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.
Carol A. Klee is a Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Minnesota. She specializes in Spanish language contact, sociolinguistics, bilingualism, and second language acquisition.
Broadly defined, sociolinguistics is the study of language and society. Over the past fifty+ years sociolinguists have revealed insights into language that are valuable for language teachers to consider. As both a sociolinguist and a language teacher, my top three, which I’ll elaborate on below, are the following:
Variation and change are an inherent part of language.
Language change occurs continuously and can be observed even in a relatively short timeframe. For example, variation between “traditional” forms and newer ones —such as the “correct” use of whom vs. who as in Whom/Who are you calling? or were vs. was in “If I were/was you…” —typically draws the attention of prescriptivists, who try to lay down standards of “correctness” and slow down language change. Ideally, language teachers should be aware of the ways that the language we teach is changing and make certain that the grammar forms introduced in class reflect current, rather than “archaic,” norms.
Variation is one way that humans denote their membership in different social groups.
Languages vary across geographical boundaries, resulting in different dialects (e.g. Quebecois French vs. Parisian French or the Spanish spoken in Buenos Aires vs. Mexico City). As language teachers, we should make sure that students are exposed to different regional varieties of the L2 through well-designed listening activities.
Variation also occurs across different social groups and provides a way to indicate group membership. Below are several examples:
Standard varieties of a language are not intrinsically better than non-standard or stigmatized dialects.
Sociolinguistics are “descriptivists,” i.e. they describe the way that people speak, and regard any variants that speakers use as acceptable, regardless of whether they are nonstandard (such as, “I don’t have none”). Value judgments of particular forms as correct vs. incorrect are considered social, rather than linguistic, judgments.
Given this perspective, what varieties or dialects we should teach our students? Ideally, the variety selected will depend on the students’ reasons for studying the language, but it is also essential to take into account the communicative behavior that is considered most appropriate for foreigners in a given community. In many communities a foreigner is expected to speak a relatively formal variety of the language and the use of non-standard linguistic forms by foreigners can sound inappropriate to the ears of native speakers. In addition, because non-standard varieties of the L2 are often markers of group identity, outsiders who try to use them can be seen as condescending or as violating group integrity. In other words, in the classroom we should guide learners to acquire an appropriate variety of the L2 and at the same time raise their awareness of regional and social language variation. For heritage speakers, we should encourage maintenance of their home variety, even if it is considered non-standard, as it is the most appropriate variety within their community. In addition, heritage learners will benefit from the acquisition of formal registers in their home language and from awareness of sociolinguistic insights on language.
Renée Marshall is an International Programs Specialist at CASLS
This activity is meant to raise student awareness of registers, when different registers are used, and how they affect the message of what’s being said. A register is a variety of language used for a particular reason or in a particular context; for example, we use a less formal register conversing with friends than when presenting at a conference.
Mode: Interpretive Listening
Materials needed: Three video clips of your choice, an online discussion platform for your students to post links and their thoughts
Extension: Have students also think about these questions: What would happen if one register were used with another register? How would people react? How would this affect communication? Students could make a video where they use a different register than would normally be used in a situation and discuss the results. Does the intended message change if you use a different register? How? Is there really such a thing as a "right" way to speak and a "wrong" way to speak? Or does it depend more on context and situation?
1. This activity can be repeated in a similar way for language variation, using three clips employing different language varieties (such as say, Quebecois French, Cameroonian French, and Haitian French Creole).
2. This activity can be done in L1, L2, or a combination of L1 and L2, depending on the level of students. This can be done with lower level students as well; they will only understand a little from the video but you can still point things out, for example, in Persian words ending in “ãn” often become “oon” in casual speech (e.g. nãn becomes noon, jãn becomes joon).
CASLS welcomes the Spring 2017 cohort of Oregon International Internship Program (OIIP) students to the Unviersity of Oregon. The program sponsors students from universities in China, Japan, and Taiwan to come to the Eugene-Springfield area and gain valuable classroom experience by shadowing a mentor elementary school teacher for five days a week. This full-time internship is complemented by two courses at the University of Oregon co-taught by CASLS' East Asia Programs Director, Li-Hsien Yang, and International Programs Specialist, Renée Petit Marshall, on English pragmatics, teaching pedagogy and the U.S. school system. Students also live with an American family and gain valuable conversational and cultural knowledge to take back with them to their home countries. Overall, OIIP provides interns with invaluable classroom experience, university credit, and the opportunity for meaningful connections. At the same time, OIIP enriches Eugene and Springfield area homes and schools with language and culture. "The program affords students an opportunity to learn about the U.S. school system, teaching methods, and to gain teaching experience while also affording their placement school a teaching assistant to help teach and manage the classroom, providing unique perspectives and exploration of their home country with the elementary students," says Renée about the benefits of the program. "I love working with this group of interns and I learn something new with every cohort."
This current group began on February 8 and will finish on June 16. Please join us in welcoming them!
