeous mountains everywhere.


As one Institute Amiga put it, "who doesn't want to go to 'adult summer camp'?!...uninterrupted time to study/work/learn. ... No home responsibilities or children/husbands to tend to..." In the summer your immersion in culture and linguistics and pedagogical advancement is not competing with deadlines for semester grades. And in the dorm, there are no diapers or football practice or vacuum cleaners.


Seriously, who knew Uruguay had such great writers? And that there were so many great 19th and 20th century Spanish classics for free online? I didn't. But now I do

Oh, and Doc Watson.


Black Cat burritos, McAdoo's sandwiches, Mellow Mushroom pizza, and Mast General Store are some of my favorites, but there are plenty of shops with books and beads and antiques and art and Mountaineer memorabilia to while away those free hours between 10-page papers in or about the target language.


If the professors don't have enough exciting strategies for you to try, then you have some of the brightest minds from the language teaching trenches working right beside you to share cool things they've found and created!


Failing National Boards twice was a growing experience, and I hope plenty of people were able to gain from my experience. I would NEVER have been able to make it that third try if I hadn't had the support, guidance, and room to practice--and above all feedback from professors and peers--to adjust my methods, I would be adrift to this day. #LangChat is awesome and changed my life, but I really needed that in-person, direct connection to make meaningful changes to my practice.

Three Institute Amigas at
another Institute Amiga's wedding


These people are my lifelong friends. They are my professional support. They are my inspiration. And in honor of Summer Institute and everything it means to us, I would like to dedicate this month's guest blogger series to them and to all they have done and continue to do to help me grow.

I featured some brilliant ideas from ASU colleagues earlier this year, but I hope the upcoming Summer Institute Series posts will really drive home how far and above and beyond Institute Amigos go for their students--and how you can too!
Here's what you can look forward to during Summer Institute this year:

WEEK 1 - July 15

Kids Teaching Kids: Start a summer language camp

by Stephanie Schenck 

(AATSPSC president--check out her TPT store!)

WEEK 2 - July 22

Take Language out of the Classroom: Start an immersion weekend

by Jeff Pageau 

(2013 FLANC ToY!)

WEEK 3 - July 29

The W.A.Y.: Start an after-school club

by Linda Carrillo

(2015 Rosman Middle School ToY!)

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