Beata I. Arciszewska-Russo is a Senior Lecturer at the English Language Center. She has extensive experience in teaching English as a foreign and second language, teacher training, and curriculum development. Her interests include grammar instruction, language learning and literacy development in a second language, and second language production and perception. She developed and piloted the Bureau of ABLE funded study circles, including, “Teaching Adult ESL Literacy” and “Lesson Planning”, and conducted action research on the link between spelling knowledge and the development of reading fluency of Arabic-speaking adult learners. Beata takes a holistic approach to working with students, assisting them along their way toward meeting their educational and personal goals.
Beata I. Arciszewska-Russo’s service for the English Language Center and Gonzaga University started in 2006 when she was first hired as an adjunct instructor. In 2007, she applied for and was granted a full-time position as an instructor and has worked in that capacity ever since. Although her journey of teacher development did not start at GU, her tenure at the university has been both exciting and transformative. She has evolved into a diversified and experienced teacher and teacher educator, thanks to the expectations of professional growth and opportunities that the program creates. She has taught IEP courses in every skill and level in the ESL department, as well as in a community based language program for adults. She has also taught a graduate-level course and shared her expertise and time with students in the MA/TESL (Master of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) program.
Central to Beata’s constantly evolving methodology is the view of the language learner as an active contributor to the learning process. The learner seen from a humanistic-cognitive standpoint has specific needs, strengths and concerns, all of which relate to language. As a result, effective language learning starts with the practical and personal needs of the students, which together with course objectives establish the content and direction of the course.
Considering the academic needs of ESL students and the focus on developing linguistic skills necessary for them to succeed in undergraduate studies, Beata has selected two areas for further self-study and exploration to better address those issues. One is to continue her interest in the areas of reading and vocabulary development (which started in 2004 with her research on L2 reading and subsequent development of a study circle for novice teachers based on the manual she wrote on L2 reading and literacy) to enhance students’ awareness of reading and thinking processes, so that they are able to read in ways that are expected at undergraduate and graduate levels. The other one concerns teaching of grammar, with a particular focus on the discrepancy between students’ knowledge of grammar structures and the application of what they have learned to their academic or personal writing and speaking. She has been exploring recent research literature on grammar teaching in order to be more effective in teaching students to create an increasingly fluent “interlanguage” so that they become more proficient in manipulating grammar structures and self-monitoring. Her ultimate goal has been to find a way to improve students’ accuracy as writers and speakers in academic and professional settings.
The need to meet the ever changing teaching demands requires an educator to continue to be a learner herself – to learn more about what she teaches and how she teaches it. As a member of professional associations, such as TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages), Beata is part of a learning community of ESL educators, who share ideas on effective classroom instruction and practical applications of research-validated language teaching strategies.