World Language Graduate Teaching Program Earns National Recognition

World Language Graduate Teaching Program Earns National Recognition

The program has recently earned national recognition by the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).

As a junior, Ali Famigletti ’14 studied abroad in Italy, then went back overseas to work with Fairfield’s Study Abroad program. She earned her master’s degree in Italian, then spent a few years applying her language skills to the world of business before realizing that her passion was in teaching the language she loved. That meant returning to Fairfield University to get her teaching certification.

“One of best things about Fairfield’s master’s program is that it’s customized for you and the way you want to teach language," she said. "I felt like someone was by my side at all times.”

Famigletti is not the only one to sing the praises of language programs at Fairfield's Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions (GSEAP). Its World Language program has recently earned national recognition by the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), an organization of language educators dedicated to advancing best practices in language learning.

“National recognition demonstrates that we adhere to a rigorous set of professional preparation standards for our students pursuing careers in education,” said Stephanie Burrell Storms, EdD, associate dean.

The World Language program is among a number of GSEAP programs that have received national recognition, including: School Psychology, Secondary Education English, Secondary Education Math, and Special Education. The Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program has also been nationally recognized and is one of only two programs in Connecticut to offer initial teacher certification in TESOL.

World language teachers are in demand across the state, noted Anne Campbell, PhD, director of the TESOL and World Languages and Bilingual Education programs. “There are simply not enough teachers with the skills to teach the subject.” Dr. Campbell visits undergraduate language classes to encourage Fairfield students to consider joining the BA/MA Fifth Year program to pursue a career in teaching.

GSEAP has only recently added Italian to the list of languages in which students can earn teaching certification. Mary Ann Carolan, PhD, professor of modern languages and literature and Sara Diaz, PhD, assistant professor of modern languages and literature were instrumental in writing the proposal to add Italian to the list of offerings that includes French, Spanish, Latin, and German.

“By certifying Italian in the graduate education program, the State of Connecticut recognizes Fairfield’s robust undergraduate curriculum in the language and culture of Italy,” said Dr. Carolan. “Students who major in Italian acquire the linguistic skills and cultural competency necessary to teach others about the riches of Italy.”

Dr. Campbell agreed. “Collaboration with the world language faculty, especially for the integrated BA/MA Fifth Year program, has been invaluable in strengthening the preparation of our teacher candidates,” she said.

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