An exciting new project, Multilingualism and Education in Wisconsin, features over 100 podcast interviews with students, educators, and community members throughout Wisconsin, including Russianists from around the UW-Madison campus and the wider community.
The collection of interviews includes CREECA faculty member Karen Evans-Romaine who describes her multilingual upbringing and what it was like to learn three languages while in college. She walks us through half a century of language education, highlighting how contemporary practices differ from those of the past and between different languages. Evans-Romaine provides an overview of the Russian Flagship Program and describes how she and its leadership have adapted in response to COVID-19.
In another interview, UW-Madison Russian Flagship student Aaron Greenberg talks about how he got “hooked” on language/linguistics and studying and teaching at the German School of Madison. Greenberg also describes the importance of vulnerability when teaching a language as a non-native speaker of that language.
In addition, UW-Madison senior Maya Reinfeldt shares what it was like growing up in a Russian-speaking family and her experience teaching at the Madison Russian School that her mom opened nearly ten years ago. The Russian and International Studies major discusses how the school and other community groups have allowed her to connect with Wisconsin’s Russian population. Reinfeldt also weighs in on the motives for additional learning and the importance of exploring the diversity among speakers of the target language.
Finally, Catherine Wilson, English language teacher in the Fort Atkinson School District, narrates how her experience in the Peace Corps resulted in her decision to learn Russian and encouraged her to become a teacher. She also talks about how she lives a life bilingually and creates a safe and inclusive classroom environment.
The Multilingualism and Education in Wisconsin initiative was developed by UW-Madison student Claire Darmstadter, who is pursuing a career in bilingual education and studying Elementary Education – ESL, LACIS (Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies), Chicane/Latine Studies, and Educational Policy. The project is supervised by UW-Madison Professor of Bilingual/Bicultural Education Diego Román and funded by a Public Humanities Exchange for Undergraduates (HEX-U) grant.
Read/listen to these fascinating interviews—and many more—at this link.