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Language Resource Center

Events of 2016-2017

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.

November 1

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Designing Engaging Language Learning Experiences: A Computer Science Perspective

Erik Andersen, Department of Computer Science
Fields of Information Science and Cognitive Science
Cornell University

Tuesday, November 1, 4pm, Noyes Lodge

Reception before and after the talk
One of biggest challenges in teaching language is staying engaged for long enough to reach proficiency. In this talk, I will describe three recent projects intended to tackle this problem. First, I will discuss the challenges of "gamifying" language learning, and present Crystallize, our immersive 3D game that simulates immersion in a foreign language environment. Then, I will discuss new tools for crowdsourcing the collection, classification, and augmentation of language learning materials. Finally, We have been analyzing the rates that students can effectively learn new language material and how those rates are represented in textbooks. We have some surprising findings showing a consistent rate in two different Japanese textbooks. I'll discuss this research and its significance for text and material development.
December 6

Tuesday, December 6, 2016
9am-12pm followed by lunch

LRC Workshop

This semester's workshop will have three distinct parts. Part 1, from 9 - 10am, will feature a discussion of the challenges of teaching a non-Roman script. Part 2, from 10 - 11am, will be a discussion of Web Audio Lab changes and new features. Part 3, from 11 - 12, will be a discussion and demonstration of Playposit, the video scaffolding program supported by the LRC, taking the place of Zaption.
Web Audio Lab (WAL) was originally developed at Cornell more than 10 years ago, programmed by Slava Paperno in collaboration with the Language Resource Center. It is a uniquely Cornell platform, as the need for it arose from the special tradition of language teaching at Cornell starting in the 1950s. Programs of study developed from then through the 1970s emphasized focused, intensive and extensive out-of-class practice by students, followed by in-class oral drill and conversation. These courses, especially in Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Tagalog and Indonesian needed a platform to enable this student work when tape recorder/players faded from the scene. WAL has become that platform, and it has been embraced by teachers of a dozen languages at Cornell. These teachers have found that students doing this out-of-class oral practice prepares them to perform better in class, in the wide range of activities modern classrooms afford. Over this summer, with support from the Mellon Foundation through the Shared Course Initiative, we have vastly expanded WAL in some original and creative ways to support extensive listening, student generation of WAL material and interaction among class members. We have prepared some demonstration courses in English and other languages of these features. Come see how you can use WAL in your own class.
March 23

Thursday, March 23, 2017
4pm followed by reception

TBLT and Foreign Language Writing

Andrea Revesz, Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics
Department of CUlture, Communication, and Media UCL Institute of Education, University College London

With the growing popularity of task-based approaches to language teaching, the field of instructed second language (L2) acquisition has seen a growing interest in task design features as a means to facilitate L2 performance and development. However, the vast majority of task-related studies have focused on the oral modality, research into the effects of task features on L2 writing is limited. In addition, previous studies have primarily examined the product of writing (e.g., linguistic complexity and accuracy), little attention has been paid to writing processes such as fluency, pausing and revision during writing. In this talk, drawing on my own and colleagues' work, I will introduce recent empirical research that has begun to address these gaps. I will discuss and demonstrate how manipulating the design features of communicative tasks and the conditions under which they are performed may help facilitate L2 writing performance and development. In particular, I will show the extent to which providing support with content and task repetition can influence writing behaviors and text quality. I will also highlight the methodological advantages of triangulating product- and process-based measures. Finally, I will consider the pedagogical implications of the research discussed.
April 21

Friday, April 21, 2017
4pm followed by reception

Language learning through Viewing Television: In and Out of the Classroom

Michael Rodgers, Assistant Professor
School of Linguistics and Language Studies Carleton University

The language learning that goes on outside the classroom is an area that has recently begun to receive increased attention. One approach to language learning that is well suited to taking place outside the classroom is viewing second-language television. Although there is a large amount of research that has investigated learning through written materials, there is a considerably smaller, but growing, amount of research that has focused on learning through television programs. This is surprising because L2 television programs have great potential as a resource for language learning. People tend to spend a great deal of time watching L1 television programs. In the North American context, Americans and Canadians watch television five times more than they read in their L1. This suggests that in our L1, we encounter a greater amount of input through viewing television than we encounter through reading. This may be why research has shown that language learners are highly motivated to learn through viewing L2 television programs. There is a role for television viewing both inside and outside of the classroom. Extensive viewing, a natural companion to extensive reading, should begin in the classroom to provide the support that learners initially need to understand L2 discourse designed for L1 viewers. Through a program of regular instructor-supported viewing, students may find that they are able to understand a program to the point that they enjoy it and then move on to viewing autonomously at home. This presentation will look at research findings that language instructors can utilise to guide learners to make use of L2 television for language learning. Topics that will be explored include: choosing programs for learners, comprehension gains from successive viewing, vocabulary gains from television viewing, support for vocabulary learning from imagery, the use of captions, learner attitudes towards extensive viewing, and pedagogical considerations of these topics.

Suggested Reading: Webb, S. (2014). Extensive viewing: Language learning through watching television. In D. Nunan & J. C. Richards (Eds.), Language Learning Beyond the Classroom (pp. 159-168). London: Routledge. doi:10.4324/9781315883472