Ivian Borchowski

Commencement: Fall 2014, Ceremony 2

Degree: Master of Science, Curriculum and Instruction – specialization in Modern Language Education

Graduate of: College of Education

The more Brazilian native Ivian Borchowski learned about teaching, the more she realized her sons, Heitor, 6, and Victor, 4, and countless others like them needed a richer education that incorporates their heritage language and culture.

Ivian turned this into the focus of her study, “Curriculum Development in A Heritage Language Community,” where she examined the Portuguese-language education that community-based schools offered to children in Miami’s Brazilian community on Saturdays.

While Ivian’s research found that teachers were stepping forward to help children become literate in Portuguese, they sometimes lacked fundamentally sound teaching techniques. Based on her research, Ivian developed a goals-based curriculum that calls for students to participate in meaningful, instructor-led conversations and to complete written assignments that develop rather than maintain their language proficiency.

Ivian is working to have her model implemented at the Medley, Fla.- based Fundação Vamos Falar Português, which educates 300 children in South Florida in Portuguese.

Ivian credits College of Education Professor Eric Dwyer with encouraging her to pursue her research. Dwyer also helped by connecting Ivian with other professors who offered courses that would help with her particular specialization.

After graduation, Ivian plans to pursue her research as a Ph.D. student at FIU.