Introducing Charlotte Peyton (Episode 13)

“How has an understanding of language and cultures changed your personal and professional outlook?”

This question about how language and culture changes our outlook is one that Charlotte Peyton addresses to herself and asks listeners in podcast Episode 13, United by Diversity.

Charlotte loves being a citizen of the word. She comments that when she hears the term “global citizen,” it sounds big and expansive, but that what she learned was that it’s the conversation with those of other languages and cultures, one by one, that demonstrate how very alike we are in our identities being formed by the language and cultures that otherwise might make us feel too different to understand and appreciate each other.

Charlotte’s delightful stories come from her life-long reflecting on being a child from the Netherlands come to a new land: When you’re sitting at the lunch table as a small child and you pull out your homemade dark brown bread and weird white cheese that doesn’t look like cheddar or American cheese and everybody analyzes your choice of food, that’s the first differentiation. You look different, you eat different things, and you sound different. So I think from a very young age I understood the difference between cultures and how it starts to form your identity.

Charlotte Payton’s bio and contact information:

Charlotte Peyton was born in The Netherlands to Dutch parents. She emigrated as a child to Minnesota, USA, where her father took a position as professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Minnesota. Her earliest memories are of playing under her father’s desk in his office as he prepared for lectures or graded papers.

Charlotte comes from a long line of educators on both sides of her family. Her paternal grandmother taught German for 29 years in Leiden, The Netherlands. Her maternal grandfather and great grandfather were professors of biology. Both served as president of the University of Leiden. Charlotte grew up in a bilingual home, where Dutch was spoken as a family, and English only when there were visitors in the home or outside of the home. To Charlotte, Dutch means family, and she still feels an immediate affinity to anyone who speaks Dutch. When Charlotte attended school in the 70’s, educators did not yet realize the impact of learning more than one language at a time and placed her in remedial classes instead of supporting her as an ELL learner. It was also not until college that Charlotte discovered she was also dyslexic. Despite these obstacles, learning has been a life-long passion.

Charlotte followed in the family profession as an educator, and taught English and publishing at Battlefield High School in Haymarket, Virginia, where her three children also attended. Ironically, her first teaching assignment was teaching German. She went on to teach English, despite being a former ELL learner and having learning disabilities. Charlotte’s early experiences as a student helped form her as an educator and continue to impact her career as she works at Vista Higher Learning.

Connect up with Charlotte:

To learn more about previous guests on It’s About Language or access other episodes of the podcast, visit It’s About Language or click on the Podcast tab above.

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