Daria Kirjanov-Mueller

I was born in Argentina and raised in the United States in a Russian-speaking family. My parents and grandparents also spoke nearly native Spanish, German, and French, but the primary home language was Russian. My early fascination with the interconnections between language and culture led me to earn a doctorate in Russian literature. I have traveled to Russia many times and have been teaching courses in Russian culture, literature and language to college students and school children for several years. I love teaching and the having the opportunity to provide my students with a new perspective on their own language and culture by comparison. It has been the experience of teaching Russian to my four-year old that has taught me one of the most valuable truths about secondary language acquisition: learning another language or two is as natural as waking up if you start as a child. A child’s need to survive drives how quickly he learns the language of survival. Not all learners have the same acute motivation as a child, but as soon as the student can identify strong or even urgent motives for learning a language, language acquisition becomes more effective, because it has immediate purpose. As a teacher, I try to nurture compelling motives in my students at many different levels – from simple exercises, to class projects, to long term language goals.

Daria Kirjanov-Mueller
Russian