Betsy Taylor writes about providing effective feedback that leads to students’ gains in language proficiency. The questions she asks herself when assessing students work are as follows:
1. Have I tied my feedback to the specific learning goal of the lesson?
2. Have I found something positive to say about this work, using concrete goals for proficiency?
3. Have I focused on both the task and the process?
4. Have I asked at least one question to stimulate the student’s thinking about his/her work?
5. Have I given a concrete suggestion for improvement and proficiency growth?
Read the full blog post at http://www.path2proficiency.com/food-for-thought-feeding-proficiency-with-effective-feedback/
From the ILR-INFO listserv:
For nearly seventeen years, the National Foreign Language Center (NFLC) at the University of Maryland has been a developer of foreign language learning and assessment materials for Government clients. To date, the NFLC has worked in more than one hundred languages and regional dialects to produce for the Government over 13,700 units, including Assessment Objects, Language Learning Objects, Video Learning Objects, and Thematic Units. While all of these materials have been available through the Joint Language University (JLU), the majority of them have not been available outside of the JLU system.
In 2014, the NFLC built an e-learning portal to make this vast resource available to wider audience. A small monthly subscription helps the NFLC to keep the website updated with new learning materials as they are created. Subscriptions are available to individuals and groups, with groups receiving the added benefit of central management of their users and tiered discounts on subscription rates.
More information about NFLC language materials and samples of each type are available at the NFLC website.
Assessment Objects: http://www.nflc.umd.edu/projects/language/assessment_objects
Language Learning Objects: http://www.nflc.umd.edu/projects/language/lo
Video Learning Objects: http://www.nflc.umd.edu/projects/language/VLO
Thematic Units: http://www.nflc.umd.edu/projects/language/tu
To preview the languages, levels, modalities, and topics available, please visit the portal website at http://portal.nflc.umd.edu/lessons.
Please contact Taimur Khan at NFLC if you need more information about the eLearning Portal.
Director Business Development
National Foreign Language Center at University of Maryland email@example.com
Crocoli, C. [ILR-INFO] FYI: NFLC eLearning Portal. ILR-INFO (ILR-INFO@fsilist2.fsi.state.gov, 10 Feb 2017)
Here are a few recent articles dealing with critical thinking and fact-checking.
First, here is a way to use short sayings in your target language as a launch point for student discussion and critical thinking: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/jump-start-critical-thinking-with-aphorism-ben-johnson
In this article, “Teaching Why Facts Still Matter,” American history, government, and journalism teacher David Cutler presents strategies for motivating students to pursue true information: https://www.edutopia.org/article/teaching-why-facts-still-matter-david-cutler
Here are 8 strategies to improve fact-checking skills: http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/8-ways-to-hone-your-fact-checking-skills/
Buster Benson discusses cognitive bias and presents a graphic that can help people to recognize cognitive biases: https://betterhumans.coach.me/cognitive-bias-cheat-sheet-55a472476b18#.c6uffnoks
Education Week has a recent article, “Four Ideas for Approaching Political Conversations with Students,” at http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/global_learning/2017/02/four_ideas_for_talking_about_politics_with_students.html
Here’s a recent NPR feature, “5 Ways Teachers Are Fighting Fake News”: http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/02/16/514364210/5-ways-teachers-are-fighting-fake-news
Writing for the New York Times, Larry Ferlazzo is publishing news-literacy lesson plans: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/26/learning/lesson-plans/ideas-for-ells-finding-reliable-sources-in-a-world-of-fake-news.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0
Here are some different activities in which students can talk about what they plan to do or what they did over the weekend or on vacation: http://www.languagemakerspace.com/2017/02/01/18-mix-and-match-activities-to-talk-about-the-weekend/
Here are several resources for teachers of immigrants:
Fact Sheet for Families and School Staff: Limitations on DHS Immigration Enforcement Actions at Sensitive Locations, from the U.S. Department of Education: http://www.colorincolorado.org/guide/fact-sheet-families-and-school-staff-limitations-dhs-immigration-enforcement-actions-sensitive
A resource guide from the U.S. Department of Education, Building a Bright Future for All: Success in Early Learning Programs and Elementary Schools for Immigrant Families, available at http://www.colorincolorado.org/guide/building-bright-future-all-success-early-learning-programs-and-elementary-schools-immigrant
Information compiled by ¡Colorín Colorado!, Serving and Supporting Immigrant Students: Information for Schools: http://www.colorincolorado.org/ell-basics/serving-and-supporting-immigrant-students-information-schools
My Shakespeare is a website that links the text of Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, and Macbeth with multimedia resources, such as complete audio recordings, a translation into contemporary language, popup notes on literary devices, animated videos that explore the play and its context, and performances of key scenes. Teacher resources include lesson plans, ideas for projects, quizzes, and tips for teaching Shakespeare.
Explore this website at https://myshakespeare.com/
Here are five quick zero-prep activities that you can do in your language classroom when you have a little bit of extra, unplanned time: http://frenchteachernet.blogspot.com/2017/02/5-great-zero-preparation-lesson-ideas.html
The New Jersey Department of Education has started a podcast series about English learners and bilingual education. Here are the first three podcasts:
Episode 1 - - Equity for ELLs with Karen Campbell
Karen Campbell, Director of the Office of Supplemental Educational Programs at the NJ Department of Education, explains the importance of equity.
