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Photo of Monika Chavez

Monika Chavez

Professor of German and Second Language Acquisition
846 Van Hise Hall



I was born and raised in Austria and studied German and History at the University of Vienna. While a Fulbright student in Santa Fe (New Mexico), I met my (American) husband and moved to the US in 1986/7. I continued my education first at the University of New Mexico (Albuquerque) and then at the University of Texas at Austin, where I specialized in Applied German Linguistics. In 1992, I joined the German Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My position has allowed me to develop and teach an extensive scope of courses in German language, linguistics, and applied linguistics, with a sizable number of graduate students in the department and related fields choosing applied linguistics/second language acquisition as their area of specialization. I am also excited to be part of a faculty group that administers a Ph.D. (major and minor) program in Second Language Acquisition. My role as supervisor of first-year and second-year German courses keeps my own research grounded in the classroom.  I compare theories and tenets of Second Language Acquisition (including pedagogy) with the experiences and behaviors of students and teachers in actual foreign language classrooms.

Graduate courses: recent past and near future

  • The Social Dimension of Foreign-Language Teaching and Learning (Spring 2005)
  • Accuracy (Fall 2005)
  • Teaching and Learning Foreign Language Culture (Spring 2006)
  • The Teacher as a Variable in Teaching/Learning Foreign Languages (Fall 2006)
  • Resistance and Subversion in FL Teaching & Learning (Spring 2007)
  • Pragmatics in Foreign Language Learning/Teaching (Spring 2008)
  • Language Evidence (Fall 2008)

Recent publications

  • Variation in the beliefs of college students of German about the teaching of culture (2005). Die Unterrichtspraxis 38 (1), 30-42.
  • Classroom-language use in teacher-led instruction and teachers' self-perceived roles (2006). International Review of Applied Linguistics. 44 (1), 55-108.
  • The orientation of learner language use in peer work: Teacher role, learner role and individual identity (2007). Language Teaching Research 11 (2), 1–28
  • Students’ and teachers' assessments of the need for accuracy in the oral production of German as a foreign language (2007). The Modern Language Journal 91 (4), 537-563.
  • Lovik, Thomas & J. Douglas Guy & Monika Chavez. (2007) Vorsprung. Boston: The Houghton Mifflin Company. [second edition]

Current research projects

  • Quantified characteristics of learner talk in peer as compared to teacher-led interaction: Teacher model and student role.
  • Learners' descriptions of German pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar: A folk linguistic account.
  • Variation in student motivation toward accuracy.
  • Student imaginings of how grammar works and what it is good for.
  • Students talk about the language learning process.

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