On this page we feature a member of the Second Language Studies Program. Right now our spotlight is on Le Anne Spino!
My trajectory to the second language studies (SLS) program at MSU has been quite purposeful and direct: I knew from an early age that I wanted to learn and teach languages, and was always intrigued by the process of acquiring a second language (L2). Consequently, in high school, I took every language class that was offered (Spanish, French, German and Latin). Then, in college, I took classes to prepare for a career in second language acquisition (SLA): I double majored in Psychology (with a concentration in Cognitive Psychology) and Spanish, and double minored in Linguistics and French. I graduated with a B.A. from The College of New Jersey in 2009 and joined the PhD program at MSU soon after, trading my title of a “Jersey girl” for that of a Michigander.
Now, my days are spent doing two things I love: conducting research and teaching. In terms of research, I have used online methodologies (eye-tracking, self-paced reading, and self-paced listening) to explore how L2 Spanish learners process inflectional morphology. For my dissertation, I focus on grammatical gender agreement, investigating whether agreement complexity affects processing. In addition to my work on inflectional morphology, I am currently working on a project that examines the relationship between the field of SLA and modern language instruction. I have also greatly enjoyed working on a couple of studies with Dr. Aline Godfroid. You can read about these projects and more here.
In terms of teaching, I have taught both language and content classes: I spent three years teaching Spanish language classes at MSU, and have also taught a language teaching methodology course and an introduction to SLA course. While teaching Spanish, I also gained administrative experience working as a coordinating assistant for Dr. Bill VanPatten. My responsibilities included developing hundreds of online input activities for the Spanish language textbook Sol y viento, helping to create an online Spanish class, writing departmental tests, and observing teachers. I also spent a year working as a language mentor for the Residential College of Arts and Humanities at MSU, leading two Integrative Language Options (ILOs) on various aspects of Venezuelan life and culture.
Looking back, my experiences in the SLS program at MSU have been varied and interesting, and are exactly what I had hoped for when I first started learning different languages. I’m very grateful to be part of such a vibrant and productive program.