Talar Kaloustian has been teaching English to those whom English is a second language for over fifteen years and all around the world, from Prague to Philadelphia. Growing up, Kaloustian lived in many countries because her native Lebanon experienced unrest. She had the challenge of learning to integrate into the new communities she found herself, an experience she has carried with her that now helps her connect with students who find themselves in similar positions.
After receiving an undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego, Kaloustian took a year to explore Prague, where she fell in love with teaching English to natives. She then came to Philadelphia and received her master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. With a focus in English and sociolinguistics, she has taught in various English as a Second Language (ESL) programs throughout the area.
Kaloustian’s passion for teaching is evident in the way she has reshaped the English for Everyday Life course series since she started teaching at Villanova University in 2018. Under her direction, the course series has shifted from teaching grammar and pronunciation out of a textbook to offering a variety of topics which are structured to empower adult learners to connect with their community. Every topic from Popular Culture, which discusses hot topics in public discourse, to Government and Citizenship, which teaches the framework of the U.S. government to provide understanding of current events, is carefully crafted to help students acclimate to American society. “One of the primary guiding motivations for this program is to make people feel more connected to their community,” states Kaloustian. “Every topic is designed with the goal of ensuring that the students feel more connected and motivated, to open the door to coming into this new world.”
“We’re equipping them with enough knowledge that they’re able to feel more like they have a voice, and, in turn, become more involved and feel more connected with others to feel like a valuable member of the community.”
Visit Villanova’s English for Everyday Life webpage for more information on upcoming courses.