Prof. Kristyn Kidney

Kristyn Kidney
Prof. Kristyn Kidney B.A., M.A., TESOL from Carson
  • MATESOL Department Chair
  • TESOL Department Chair
  • TESOL Professor



B.A. - Religion with a concentration in International Education and Missions from Carson-Newman College, Tennessee; M.A., TESOL from Carson-Newman College, Tennessee

Where I come from

I am from the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of southeastern Tennessee.  However, my teaching career has taken me all over the world.  I obtained my BA in Religion with a concentration in International Education and Missions from Carson-Newman College in Tennessee and headed out immediately for the mission field.  I had already studied Japanese for a number of years, so I signed up with a mission organization and took the only job they had in Japan that did not mention anything about teaching English.  Much to my surprise and dismay, my first assignment upon arrival was teaching English.  It was the one thing I truly did not want to do, but God has a way of shaping hearts and changing our desires.  Before long, I loved teaching, because I found it was such a fast and effective way to build relationships in my community and be that salt and light I am called to be. 

My first English class was in 2001.  After serving in Japan for 2 years, I headed back to Tennessee to get my master’s degree in TESOL.  While getting my masters, I taught at Carson Newman’s intensive English Language Institute, working with college students on the fast track to language proficiency.  After completing my masters, I taught elementary ESL for Knox County public schools for a couple years. 

In 2008, my husband and I moved to Portland, Oregon, so that he could attend seminary.  I have had the privilege of teaching in several contexts in Portland, working with the diverse international community that we have here.  I currently teach ESOL at Portland Community College.  I tell all of my students that I love teaching English, not because I love English, but because I love students.  Teaching English as a second language allows me to serve students, build and establish relationships, and minister to internationals.  I may have come into this profession reluctantly, but by God’s grace and direction I am blessed and excited to be in the TESOL field!

Current ministry outside class

I co-teach a women’s Bible study at Temple Baptist Church.


I have conducted research in the area of second language acquisition theory.  Specifically, I have looked into the area of tolerance of ambiguity as a learner variable that effects progress in second language acquisition.  I am fascinated by the strategies learners bring to table in navigating the ambiguity involved in learning a second language.

I have also done research in the area of lesson planning structures.  More specifically, the benefits of utilizing a 5E model (based on the scientific inquiry method) in language learning contexts. 

Other credentials

Certificate of Asian Studies from Kansai Gaidai, Hirakata-shi Japan

People who inspire me

·         My former teachers and professors who have modeled life-long learning

·         My students and their heroic perseverance in learning

·         My favorite authors:  C.S. Lewis, Ravi Zacharias, K.P. Yohannan, Paul Copan, Liz Curtis Higss, and many many more

·         My family, especially my husband and my son, who are daily blessings in my life

Favorite quotes:

·         Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:2 


·         “We meet no ordinary people in our lives.”

C.S. Lewis


·         “What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.”

C.S. Lewis, The Magician's Nephew


·         “Talking to men for God is a great thing, but talking to God for men is greater still.”

E.M. Bounds


Extra-curricular activities

I enjoy reading books, playing with my son, drinking “good” coffee, and playing the guitar.