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Language Resource Center

Events of 2014-2015

This year's events are co-sponsored by the Einaudi Center for International Studies, the Institute for European Studies, the East Asia Program, the South Asia Program, the Southeast Asia Program and the Departments of Romance Studies, Near Eastern Studies, German Studies and Asian Studies.

February 27
Friday, February 27, 2015

Principles and practices of a literacy-based approach to language teaching

Rick Kern
Professor of French and Director of the Berkeley Language Center
University of California, Berkeley

Friday, February 27, 4pm followed by reception
Noyes Lodge

What principles should guide language and literacy education in the current era of globalization and intense social and technological innovation? Rather than attempting to distinguish between "new" literacies and "old" literacies, I propose an approach that brings attention to relationships between current and past literacy practices in order to prepare learners for the future. This approach focuses on the development of functional reading and writing abilities, but within the broader context of an exploration of how material, social, and individual factors influence the ways we design meaning and how mediums influence our fundamental ideas about what writing and communication are. The presentation will develop a set of principles and goals for this educational approach, then propose ways to achieve those goals through a "relational pedagogy" that focuses on how meanings emerge from interactions among material, social, and individual resources.
March 7
Saturday, March 7, 2015

Relating FLAS Assessment to Proficiency Scales

Mary Jo Lubrano
Testing and Assessment Specialist
Yale Center for Language Study

Saturday, March 7, 9am to 2pm lunch provided
Noyes Lodge

The aim of this workshop is twofold: after reviewing the characteristics of the ILR, ACTFL and CEFR descriptors in order to report proficiency levels of FLAS students, participants will also practice some elicitation techniques and rate some samples of actual oral proficiency interviews.

There are some activities to be completed before the workshop, based on the ACTFL Guidelines. Here is a brief outline of the workshop.
April 9
Thursday, April 9, 2015

Collegiate Foreign Language Teacher Development:
Challenges and Strategies to Meet the MLA's Call for Change

Heather Willis Allen
Associate Professor of French University of Wisconsin-Madison

Thursday, April 9, 4pm followed by reception
Noyes Lodge

The 2007 MLA Report called for the elimination of the often-criticized language vs. content structure of collegiate foreign language (FL) programs in favor of "a broader and more coherent curriculum in which language, culture, and literature are taught as a continuous whole" (p. 3). The Report further proposed that these reforms be accomplished through development of students' translingual and transcultural competence and increased emphasis on cultural narratives present in FL texts such as poetry, prose, film, and journalism. This final recommendation is a particular challenge in lower-division courses given that they are typically anchored in commercial instructional materials focused more on lexico-grammatical competence and oral transactional interaction than on text-driven learning. In addition, graduate teaching assistants (TAs) are often responsible for staffing lower-division course, and professional development opportunities are often insufficient in scope and content to equip TAs for carrying out instruction consistent with the aims of the MLA Report.
This presentation will include discussion of challenges and strategies in meeting the 2007 MLA Report's call for change in lower-division FL courses and, in particular, in relation to TA professional development. A pedagogy of multiliteracies (Cope & Kalantzis, 2009; Kern, 2000) is posited as a framework for anchoring TA professional development and several concepts from Vygotskian cultural-historical psychology (e.g., everyday and scientific concepts, appropriation, dialogic mediation, assisted performance) are foregrounded as key elements of professional development activities. Examples will be shared from an ongoing empirical study of TA conceptual and professional development.
April 14
Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Interactional Practices and Actions Comprising L2 Teaching

Joan Kelly Hall
Professor of Applied Linguistics Penn State University

Tuesday, April 14, 4pm followed by reception
Noyes Lodge

This presentation focuses on current research that draws on the micro-analytic power of conversation analysis to examine the multimodal practices and actions by which L2 teaching and learning are accomplished. We will take a close look at findings on two practices. The first is teacher self-talk, a practice that maintains student engagement in instruction and at the same time creates opportunities for empathetic relationships to develop between teachers and students. The second practice helps preserve L2 teachers' epistemic status as expert language knowers when their status is challenged by student questions about grammar. The findings allow us to see what really happens in L2 classrooms and thus provide us with "instructive descriptions of our worlds that rewrite how we see" (Macbeth, 2013). The presentation will conclude with a discussion of the implications of such insights for L2 teaching and teacher preparation programs.