Explore UAB

Associate Professor of French and Spanish This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
University Hall 3123
(205) 934-4652

Research and Teaching Interests: Spanish, French, Foreign cultures, Foreign language pedagogy, Foreign language methods (classroom instruction), Teacher development, Technology in the foreign language classroom

Office Hours: By appointment


  • BS, University of Alabama, Secondary Education
  • MA, University of Alabama, Romance Languages
  • PhD, University of Alabama, Foreign Language Education

Get to know Krista Chambless Opens an external link.

UAB Scholars Profile Opens an external link.

I am a native Alabamian, having grown up in Huntsville, and now live in Tuscaloosa with my husband and three children. I began my study of foreign languages as a French student at Grissom High School and have never stopped learning. Along the way, I studied in France, Spain, Mexico, Panama, Quebec, and Vermont, and ultimately obtained my PhD in foreign language education from the University of Alabama. I have worked and developed foreign language programs as a graduate teaching assistant, pre-school teacher, elementary school teacher, high school teacher, and college professor teaching both French and Spanish language courses, as well as teaching foreign language methodologies to pre-service teachers.

I believe that it is especially important for foreign language teachers to continue to study, develop, and improve their language proficiency and cultural understanding. As such, I travel extensively and immerse myself in the languages and cultures I teach. This has led me from Central America to Canada and from the Mexican Pacific to Europe, engaging with native speakers in all manner of environments. I remain engaged with foreign language educators and regularly attend professional conferences and seminars around the world. Finally, I am engaged in extensive research into the various pedagogical theories of foreign language education in order to identify superior practices and implement them in my courses.

Through my observations, research, and personal learning experiences, I have developed a multifaceted philosophy of teaching centered on four basic principles:

  1. foreign languages are for everyone
  2. students should be the focus of the classroom
  3. classroom communication should be meaningful and purpose-driven, and
  4. culture is the heart of foreign language learning.

My courses allow students to use language to interpret and express real-life messages and to communicate using all four skill areas: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. I also believe that language learning is about more than vocabulary and grammar instruction — to fully understand and communicate in a foreign language, students must understand the culture and be able to make comparisons between their own culture (and language) and the target culture. Students also need to see how the language connects to other disciplines and other peoples and how making these connections can foster relationships with the target language community in their cities.

To do this I seek to incorporate all “five C’s” of the National Standards for Foreign Language Learning in my instruction: Communication, Connections, Comparisons, Communities, and Cultures. This, I believe, creates a unity of identity between my students and native speakers that creates within my students a much stronger internal motivation to learn another language.

  • Recent Courses
    • SPA 101: Introductory Spanish I
    • SPA 102: Introductory Spanish II
    • SPA 201: Intermediate Spanish I
    • SPA 202: Intermediate Spanish II
    • SPA 206: Intermediate Spanish for the Professions
    • FR 101: Introductory French I
    • FR 102: Introductory French II
    • FLL 120: Foreign Cultures
    • EHS 611: Advanced Special Methods for Teaching Foreign Languages
  • Select Publications
    • K. Moser, J. Weir, Krista Chambless, “A Snapshot of Their Beliefs and Practices: Perspectives of Mississippi and Alabama Spanish Teachers,” Dimensions 2013 (Selected Proceedings of the 2013 SCOLT Conference): 120-34.
    • Krista Chambless, “Teachers’ Oral Proficiency in the Target Language: Research on Its Role in Language Teaching and Learning,” Foreign Language Annals 45 (S1, 2012): s141-s162.
    • Krista Chambless, “Después de Lucía: A Movie Review,” Hispania 98 (3): 630-31.
    • Krista Chambless, review of “Toward Useful Program Evaluation in College Foreign Language Education,” Hispania 94 (No. 2, 2011): 378-79.
    • Krista Chambless, “Effects of FLEX Programs on Elementary Students Attitudes Toward Foreign Languages and Cultures,” Dimensions 2005 (Selected Proceedings of the 2005 SCOLT Conference): 1-13.
  • Academic Distinctions and Professional Societies
    • Alabama nominee to Southern Conference on Language Teaching for Educator of Excellence, 2013
    • Southern Conference on Language Teaching Educator of Excellence, 2013
    • President of Alabama World Languages Association
    • Founder and Executive Director of Alabama World Languages Education Foundation
    • Member of the Executive Board of the Southern Conference on Language Teaching
    • Alabama Delegate to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
    • Member of Professional Learning Committee for the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
    • Member of the Alabama Languages Other than English-Foreign Languages-State Course of Study Committee

Back to Top