Becky Huang chats about coming to UTSA
1. Why come to UTSA? What was the draw of teaching/researching here?
UTSA is a great fit for my teaching/research interests in the areas of second language acquisition and education issues related to English language learners in the U.S. Texas has one of the largest English language learner populations in the K-12 public schools in the U.S, and is thus a good place to be for my research. My department colleagues also work on related research topics from a variety of theoretical frameworks and methodologies, and I find the intellectual diversity to be quite stimulating.
In terms of teaching, I currently teach in the Applied Linguistics program in the Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies, and my students include both pre-service and in-service teachers who will either teach English as a Second Language (ESL) or have ESL students in their class. I appreciate the opportunity to share my research and knowledge with my students and to prepare them for their future teaching career.
2. What value is there in teaching with an international perspective?
Since I teach courses related to English linguistics and the acquisition of English as a second language, my personal experience as an ESL learner and former ESL teacher in Taiwan afforded me the unique international perspective in my teaching. I can better relate to my students, a lot of whom are actually international students themselves, have taught abroad, or have grown up in the U.S. learning English as a second language. My background and experience has really helped me in working with the students at UTSA who are from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds.
3. What would you like your students to learn from you?
I am passionate about my research and teaching. I enjoy the intellectual stimulation and the opportunity to apply my research to language instruction/assessment practices and education policy. I hope to instill in my students an interest and curiosity about topics and issues related to my research on second language learning. I also hope to cultivate their critical thinking skills which, I believe, will serve them beyond my class. Through my teaching, I hope to raise the awareness of the education issues related to English-learning children and adolescents in the U.S. and abroad. I’d like to see my students graduate from UTSA with enthusiasm to help children and adolescents in their language learning process (and in their general well-being!).
4. Biggest challenge so far?
Like most people who move to a new city where they know nobody to begin with, I have been trying to build a network of professional and personal connections. While I greatly appreciate the warmth and friendliness of people in San Antonio (and in Texas in general), I find San Antonio to be more of a family-oriented city, and it thus has been a little challenging to find single professionals to spend time with outside of work.
5. Most surprising thing that has happened so far?
I have been really impressed with the Southern hospitality and courtesy. I’ve heard “Sir,” “Ma’am” more times during my mere 14 months in San Antonio than in my prior, entire decade living in the coastal cities in the U.S. It is a pleasant surprise though!