Jean-Jacques Jura, associate professor of French and coordinator of the Languages Other Than English (LOTE) credential program at Cal State Long Beach (CSULB), has been awarded the 2012 Presidential Award by the California Language Teachers Association (CLTA) in recognition of his efforts and the success of the university’s LOTE program.
The CLTA President’s Award is given to an outstanding individual who is considered a model of support to language education. Nomination for the award is at the discretion of CLTA’s President with approval of the CLTA Board of Directors.
Jura’s award notification stated: “The CLTA has long admired the work you have been doing to ensure that California’s supply of qualified teachers will meet demand.” Additionally, Jura was commended by the CLTA for providing “exemplary leadership as we strive to improve the quality of teacher education programs in our state to ensure both the professional success of new teachers and the academic excellence of the students they will teach.”
The LOTE teaching credential enables students to teach elementary, middle and high school foreign language classes in California public schools. The credential has two major parts—subject matter (the language other than English of choice) and pedagogy (teacher preparation courses.)
“I’m a French professor and currently the French program director in RGRLL. “But my goal with Languages Other Than English is to help prepare CSULB teachers to work in the 21st century’s multilingual society,” he explained. “What is their competency in the subject matter? I work to make sure their degree requirements meet those for teacher preparation. Are the paperwork and course changes all in alignment? That’s my decision.”
At CSULB, there are five commission-approved subject-matter programs in LOTE—French, German, Italian, Latin and Spanish. Candidates who wish to become credentialed in a language other than these five may demonstrate subject matter competence via the CSET exams in Arabic, Japanese and Mandarin to qualify.
“It’s great to be recognized, especially when you’re just trying to do what you’re supposed to do,” said Jura, who joined CSULB’s Romance/German/Russian Languages and Literature Department in 2005. “What is exceptional about the success of the LOTE program is the teamwork involved. I’m glad to get this attention but what goes on in LOTE is really a collaboration.”
Jura has a master’s degree in French literature from CSULB (1983) and a Ph.D. in French literature from UC Irvine (1988). Since then, he has since taught and developed curriculum at various levels -- university, community college, high school and middle school.
Jura was a consultant for the Long Beach Unified School District (1995-97) at the Jackie Robinson Academy (K-8), to develop, implement, help pilot and assess their middle-school French immersion curriculum. For seven years (1997-2004), he taught English and French in the LBUSD—regular English classes (seventh, ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th grades) as well as Honors English, AP English Literature and Composition, and 10th-grade Pacesetter English. Jura has published articles at French universities and a film history book titled “Balboa Films” on the silent movie studios of Long Beach.
“My job entails a lot of networking,” he said. “That translates to keeping touch with everything from school districts to area workshops,” he pointed out. “I think it is that level of involvement that proves leadership. This is the kind of involvement that symbolizes our program’s success.”