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Steven Berbeco
2008 Alumni Classroom Fellow
Boston, Massachusetts

Photo of Steven Berbeco, Classroom Fellow

video Steven Berbeco describes his hopes for his students.

Bio/Overview: Berbeco is currently Department Chair for Japanese and Korean at the U.S. Department of State's Foreign Service Institute, and recently was Dean at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, Senior Adviser in Language Teaching at the U.S. Department of State, and a Visiting Scholar at Boston University School of Education. He has taught Arabic at an inner-city high school, worked as a Special Consultant for Teacher Leadership in Boston Public Schools, and he has helped to develop basic literacy materials in Liberia. Berbeco knew that he wanted to teach ever since graduating from high school, but he also knew that he needed to learn more about the world and how it works before stepping into the classroom as a teacher. Berbeco wanted to build himself into the best teacher he could be: a teacher-scholar. Formal education is very important to him, both in terms of building his students' skills in negotiating higher education as well as his own experience. Berbeco also has had teaching experience in non-traditional systems, such as an alternative high school for at-risk students, a juvenile correction center for adjudicated boys, and a refugee camp. These experiences have taught him the value of non-linear curriculum design, and Berbeco has used this learning to support his students' particular learning needs.

Educational Values/Philosophy: Berbeco’s background in linguistics helps with breaking down Arabic grammar into pieces that his students can understand, but even more important is the experience of having been in school for so long. He has seen enough teaching that he has a rich fabric of models from which to distance himself, improvise, or copy.

Achievements: Berbeco has held research appointments at Boston University, University of Helsinki, and Hungarian Academy of Sciences; Mudge Teacher Fellow at the Boston Athenæum; and is Co-Editor of the Arabic K-12 Bulletin.

Leadership Experience: Dean at the Defense Language Institute (2013-14); Director of Arabic Institute for Next Generation at Harvard University (2012); Director of Arabic Summer Academy at Charlestown High School (2007-2010); Project Manager of Marhaba curriculum development project (2008-2012); Responsible co-lead for development of Boston Public Schools teaching fellowship in cooperation with TeachPlus (2011); Vice-Chair of the ACTFL Arabic Special Interest Group (2010-2012). Together with TAF alums James Liou, Jenny Cloud, and Anna Walker, Berbeco formed the New England Regional Teacher Leadership Initiative, a collection of interlocking groups that empower teachers to make positive change in education policy. Berbeco also serves as a board member of NECTFL; coordinator of the ACTFL Task Force for Revising Standards for Learning Arabic; external reviewer for Foreign Language Annals; and grant reviewer for Qatar Foundation International.

Affiliations: Berbeco is a member of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, Massachusetts Foreign Language Association, New England Association of Arabic Teachers, and Teachers of Arabic Language K-12

Education: Berbeco has a doctorate in education and MAT from Boston University, Masters degrees in linguistics from Harvard University and Indiana University, and a bachelors with high honors from Wesleyan University.

Areas of Interest/Expertise:

  • Language education
  • Curriculum development
  • Teacher Leadership
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Last Modified: 09/09/2015