Spring Fest 2019

On April 17, GSL held a well-attended “Spring Fest,” which included a performance by MIT’s Asian Dance Team, and the awarding of student prizes. The event honored recipients of the Award for Excellence, Miyagawa Japanese Prize, and the Isabelle de Courtivron writing prize.

M. Amah Edoh and Panpan Gao win Levitan Award!

GSL professor M. Amah Edoh and lecturer in Chinese Panpan Gao have both been selected by MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences to receive 2019 Levitan Teaching Awards. To quote from the committee: “This prize recognizes instructors in our School for superb pedagogy. You were nominated by your students, so the award makes clear that you have made a real difference to our community.”

Hee-Jeong Jeong, lecturer in Korean, reports on Korean Movie Night

The Korean language program launched Korean Movie Night on April 12. Fifty students (current students and their language buddies) enjoyed watching Castaway on the Moon. Korean fried chicken and pizza were provided. Funded by MISTI/MIT-KOREA, the Korean program will host this event annually.

In other news: due to student demand, the Korean Language Program will begin offering Korean 5 and Korean 6 for the first time in academic year 2019-2020.

Hee-Jeong Jeong also reported she has joined a project with the Wellesley Korean Program to create a joint Wellesley-MIT course in Business Korean. The Andrew W. Mellon Blended Learning Initiative will support this project.

Maria Khotimsky, Senior Lecturer in Russian, reported on some of the accomplishments of current or former students:

  • Gabrielle Marvez and Karen Camacho, second-year MIT undergrads, participated in the New England Olympiada of Spoken Russian at the Davis Center at Harvard on Sunday, April 7.
  • Keenan Albee (PhD, AeroAstro), who studies Russian at MIT, won the Critical Language Scholarship for studying Russian language in Nizhni Novgorod, Russia this summer;
  • Piper Sigrest (class of 2018, major in AeroAsto, minor in Russian), currently a PhD student at the  University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, was accepted to study at the Advanced Russian Language and Area Studies Program in Moscow this summer.
  • Abby Bertics, who took Russian I-IV at MIT, and who is currently a junior in Course 6, won the Fulbright Fellowship! Abby will spend the next academic year in Ekaterinburg, Russia where she will be working on her research in computational analysis of language acquisition.

Dagmar Jaeger hosts area high school students visit MIT

Dagmar Jaeger hosted 16 high schoolers who study German at Melrose High on April 23 for a visit to MIT campus. The visitors met with MIT students from the German program and had a conversation with German Studies Professor Bettina Stoetzer and Justin Leahey (MIT-Germany) to get a sense of how continuing German in college could work for them, especially in the context of STEAM and global education. This is the 6th annual high school campus visit organized by Dagmar.

Enriching language instruction with the arts!

  • Nilma Dominique took a group of students who study Portuguese to a concert by the legendary Brazilian singer Caetano Veloso at Sanders Theatre on April 18. Listen and enjoy a sample of his music: YOUTUBE. (

    Nilma Dominique, fourth from left, with her students.

  • Leanna Rezvani and Carrie O’Connor took their French students to a concert by Le Vent Du Nord, a Quebecois folk music group, on April 30.

    Leanna Rezvani (at table, third from left) with students

GSLers present their research

  • Takako Aikawa and Tetsuro Takahashi co-authored a book chapter (in Japanese), called (in English) “Toward the Development of AI Tutor: the Development of Error Corpus Data and the Acquisition Process of Grammar Error Correction.” This will appear in a book edited by Yasuhiko Tohsaku and Jae-Ho Lee called, Information and Communication Technology (ICT)’s Challenges for Japanese Language Education published in March by the Hitsuji Shobo.
  • Catherine Clark was interviewed by WUMB Here & Now for a segment entitled “How ‘The Hunchback Of Notre Dame’ Helped France Rediscover Its Love For The Cathedral

Talks and conference presentations

  • Takako Aikawa gave two talks in April: “Innovative Language Instruction using VR” at Wellesley College, and “Virtual Study-Abroad Experience: JaJan” at  the Certificate in Teaching Language and Culture Class (RLL220) at Harvard University.
  • M. Amah Edoh was a Discussant at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College for a screening and discussion around an exhibit titled “Three Films by Yinka Shonibare’s, MBE” on April 11. She presented a paper at the Women & Gender Studies Intellectual Forum: “Our grandmothers’ cloth: Cultural production, global membership, and ‘The New Africa'” on April 24.
  • Leanna Rezvani presented a paper entitled, “Saintly Women, Lions, and the Desert: The Heroine of the Heptaméron’s Sixty-Seventh Tale and Saint Mary of Egypt” at the Keene State Medieval and Renaissance Forum in Keene, NH on April 13.
  • Wakana Maekawa participated in the American Association of Teachers of Japanese Annual Spring Conference in Denver, CO, last month. Her presentation on “Assessment of students’ learning at 8-week summer intensive program: Its equivalency to a year-long curriculum.”
  • Kang Zhou chaired a panel April 5 and  made a presentation called “Reflecting on Practice: Keys for Bringing Comprehensive Input into Chinese Language Class” at the CLTA Annual Conference in Seattle.

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