InterCom, a customizable weekly newsletter for language professionals, is provided by the Center for Applied Second Language Studies (CASLS) at the University of Oregon. InterCom is sponsored through a Title VI Language Resource Center grant.

Topic of the Week: Evaluating the Process, Not the Product

Renée Marshall is an International Programs Specialist at CASLS and works with the Oregon International Internship Program (OIIP). Stephanie Knight is Assistant Director at CASLS and works with The Bridging Project and LinguaFolio Online (LFO).

Goal-setting equips learners with a clear map for knowledge and skill attainment, encouraging them to harness their energy and efforts for activities and strategies that are related to achieving their goals (Locke & Latham, 2002, p. 706 as cited in Marshall & Knight, in press). Integral to this process is feedback and reflection, because it guides learners on how they should be adjusting their efforts and strategies, thus encouraging self-efficacy and self-regulation in the process (Locke & Latham, 2002; Moeller, Theiler & Wu, 2011; Oxford & Shearin, 1994 as cited in Marshall & Knight, in press). In the busy classrooms of today with many district, state, and national requirements it can seem challenging to take the time to incorporate reflection into the learning process, but this is a disservice to learners. Evaluating the process-- the learners’ reflection on their process-- rather than the end product places the emphasis on reflection thereby communicating to students through actions how important reflection truly is to the learning process.

Reflection doesn’t need to be arduous or extremely time-consuming. For example, in LinguaFolio Online (LFO), students are directed to evaluate their performance towards assigned Can-Do Statements as 1) This is a goal; 2) Can do with help; 3) Can do; or 4) Can do well before uploading evidence of their performance. Then, after the activity, they can revisit the Can-Do Statements and evaluate if their abilities have changed. If teachers wish to evaluate the students' reflective process, they can direct students to write a few sentences justifying their assessment of themselves and their work in a reflection journal. Certainly the reflective process is iterative; the experience of students in the Oregon International Internship Program (OIIP) provides a concrete example of how learners can improve their reflective abilities overtime with teacher feedback. This program is for international students wishing to be language teachers. They come to the U.S. to work as teaching assistants in elementary classrooms and also take a course at the UO designed to support them. Each student receives feedback on weekly reflection journals that encourages and challenges them a to reflect even deeper on their goals and classroom practice. The Bridging Project, a hybrid course designed for heritage and immersion students, requires learners to use rubrics periodically to conduct peer- and self-reflection related to course learning targets. The teacher evaluates the quality of these reflections with use of the same rubric. To see an example of such a rubric, see our Activity of the Week.


Marshall, R. & Knight, S. (In Press). ePortfolios to Facilitate Goal Setting and Reflection: A Look at LinguaFolio Online and Language Learning. In ePortfolio@edu. What We Know, What We Don't Know, and Everything in Between. Dr. Mary Ann Dellinger and Dr. Alexis Hart, Eds.

Activity of the Week

CASLS Spotlight: Spring Oregon International Internship Farewell

The Oregon International Internship Program (OIIP) hosted another teary farewell party on June 9 for its 14 students, whose 5-month internship finished up on June 16. These 14 students are undergraduates at universities in China and Taiwan. They come to this program for teaching experience and to learn about the U.S. school system. They spend 32 hours in an elementary classroom working with generous mentor teachers. In addition they take two three-unit courses at the University of Oregon taught by CASLS' East Asia Programs Director, Li-Hsien Yang, and International Programs Specialist, Renée Marshall. As a complement to their internship, the course focuses on language teaching pedagogy, U.S. education system, English as a Second Language pragmatics, and intercultural communication. To round out the experience students stay with caring homestay families. 

"We had a great turnout for the farewell party, with much love and support from our wonderful homestay families and mentor teachers. It's rewarding to hear the positive feedback from the families, teachers and students. It gives us motivation and let's us know we are on track with creating a quality internship experience, as well as helps us to continue to improve it," says Li-Hsien Yang, program director.

Photos: Spring 2017 Cohort and Farewell Party

Join us in wishing this cohort of students the best of luck in their future endeavors! To learn more about the program, we encourage you to visit the website.

