The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Rhonda Tarr

Senior Lecturer II

Rhonda Tarr, Lecturer, UMass Amherst

(413) 545-6711

313 Herter Hall

Rhonda Tarr is a Senior Lecturer of French, Coordinator of first-year French courses, Teaching Mentor to Teaching Assistants, and L2 Teacher Educator. She holds degrees from the University of Connecticut, the University of Nice, France, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the University of Minnesota. She is fascinated by how students of all ages acquire second (third, fourth …) languages, and has taught numerous courses in French, English as a Second Language, and Spanish, to children, high school students, university students, and independent learners.  Inspired by holistic, artistic, and imaginative ways of teaching and learning, she was led to the fascinating, powerful, and unusual research of Bulgarian psychiatrist, Georgi Lozanov, and that of his eminent research and teaching colleague, Dr. Evelyna Gateva, linguist, inspired teacher of Italian, teacher educator, and professional singer of chamber music. Tarr spent seven months working with Lozanov and Gateva in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 1991, where she conducted research for her doctoral dissertation on Lozanov’s work, fell in love with traditional Bulgarian music and dance, and began to develop basic language proficiency in Bulgarian. It was very meaningful for her to re-experience those vulnerable feelings of being a beginner in a world language class, relying largely on contextual clues, intonation, facial expression, and intuition, at least in the beginning. When Bulgarian speakers would stop her on the street to ask for directions to the nearest pharmacy, or, to ask about the quality of the bread in the bakery that she had just visited, it became so very clear to her that the greatest percentage of every message communicated really is nonverbal!

In addition to teaching French language classes, Rhonda Tarr teaches seminars in Second Language Pedagogy for graduate student Teaching Assistants, and support seminars for teacher licensure candidates.  She also coaches teacher licensure candidates when they do their full-time student teaching practica in public schools in Massachusetts.

Research Areas

  • Second language acquisition
  • Learning and Teaching
  • The arts in education
  • Folk tales
  • Poetry
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Mindfulness and meditation
  • Ecology
  • Community-building
  • Humor
  • Music
  • Resilience and peace studies

Courses Recently Taught

  • FRENCHST 110: Elementary French I
  • FRENCHST 120: Elementary French II
  • FRENCHST 126: Elementary Intensive French
  • FRENCHST 672: Workshop for Teaching Assistants
  • FRENCHST 592S: Pre-Practicum Seminar for Teacher Licensure Candidates
  • FRENCHST 597E: Student Teacher in the Middle and High School Classroom Seminar
  • ITALIAN500U: Supervision of Student Teachers in Public Schools
  • FRENCHED500U: Supervision of Student Teachers in Public Schools