Indiana State University Newsroom

Language professor shares teaching tips in Thailand

December 15, 2010

An Indiana State professor challenged foreign language educators throughout the world to examine their teaching methods and think of ways to strengthen student learning.

Lisa Calvin, associate professor of Spanish, was selected as keynote speaker at the first International Conference on the Dynamics in Second/Foreign Language Teaching in the 21st Century, which was held Nov. 25-26 at Pibulsongkram Rajabhat University in Pitsanulok, Thailand, a partnership institution with ISU.

Calvin titled her presentation "Three R's of Dynamic Foreign Language Today," which are: reflection, research and reform.

Calvin suggested techniques she said she uses at ISU.
She encouraged instructors to reflect upon how they teach material and for instructors to have students reflect upon their learning. ISU language, literature and linguistics instructors require students to attend two foreign language events on campus and then share what they learned about the culture of those events.

Calvin also recommended involving undergraduate students in research projects and mentioned that was a recent trend in U.S. higher education. She also touted ISU's emphasis on community engagement and service.

She then explained some of the changes ISU has implemented within the language, literature and linguistics program and suggested the educators consider ways those changes could work at their own institutions.

"These are good things to step back and reflect on," Calvin said, recognizing the connection to the first of her three points.

The conference, with attendees from Japan, Myanmar, China and Australia, provided a venue for lecturers, academics, graduate students and members of the public to share their academic work.

"I was greatly impressed with the warmth of the people and the organization skills," Calvin said.

Thailand was her second opportunity to present her work internationally. She has also been to Morocco.

Faculty members frequently represent the department overseas, most recently in countries such as Hungary, Taiwan and Canada, said Ron Dunbar, department chair. The department also maintains relationships with universities in China, Germany, Japan and Morocco.

"This kind of international involvement is our lifeblood," he said.

Lisa Calvin

Contact: Lisa Calvin, associate professor of Spanish, 812-237-2363 or

Writer: Nick Hedrick, media relations assistant, Indiana State University, Communications and Marketing, 812-237-3773 or