Language Corner

Standard Based Grading in Language Class

Source: Mis Clases Locas Back to Quick Links

We hope that you enjoy this week’s Topic of the Week article ( about evaluating the learning process rather than the product, which caps off our June InterCom theme of assessment. Just in time, here is an excellent blog post by Spanish teacher Allison Weinhold about how to start using standard based grading (based on the ACTFL proficiency standards) in your class:

Action Plan for Providing Feedback that Students Use

Source: Madame's Musings Back to Quick Links

French teacher and blogger Lisa Shepard writes, “[S]tudents need feedback on their language use. They need to know whether their interpretation of a text is accurate and whether their own oral and written communication is comprehensible. More importantly, they need to know what they can do to increase their proficiency in the language. 
“However, in the imperfect world of my classroom, this process has not been working the way it should. My feedback has not been timely enough and I have not provided adequate opportunities for the students to use this feedback in a way that would inform their subsequent communication.”
Read about her action plan for the coming school year to close the feedback look with her students:

Resources for Learning about the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics and the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics

Source: Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day… Back to Quick Links

Your InterCom editor thinks that following the Olympic Games with your students is a great way to increase and celebrate global awareness. Larry Ferlazzo has already started curating resources for learning about the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics ( and the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics (

Brain-Friendly Strategies for Your Vocab Toolbox

Source: Middle Web Back to Quick Links

In this short article, Marilee Sprenger describes the three stages of learning new vocabulary: encoding, storage, and retrieval. She then goes on to suggest a few activities that students can do at each stage.
Read the article at

Recipe Cards for Interpretive Skills and Genre Exploration

Source: Creative Language Class Back to Quick Links

“Recipe cards” involve students looking at multiple authentic examples of a particular genre, such as a music review, and determining what the key “ingredients” are. Read more in this blog post:

Incorporating STEAM in Your Elementary Classroom

Source: Mundo de Pepita Back to Quick Links

How can you incorporate more cross-curricular content into your elementary language teaching? This blog post describes a simple adjustment to the daily warmup, adding an element of experimentation:

Teaching a Blind Student

Source: FLTEACH Back to Quick Links

Recently an FLTEACH listserv user asked her colleagues for advice about teaching a blind student in her class. Read the helpful responses by going to;6b7f3c73.1706 and then clicking on “Next” on the “By Topic” line.

Make and Do – Collocation Revision

Source: TeachingGamesEFL Back to Quick Links

Do your English students struggle with collocations using “make” and “do”? Mike Astbury presents a lesson and several activities that focus on some of these collocations in this post:

Finding and Using Images and Video Clips

Source: Various Back to Quick Links

Recently several bloggers have shared ways to find public domain video clips (, a slideshow with 50 images for language activities along with several ideas for using them (, and a list of 50 says to use images in the world language classroom (

Research Summary: Small Group Discussions and Their Impact on Language Learning

Source: ELT Research Bites Back to Quick Links

Anthony Schmidt reports on a 2013 study by Zhang, Anderson, and Nguyen-Jahiel about the effectiveness of a discussion activity called Collaborative Reasoning on English learners. Their conclusion: “engaging ELLs in language-rich discussions accelerates receptive and expressive language development.”
Read the research summary at

Article: It’s OK to Make Mistakes

Source: Fluent in 3 Months Back to Quick Links

Are you or your students so afraid to make mistakes that you’re not taking risks and pushing yourselves to communicate with more complexity, in a wider range of situations? This article by Katie Harris about the importance of making and learning from mistakes in language learning may help:

Professional Development

Heritage Language Conference

Source: American University Back to Quick Links

2017 Community-Based Heritage Language Schools: Promoting Collaboration among Educators, Families, and Researchers 
October 6-7, 2017
American University, Washington, DC
This conference is for program directors and administrators of community-based heritage language schools; members of the language communities involved in these schools; and directors and leaders in public, private, and charter schools who are interested in working with community-based heritage language schools.
Visit the conference website for more information at

