SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2022: Fredonia – Kate Mahoney
Kate Mahoney is an Associate Professor for the graduate SUNY Fredonia TESOL program. She earned her Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction with a concentration in Bilingual Education from Arizona State University in 2003. Mahoney’s research addresses the validity of using achievement and language proficiency test scores for Emergent Bilingual students (EBs), language program effectiveness through meta-analysis, and evaluating policies and practices concerning EBs in Arizona and nationally. Dr. Mahoney teaches theory, methods, and clinically-based courses at SUNY Fredonia, some of which are Assessment and Evaluation of Emergent Bilingual Learners, Content Area ESL, and Foundations of Bilingual Education. Mahoney was awarded a Title VII Bilingual Education Fellowship, an AERA Dissertation Award – in conjunction with the AERA Grants Program, sponsored jointly by NSF, NCES and OERI – and was awarded the William T. Hagan Young Scholar Award at SUNY Fredonia. Dr. Mahoney has published research findings in the International Journal of Language Studies, International Journal of Testing, Journal of Educational Research and Policy Studies, Bilingual Research Journal, Educational Policy, and Multilingual Matters, among others.
Because the TESOL program leads to a NYS teaching certificate, I was very reluctant to create and teach online courses, especially because one of my core teaching values is to model for students how to teach in a face-to-face setting. With the onset of COVID 19, my job changed to include the teaching preparation for remote learning. The challenge was how to model teaching in both face-to-face and remote settings for pre-service teachers. Since the beginning of my online teaching, I trusted my colleague Dr. Karen Lillie and followed in her footsteps to create interactive and relevant online courses in the TESOL program. Teaching and learning online has been a huge challenge for me, but I like these challenges and it keeps my teaching strategies up to date. I’m still learning new things every day and updating my courses to make sure they’re keeping up with new regulations, new technologies and better methods to teach language. But these challenges have become the most rewarding part of my job and will continue to dominate my future teaching agendas.
There were many unexpected benefits to teaching online that I did not see coming. I feel as though the quality of my instruction and my students’ learning has grown with online learning, and continues to grow. The TESOL program has grown in enrollment, especially with the enrollment of non-traditional students such as parents or full-time caretakers. Because of online programming, the TESOL program – and as a consequence New York State Certification, English as a Second or other Language (ESOL) is available for more people in general. And lastly, TESOL Online has removed geographical barriers for students for whom it is not practical to drive to the rural area of SUNY Fredonia in Chautauqua county. Online teaching has been an unexpected highlight of my career.