Marcelo Vieira ‘12

Studied at Luther: IIM in English linguistics and pedagogy

1. Why was it important to you to include a linguistics your studies while you were at Luther?

Prior to going to Luther, I was privileged to be able to serve as a volunteer at Unipalmares, a university especially created for low-income students in Brazil. For three years (2005-2008), I had taught English as a foreign language to a class of twenty adult learners every Saturday. This experience was so rewarding that it sparked my desire to have a career in teaching English to adults in  language schools. Luther College attracted me because of its renowned Education program. My first two years at Luther gave me an opportunity to explore most of the introductory courses in the Education curriculum. However, because the Education major at Luther is geared towards U.S. public schools and designed to prepare the professional to work with children, I had to re-evaluate whether a degree in this major would satisfy my career needs or not. Likewise, an English major would not serve my purpose because it was heavily focused on literature, and was devoid of courses that delved into the background in the structure of the English language. To fulfill my career goals, an interdisciplinary major was crucial. Teaching EFL in Brazil at language schools to adults, more specifically, required a refined combination of courses from the Linguistics program and the Education department that enriched my knowledge and skills on the teaching of English as a foreign language.

2.  What sort of occupation or professional activity are you engaged in now?

Today I am a freelancer in Brazil. I teach at a language school but most of my income derives mostly from private students who seek my services. I consider myself an adult educator as I don't work with children and teenagers. In grad school, I was so interested in adult education that I wrote my research paper on the role of self-efficacy and autonomy on L2 oral production and its implications on adult education. 

Also, I have helped others with editing in English and writing college essays in the process of college application.

3.  In what ways has the knowledge you gained through studying linguistics contributed to how you engage with your current work and/or the world in general?

Studying Linguistics at Luther allowed me to solidify not only the foundational knowledge of Second Language Acqusition (SLA) but it also prepared and gave me the confidence to undertake other challenging endeavors. Because of the IIM, I was able to attend graduate school at University of Northern Iowa and get my Master's degree in Applied Linguistics/TESOL. Today I feel that I am a more well-rounded professional given this solid educational background. Also, I am a content creator and I share my knowledge on social media. Last semester, I worked with students from various underrepresented backgrounds, and it was an amazing experience to be able to share with them knowledge and my own experience as a language learner. They told me they felt very motivated by it. Finally, I am particularly interested in the field of American English Pronunciation.