Sometimes opportunity knocks, and sometimes it makes a phone call.

Eric with students 4
Eric Johnson with Kennewick fourth-graders.

A parent in the Kennewick School District rang up WSU Tri-Cities last year, looking for someone who might be willing to help out in Hawthorne Elementary School’s dual-language program. The query found its way to Assistant Professor Eric Johnson, a bilingual education expert who jumped at the chance to be involved in classrooms where children spend half the day studying in Spanish, half in English.  It wasn’t long before he enlisted WSU teacher preparation students to join him as volunteers and boost their career prospects in the process.  Eric is clearly a popular fellow at Hawthorne, where he banters with students in both languages. Read about the dual-language program, which is coordinated by adjunct faculty member Abby Cooper, and see more classroom photos in WSU Today.

Another feather in Eric’s professorial cap is publication of The Teaching Roadmap: A Pocket Guide for High School and College Teachers, which he co-authored with Nora Haenn.  Reports Eric: “Nora was a professor in the Arizona State University anthropology department while I was a graduate student (she’s now at North Carolina State).  We bounced ideas off each other for teaching activities while I was teaching some anthropology courses, and finally decided that we should put something together to help new instructors, since college doesn’t require you to have a teaching certificate and a lot of new professors haven’t been trained in pedagogy.  The publisher liked the idea and suggested that we cater to new high school teachers, too—which worked out well with my K-12 teaching experiences.”  Despite the title, he added, the strategies can be applied to all teaching levels.

Good Fulbright news
Tonda Liggett, another assistant professor with expertise in teaching English as a second language, has been accepted onto the Fulbright Scholars list as a potential research collaborator with  scholars abroad. That means she will get to work with researchers in her area if they make such a request within the next five years — in which case, she said, “I’ll get a grant to go work with them (wherever that might be).”

Reading matter from other edu-blogs
Study: Teacher Exchanges Are Pipeline for Bilingual Teachers.  International teacher exchanges as a  strategy for alleviating shortages are still relatively unexplored, according to a new report.
A Washington State Fight, a Nationwide Debate.  An explanation of the battle over tough new graduation requirements in math, science, speaking, and writing.