Online Workshop: Immigrant Student Success

Source: Immigrant Learning Center Back to Quick Links

Immigrant Student Success: Models and Tools for K-12 and Adult Educators 
July 11-12
Immigrant Student Success: Models and Tools for K-12 and Adult Educators, a free, annual online workshop, is for educators, administrators and volunteers to encourage the progress of their immigrant students through interactive webinars, group activities and live exercises with experts. Certificates will be available upon completing the workshop (5 hours). 
For full details go to

Twitter List for English Language Teachers

Source: Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day… Back to Quick Links

Larry Ferlazzo maintains a list of tweets from 140 English language educators from around the world. You can subscribe at


Book: Applied Linguistics Perspectives on CLIL

Source: John Benjamins Publishing Company Back to Quick Links

Applied Linguistics Perspectives on CLIL
Edited by Ana Llinares and Tom Morton
Published by the John Benjamins Publishing Company
This book represents the first collection of studies on Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) which brings together a range of perspectives through which CLIL has been investigated within Applied Linguistics. The book aims to show how the four perspectives of Second Language Acquisition (SLA), Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL), Discourse Analysis, and Sociolinguistics highlight different important aspects of CLIL as a context for second language development. Each of the four sections in the book opens with an overview of one of the perspectives written by a leading scholar in the field, and is then followed by three empirical studies which focus on specific aspects of CLIL seen from this perspective. Topics covered include motivation, the use of tasks, pragmatic development, speech functions in spoken interaction, the use of evaluative language in expressing content knowledge in writing, multimodal interaction, assessment for learning, L1 use in the classroom, English-medium instruction in universities, and CLIL teachers’ professional identities.
Visit the publisher’s website at

The Impact of Environmental Factors on the Production of English Narratives by Spanish-English Bilingual Children

Source: LINCOM Back to Quick Links

The Impact of Environmental Factors on the Production of English Narratives by Spanish-English Bilingual Children
By Wei Chen and Liang Chen
Published by LINCOM Academic Publishers
English learners (ELs) entering the U.S. educational system form a heterogeneous group, with different patterns of home language use, different instructional programs, and different socio-economic background. The present study explores the impact of these environmental factors on the development of narrative skills in Spanish-speaking ELs. Three independent studies are reported, focusing on ELs’ use of referring expressions, evaluative expressions, and relative clauses in the English oral narratives.
While the results did not provide direct evidence for “the astounding effectiveness” (Collier & Thomas, 2004) of bilingual immersion program in aspects of the ELs’ narrative production, results suggested that this might have resulted from the modulating roles of family socioeconomic status and home language use. Indeed, socioeconomic status was found to play a more important role in predicting individual differences in adequately managing references and using richer evaluative devices in oral narratives than other environmental factors. The study contributes to the field by highlighting the need to examine the interactions of environmental factors to maximize ELs’ language and literacy outcomes. 
Visit the publisher’s website at

Book: Native and Non-Native Teachers in English Language Classrooms

Source: de Gruyter Back to Quick Links

Native and Non-Native Teachers in English Language Classrooms: Professional Challenges and Teacher Education
Edited by Martinez Agudo and Juan de Dios
Despite being highly debated in applied linguistics and L2 teaching literature, the controversial issue of (non)nativeness still remains unresolved. Contemporary critical research has questioned the theoretical foundations of the nativeness paradigm, which still exerts a strong influence in the language teaching profession.
Written by well-known researchers and teacher educators from all over the world, both NSs and NNSs, the selected contributions of this volume cover a great variety of aspects related to the professional role and status of both NS and NNS teachers in terms of both perceived differences and professional concerns and challenges. The strongest aspects of this volume are the global perspectives and the implications for future research and teacher education. It is precisely this international perspective which makes this volume illustrative of different realities with a similar objective in mind: the improvement of second language teaching and teacher education. In today's world, being a NS or NNS should not really matter but rather teachers' professional competences.
This publication thus provides a forum of reflection and discussion for all L2 educators who need to be aware of how much they might offer to their future students.
Visit the publisher’s website at

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