- Last week, TEFL/TESL faculty and students attended the Annual Co-TESOL Convention in Denver (November 14-15, 2014). Three student-led presentations were delivered at the convention: Angela Sharpe, Moriah Kent and Tatiana Nekrasova-Beker discussed the benefits of Using Corpora in the L2 Classroom; Kenshin Huang and Tatiana Nekrasova-Beker shared their insights on Engaging Asian Students in Classroom Interactions, and Reyila Hadeer and Victor Kuan presented a session on Teacher’s Support during Project-based Learning. Due to the generous support of INTO-CSU, 16 graduate students attended the convention this year.
- Sarah Sloane gave two presentations, one at a roundtable and another on a featured panel at Writing on the Range, a conference held at University of Denver for college and university faculty from Colorado (and a couple from New Mexico) who do scholarship in the field of writing studies.Her roundtable participation included a discussion of state guidelines for advanced composition classes and a proposal for an advanced writing course that starts by reading Colorado prepper literature. Looking historically at the various permutations of prepper responses to a culture of fear as it has informed 1980s survivalist literature, 1990s prepper handbooks, and contemporary descriptions of potential disasters and 72-hour bug-out bags, students will examine the shaky evidence and rhetorical appeals embedded in YouTube videos, podcasts, social media, listserves like “Vegas Preppers,” and blogs about prepping. Students will then move from reading these flawed rhetorical constructions to composing their own well-supported arguments on a wide range of topics. Students will develop the rhetorical sensitivity and critical acumen necessary to compose within more typical rhetorical situations and Colorado contexts.
Her featured panel presentation discussed the Colorado State University Composition Program, its location within local, regional, and state contexts, and our program’s collaborative efforts to bring state-of-the-art facilities to support critical analyses of websites, blogs, podcasts, prezis, and new notions of intellectual property, copyright, credibility, the material and the virtual, credibility, representation, and all the many forms, genres, and questions that digital systems, digital publics, and online social networks allow.
- Leif Sorensen’s essay “Against the Post-Apocalyptic: Narrative Closure in Colson Whitehead’s Zone One,” on the most recent novel by MacArthur genius grant recipient Colson Whitehead is now available in the current issue of Contemporary Literature.
Professor Sorensen also attended the annual meeting of the Modernist Studies Association in Pittsburgh in early November and presented a paper, “Fragmented Ancestors,” on the literary recoveries of Américo Paredes and D’Arcy McNickle.
- Graduating English Education student Clint Pendley has accepted a position teaching seventh grade Literacy and English Language Development at Columbia Middle School in Aurora, CO. Congratulations, Clint!
- Greyrock Review is now accepting submissions! Greyrock Review is an undergraduate anthology at Colorado State University. Submissions are open from October 6, 2014 to December 1, 2014 for original work in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual arts. Any undergraduate at CSU may submit their work at https://greyrockreview.submittable.com/submit for free and will be notified by December 15, 2014. Any questions may be sent to email@example.com
Dr. Tatiana Nekrasova-Beker is currently teaching graduate courses in the TEFL/TESL program and working with INTO-CSU to help support students in the Pathway program. Tatiana received both her M.A. and Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from Georgia State University and Northern Arizona University, respectively. Her research interests include usage-based approaches to L2 acquisition, the role of formulaic language in fluency and syntactic development, interactionist approaches to SLA, project-based methods in L2 instruction, and corpus-based analyses of ESP texts. When she is not working, Tatiana likes to travel (AKA attend conferences), go hiking with her husband Tony and their son Mikhael, and do yoga.
How would you describe your work in the English Department?
Very satisfying. I love being in academia and working with students. The grading part is not my favorite, but it is important, too.
What brought you to CSU?
My husband. He started his new position at CSU, so we moved to Fort Collins a few years ago. When a new position in the English department opened up, I felt it was meant to be…
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I like seeing students become excited about their profession, their projects and future prospects.
Why do you think English and the Humanities are important? They help you to understand life in a larger context.
When I was about to submit my college application and could not decide between Chemistry and Philology (Literature + Language), my high school Biology teacher told me this: When you study Literature, each year you feel you expand in what you know in many areas that are related yet different. That helps you to get a more holistic picture of the world you live in and you can talk to people about that. When you study Biology (or Chemistry), you expand your knowledge about a specific topic within the discipline. My teacher was studying rats and their behaviors. As she said, nobody wanted to talk about rats at parties.
What inspired you to pursue a degree in English and teaching?
My very first English teacher. She was sophisticated and very kind, and I liked hearing her British accent.
What had the greatest influence on your career path?
My professors and mentors from Northern Arizona University. I look up to them and hope to be as good as they are one day.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
Up until I turned 10, I wanted to be a singer or an actress. At 10, when I started learning English in school, I decided that I would be an English teacher.
Can you describe your experience at CSU so far? What do you want to accomplish while you’re here?
My experiences have been very positive. Since the very first summer we came to Fort Collins, colleagues in the department have been extremely supportive and welcoming. It felt nice to have people around who care about your well-being, remember your birthday, and are always happy to help. While I am at CSU, I am hoping to help the TEFL/TESL program grow.
What is your favorite thing about teaching what you teach? The topics we discuss in my classes are complex, but have direct practical applications. I like both – the complexity (as it exercises your brain) and the application (which helps you to stay level-headed).
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
One of my mentors gave me professional advice: Do not do (or publish) sloppy work. It is a waste of time.
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Being able to build a life in a foreign country.
What is the last great piece of writing you read? What are you currently reading?
I just finished a co-authored manuscript about the complexity of listening sub-skills. I have read a few great studies with excellent research design, which made them pleasurable reading pieces for me. Outside of academia, I am reading Jo Baker’s Longbourn.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do?
I like to travel, hike, and do yoga.
Which three people, living or dead, would you invite to dinner?
My family (dad, mom, and my sister). We live so far from each other and don’t get to see each other very often, so I would rather enjoy my dinner with them.