Education and Teaching:
Morris Aaron Gevirtz has always been interested in language.
He was raised in a bilingual Spanish-English speaking home. In university he studied Spanish, Latin and ancient history. Here as well is where Morris began to teach under the mentorship of his education professor, Kevin Nolley.
After university Morris got the opportunity to teach English in a Spanish and Quechua speaking community in the Peruvian Andes. This promted him to consider a career in language. Eventually, Morris decided to pursue a career in linguistics and applied to programs in masters in Linguistics.
He did his master’s work in Linguistics at Indiana University, Bloomington. During this time he taught Introduction to Spanish at Indiana University. For more on his interests in linguistics formal, click here.
After graduating in 2013, he taught briefly in Madrid, Spain before moving to Istanbul in March 2014. In Istanbul Morris worked for a wide array of institutions including: English Time, Bahçeşehir Koleji, Üsküdar Üniversitesi, Kent English (dil okulu) and Dragoman Akademi.
From these formative experiences, Morris developed the skills necessary to provide his clients with language learning support specific to the Turkish context. Language learning and teaching culture is very different in Turkey. As a result, he, along with some friends, decided to open their own mini “boutique” language school. He established it in Kadıköy, as this was close to where he lived, well connected by public transport to the rest of the city and in a culturally diverse part of town. He developed curricula based on working with realia* and using the internet and modern digital resources to bring the “target culture”** to the student, thus working towards a more “naturalistic”*** way of learning language. The project gave fruit and Morris and his partners were able to serve an ever more diverse set of students and clients.
Personal note in first person singular:
I ran the school until December 2017, making valuable friendships and learning important lessons along the way. Though is redundant to the last sentence, though many things gained from this entrepreneurial/education experience, the most important thing gained were meaningful friendships and life/language/business lessons that will serve me until the day I die (but not after).
As of the new year 2018, for reasons having to do with family Morris has re-established himself in the Bay Area of California.
Currently, Morris is working on projects having to do with science communication, language learning and of course communing with nature in the Bay Area much like he communed with history in Istanbul.
Realia, n. -A technical term from the Second Language Teaching (SLA) world. It means media and materials authentic to the culture of the language under study that were not created for teaching but that are the sort of materials and media that real language speakers use.
Target Culture, n. -A technical term from the Second Language Teaching (SLA) world. When studying a language students and teachers communicate in at least 2 languages. One language is the language that both teacher and student speak well, and the other is the language that the student wants to learn. The student and teacher may speak even more languages. The target language is the language being taught, learned focused on.
Naturalistic, a. –A technical term from the Second Language Teaching (SLA) world. This term was coined to allow researches and language educators to discuss approaches to language learning that are similar to the way we learned our first language. Just like learning to walk after losing the ability due to stroke or an accident, learning a new language, as an adult, can be similar, but will never be identical to the first experience(s).