Kyle Scholz

PhD German Studies

Kyle Scholz“The German department puts a large emphasis on teaching in the grad program. From the first year of the PhD program, you are given your own class to teach,” says Kyle Scholz. Although they are given curriculum and guidelines to follow, individual lessons and class management is up to each graduate instructor. With opportunities to teach language courses, culture courses, and both online and in-class courses, Kyle explains, “you can build up your teaching repertoire so that when you leave the program, you have a lot of experience in a wide variety of deliveries/topics.”

Kyle’s research focus is second language acquisition and applied linguistics. His specific area of interest is computer-assisted language learning. He looks at how video gaming can be applied in language learning. “There are no rules, no boundaries, and no structure. I just want to put them in the game and see what comes out of it. By playing, they can pick up elements of the language by learning to play.” Kyle explains the difference between playing to learn versus learning to play. “By learning to play, the element of fun remains and the language aspect is just an add-on.” To do this, Kyle must find existing games that work within these confines and help students find opportunities to discuss their gameplay experiences in the second language.

Kyle has been at UWaterloo since his first year as an undergraduate student. In addition to his PhD studies, he now works for the university in the Centre for Teaching Excellence. “As the Faculty of Arts and University Colleges Liaison, I work with faculty members and instructors on teaching methods, new technologies, student goals, and the like. We work together to develop the best teaching approach and educational practices for student success.” Kyle also continues to teach courses in the German department, and is able to collaborate with the faculty on teaching development. “Instead of moving on to an academic position, I am able to apply what I have done in my MA and PhD in a new and different way,” he says. “With the changes in the academic landscape, emphasis on teaching is becoming more important.” 

October 2013 Megan Scarborough

University of Waterloo

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