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Language Resource Center

Events of 2014-2015

September 10
Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Strengthening Foreign Language Across the Curriculum (FLAC) Across Cornell

Wednesday, September 10, 2:30-4:30
Stimson 206
Reception following on the Uris Hall Terrace

FLAC has proven to be a successful means of supporting students' use and expansion of foreign language skills by adding a foreign language section to a regular course. This event explores ways to expand FLAC offerings at Cornell by identifying the goals and necessary supporting structures, and by encouraging faculty across campus to add a FLAC component to their courses. What are the goals, roles, and responsibilities? What are the benefits and resource requirements? This event of panels and group interchange promises an engaging discussion by bringing together faculty, outside experts, TAs, language teachers, students, and senior administrators. Laura Brown, Vice-Provost of Undergraduate Education, will moderate the final discussion.

Your attendance will show the importance of support for FLAC, in terms of TA stipends and organizational structures. For more information contact Dick Feldman at

Organized by Language Research Center and with support of Cornell's Language Education Council, Vice Provost for International Affairs, and the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies.

October 3 and 4
Friday, October 3 and Saturday October 4, 2014

Who Owns Content? Issues in Content-Based Instruction

Friday, October 3, keynote 4-5, followed by reception
Saturday, October 4, 9am to 3pm
Clark Hall 701
The Keynote address on Friday will be given by Jesus Rodriguez-Velasco, Chair of the Department of Latin American and Iberian Studies at Columbia University. On Saturday, there will be 3 panels, each with a researcher and two teachers. For more information, please see the event website.

This event is sponsored by the Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning.
November 11
Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pedagogical perspectives on error correction

Younghee Sheen
Research Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics
Department of World Languages and Cultures, American University

Tuesday, November 11, 4pm followed by reception
Noyes Lodge

The field of second language teaching and learning has seen a number of pendulum swings in how errors should be viewed. In the 1950s and 1960s, behaviorist theories of language learning that emphasized habit-formation deemed errors as damaging to learning and thus in need of immediate eradication. In the 1970s and 1980s, more nativist theories about language learning saw errors as a natural part of the learning process and thus correction was not needed. More recently, interactionist theories of language learning have reinforced the view that errors are natural and unavoidable, but also have considered errors to be 'treatable'.

What is undeniable is that language teachers have to deal with learner errors on a daily basis. How then are they to respond to learner errors given the mixed messages emanating from researchers and theoreticians? Error correction has been an intense object of inquiry in the Applied Linguistics field for at least two decades. Accordingly, a plethora of research has presented its robust findings on the efficacy of error correction and the extent to which this can be mediated by a host of individual learner factors, such as motivation, language analytic ability and working memory. Nevertheless, a disconnect remains between research and practice with regard to the utility of error correction because many teachers in the language classroom are still left with the question of what they should do about learner errors on a daily basis.

My talk will address the following questions from the pedagogical perspective: (a) What are errors?; (b) Should teachers aim to correct all errors or be selective?; (c) What criteria should teachers use to select errors for correction?; and (d) What specific ways can teachers correct oral and written errors. After providing my understanding of several key findings from the research on error correction, I will also consider each finding in terms of my own unique experience as a language learner, language teacher and teacher educator.

December 9
Tuesday, December 9, 2015

LRC Workshop

Tuesday, December 9, 9-12 followed by lunch
Noyes Lodge

  • Dick will report on the latest news about the move of the LRC to Stimson Hall.

  • France Mehta will discuss a mobile device program she has used for viewing and analyzing a Chinese video. She has student survey data on its effectiveness and students' attitudes about mobile devices generally.

  • Grit Matthias and Andreea Mascan will give a presentation titled "Reevaluating the 'us and them' Paradigm." This involves the description of a three-stage sequence of student activities. They will present the project and discuss examples of students' work, student feedback and their conclusions for future projects.

  • The LRC has long supported a range of online tools to present language teaching materials. We are now approaching the end of the lifetime of those materials, and we are proposing to offer support for recently developed features of Blackboard instead. In this workshop we will demonstrate how Blackboard supports many of the functions of LRC tools and beyond. We will concentrate on areas such as media handling, especially in threaded discussions, student upload of video, assigning privileges to groups of students, branching from one activity to another, and the grading of student work. After a demonstration of these affordances, attendees will have time for guided use of these tools.
    We will also be developing modules beyond BB, so BB experienced teachers are urged to think about what features are missing from BB that would be useful to language teachers.
    If you have media, practice tasks or test questions you would like to try incorporating in BB, please bring them along.
January 20
Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Noyes Lodge, 3-4pm
Discussion of the RFP for Internationalization

This is an opportunity to discuss and ask questions about the Request for Proposals sent out by the Vice-Provost for International Relations for projects in internationalizing the curriculum. Marina Markot, the director of Study Abroad, will be present to explain the RFP and answer questions. All welcome, even if you are just curious to see what this is about.
The call for proposals was sent out to all faculty. Here is a copy also.
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, 3:30pm 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.
April 18
Saturday, April 18, 2015

Sponsored by the Department of Romance Studies

Motivation, Aptitude, and Error Correction: Best Research Insights for Language Teaching

Lourdes Ortega
Professor of Applied Linguistics Georgetown University

Saturday, April 18, 9am to 12pm
Noyes Lodge

Language teachers often feel unsure of the value of research, wondering if studies are relevant and realistic enough to give them insights that can inform and improve their daily practice. In the field of second language acquisition, researchers also seem to feel unsure of the value for language teachers of what they do, and many have advised extreme caution when applying to language classrooms the research knowledge they generate. My own professional position as a present researcher and a former language teacher is that research has sometimes, but not always, been meaningful enough to be supportive of teachers' professional praxis. In this workshop, I will offer my view of what best insights for practice the research had generated, in the three different areas of motivation, aptitude, and error correction. In motivation research, exciting recent research findings have an easy and natural relevance for language teaching praxis. In the area of aptitude, a large amount of contextualization and critical professional translation is needed, but possible, before the research can be of use in actual local classroom contexts. With respect to research on error correction, surprisingly, the potential of relevance for teaching is greatest but remains largely unfulfilled, in my view due to shortcomings of the way the questions have been approached so far. My goal with the workshop is to nurture critical but hopeful understandings about the interfaces between research and teaching.
May 8
Friday, May 8, 2015

LRC Workshop

Friday, May 8, 9-12 followed by lunch
Noyes Lodge