| by Kathi Bailey


Some students love languages so much they can’t pick just one.

Thanks to a new specialization, they no longer have to.

This year for the first time a new combination enabled two MATFL candidates to add a TFL Specialization. Giulia Beccarelli completed her MA in TFL French, with a specialization in TFL Spanish. Lauren Wilmore also did her MA in TFL French, with a specialization in TFL Chinese.

“I’ve been studying Chinese and French side by side since middle school, which was also when I first decided I wanted to be a language teacher,” said Wilmore. “My undergraduate major was Chinese and French comparative literature and I spent a semester in China and a semester in France during my junior year. I’ve always been really passionate about both languages, so when I applied to MIIS, I had a hard time picking just one. I felt more confident in my French proficiency at the time, so I applied for TFL French with a TESOL specialization, and hoped to take a Chinese class as an elective.”

But then an opportunity occurred which reoriented Wilmore even more strongly to her interest in Mandarin. 

“I was hired as a Mandarin tutor with a tutoring company during my first semester at MIIS, and I found myself wanting to use Mandarin as a target language for my projects in class. I realized how much more useful—and fun!—it would be if I did a TFL Chinese specialization rather than a TESOL specialization. I looked up the TFL requirements, came up with a detailed plan for my second year, and got it approved! I’m so glad that I did, because I learned so much that I still use with my Mandarin students today.”

Beccarelli, a native speaker of Italian who now teaches French in Maryland, expects to teach Spanish as well. She wrote, “I would really like to express my gratitude for creating a wonderful program and for allowing me to be part of it. It was exactly—and even more than—what I had been looking for since moving to the United States and deciding to make the teaching profession the focus of my career. I really appreciate the opportunity to have an academic plan designed and adapted to my needs and life circumstances.”

The Institute offers a number of different specializations. In 1991, whenseveral TESOL and TFL MA candidates and alumni were eager to be prepared for administrative roles, the Institute developed the Language Program Administration (LPA) Specialization—the first cross-disciplinary specialization to be offered at MIIS.

Since that time, several other specializations have been developed, including the Intercultural Competence (ICC) Specialization and the Specialization in International Education Management. It has also been a regular practice for TESOL students to add a TFL Specialization and TFL students to add a TESOL Specialization.

“I am grateful to both Lauren and Giulia for getting us to consider this possibility,” said Professor Kathi Bailey. “It offers new breadth for future MA candidates to focus their training. Congratulations to these two curricular pioneers!”