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Dr. Duncan Charters
"Fascinated by the varied approaches of many inspiring teachers in England from primary school up to Cambridge University, I thought deeply about their role in my education."
After graduating from the University of Cambridge, UK, where he studied for the Modern and Medieval Languages tripos in French and Spanish, Dr. Duncan Charters continued graduate studies at Indiana University in Spanish language, linguistics, and literature, with a minor in Latin American history. He specialized in Golden Age literature and wrote his doctoral dissertation on honour and shame in the Spanish picaresque novel. While at Indiana, Charters was a preceptor (assistant supervisor) in the first- and second-year Spanish program and assisted with graduate education methods courses in teaching Spanish. He subsequently taught at Wabash College and Humboldt State University prior to his appointment at Principia in 1974. Charters has served Principia as the Faculty Senate president, Humanities Unit head, and Languages and Cultures Department chair, and he is Principia's Cornelius Ayer and Muriel Prindle Wood Professor of Humanities. As the College's senior faculty member, Charters leads the commencement procession in the role of Faculty Grand Marshal.
Charters has written and presented extensively on methods of language learning, including the teaching of culture and literature and the effective use of technology in developing language skills, especially listening comprehension. Besides Spanish, he has also studied the phenomenon of Esperanto and speaks this international language fluently. In 2016, Charters was elected to the Akademio de Esperanto, which oversees the development of the language.
Contributions to Field
Charters was in charge of conference discussions in Valencia, Spain, on the theme "Education in the 21st Century." He has given papers and workshops at conferences for language teachers and has served as president of several language teaching organizations at local, national, and international levels. Charters has also given keynote addresses at national and international conferences, and he is currently a member of the national examining board for Secondary School Certification programs of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages/Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation. He has participated in audio and video programming for the Spanish Christian Science Herald, El Heraldo de la Ciencia Cristiana, and the television program Perfiles on Cervantes and Don Quijote.
Life member, Modern Language Association of America (recognition of consistent support of the Association and its goals for over 40 years)
Memberships and Affiliations
- Modern Language Association of America
- Midwest Modern Language Association
- American Council on The Teaching of Foreign Languages
- American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese
- International League of Esperanto Teachers and U.S. affiliate (past president)
- Foreign Language Teachers Association of Greater St. Louis (past president)
Publications and Presentations
- “Eritrea: Languages, Politics and Religion in an Historically Complex Conflict,” annual conference of the International League of Esperanto Teachers, Oostende, Belgium, 2015.
- "The Teaching and Learning of Esperanto," Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems, 13, no. 2 (2015): 288–298.
- “Polyglot Conferences and Gatherings: Observing a New Phenomenon,” Jezyk Komunikacja Informacja / Language Communication Information, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland, vol. 10 (2015): 264–276.
- "Why read literature written in Esperanto?" in La arto labori kune / The art of working together, (a commemorative 70th anniversary volume for Professor Humphrey Tonkin, former President of the University of Hartford and the Universal Esperanto Association), (Rotterdam: UEA, 2010), 761–768.
- Presentation on the 2015 Millennial Goals of the United Nations and UNESCO, Third World Conference on the Teaching of Esperanto, Neuchâtel and La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, 2015.
For additional publications and presentations, please see the CV below.