All of our language students are generally very motivated whether they are graduate students or undergraduate. Class size varies across languages–sometimes a language course (like Yoruba or Uzbek) only has one student while some languages (like Russian or Arabic) might have 30 per class.

American students typically dress very casually for class, some even coming in sweatpants and slippers.  Students are also usually very informal in the classroom.  This is not an indication that they don’t respect you–it is simply our culture.

During the FLTA orientations, we will discuss typical student behavior and expectations. 


Our department emphasizes developing student proficiency in the language. This means the focus should be on students using the language more than students learning about the language. This also means a student-centered, communicative and/or task-based approach is the ideal. In general, teachers should aim for at least 75-100% of each class to be in the target language.  


Our department aligns itself with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL.)   Familiarize yourself with their Proficiency Guidelines.  On the same site, they have samples of each level in each skill.


MSU has extensive facilities. Classrooms vary from small (seating only 5-10 students) to very large (seating 650). Many technologies are available in most rooms. This includes overhead projectors, speakers, DVD players, computers, etc.

Teaching Resources

• Annenberg K-12 Foreign Language Teaching Videos

• BBC – Videos on Teaching Speaking Skills

• NCLRC Essentials of Language Teaching

• University of Texas Foreign Language Teaching Methods

• Cambridge Research and Methodology Booklets