Episode 2 - - WIDA and Supporting ELL Educators with Tim Boals
Tim Boals, the Founder and Executive Director of the WIDA Consortium, describes what WIDA is doing to support ELLs.
Episode 3 - - Newcomer ELLs with Yasmin Hernandez-Manno
Yasmin Hernandez-Manno is the Executive County Superintendent for Mercer and Middlesex counties in New Jersey. In this episode, she describes best practices for programs working with newcomer English language learners based on her experience as the director of a newcomer center.
Access all of the podcasts at http://www.nj.gov/education/bilingual/podcasts/
Globalization and Localization in Computer-Assisted Language Learning
September 7-9, 2017
The Globalization and Localization in Computer-Assisted Language Learning (GLoCALL) Conference aims to share knowledge, research and experience on how to use computer technology to make language learning more effective and pleasant; to explore how the technology can be adapted to better meet the local needs of students and teachers, while at the same time providing global perspectives on computer-assisted language learning (CALL); and to bring the technology within the reach of local teachers who wish to develop their professionalism in CALL.
Proposals are encouraged within the sub-themes below, but are not limited to them.
- Application of technology to the language classroom
- Localizing Internet materials to the classroom
- Using the Internet for cultural exchange
- Managing multimedia/hypermedia environments
- E-learning, collaborative learning and blended learning
- Emerging technologies
- Fostering autonomous learning through technology
- Training language teachers in e-learning environments
Call Deadline: 15-Apr-2017
View the full call for papers at http://linguistlist.org/issues/28/28-771.html
9th Annual Ohio University CALL Conference
Differentiation and Engagement in CALL
April 7, 2017
With Featured Speaker, Dr. Joy Egbert, Washington State University
Proposal deadline: February 28.
For more information and to submit a proposal, go to https://sites.google.com/site/ohiocallconference2014/9th-annual-ohio-university-call-conference
The Northeast Association for Language Learning Technology (NEALLT) will hold its annual conference at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, from Friday, March 3 to Sunday, March 5, 2017. The conference will be hosted by the Language & Culture (LC) Commons, the newly transformed Language Learning Center at Muhlenberg College.
The theme of the conference will be “Learning Environments for Languages and Cultures” and there will be presentations and panel discussions on topics including:
• Emerging technologies
• Innovative software and apps
• Social Media
• Student agency - tasks for student expression
• Scaffolding student learning
• Curricular innovations
• Space planning and design
• Resource Center management
• Mobile technology
• Online courses
• Open educational resources
For more conference details go to http://neallt.org/neallt2017/index.html
The National Network for Early Language Learning will hold its summer institute July 7-9 in Summit, New Jersey. The theme is STEAMing Ahead: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving for Early Language Learners. For full details go to http://nnell.org/summer-institute-2017/
Our sister LRC, the Center for Urban Language and Research, will hold its 3rd annual series of professional development workshops for language teachers. These interactive, dynamic, and effective workshops geared toward developing effective practices in the classroom.
Offered 2017 workshops:
3P Technology: Computer, A/V and Mobile Platforms
Date: July 6-8, 2017
Brief Description of Workshop: The “Technology and Foreign Language Teaching” workshop will emphasize an understanding of recent technological trends and implementation practices within the L2 classroom. Throughout this workshop, participants will have the opportunity to develop practical technology skills while increasing confidence to effectively utilize those skills on a daily basis. Each day of this workshop, we will focus on a different platform including computer, A/V, and mobile devices to highlight each technology’s ability to highlight lecture content and to promote student engagement inside, as well as outside, of the traditional classroom.
Differentiation in the World Language Classroom
Date: July 10-12, 2017
Public schools today are more diverse than ever before. Each student brings unique knowledge and skills to the world language classroom. Some teachers express concerns about reaching their diverse learners in order to ensure that all students learn and grow. Consequently, the concept of Differentiated Instruction (DI) has gathered support from many administrators and teachers as an attractive option to ensure that the curriculum, instruction, and assessment are tailored to meet the needs of diverse student populations, such as those that can be found in the metropolitan Atlanta area. This workshop will introduce Differentiated Instruction, an approach to instruction that is culturally responsive, and designed to meet unique individual student needs. The sessions will provide an overview of common DI strategies that can be incorporated into a World Language classroom. A variety of artifacts will be shown, so that participants can see how one might adopt DI in the World Language context. Workshop participants will be given time to update a short pre-existing unit (approximately 3-5 days of instruction) to apply some of the DI strategies that were presented. Participants will be encouraged to collaborate with their peers on thematic units that are common across languages and grade levels. The goal is for participants to walk away more confident that they can differentiate their instruction and assessment in order to better reach their diverse students.
Developing Materials for Language Instruction
Date: July 13-15, 2017
We live in an age where commercially produced instructional materials are so widely available that they can be overwhelming and difficult to sort through. Teacher-made materials are more personal, responding to current events and local contexts, and align more effectively with learner interests and needs in each unique learning situation. Grounded in research on effective language learning and teaching, this workshop emphasizes creative and interactive approaches to language teaching, and offers a broad range of strategies and techniques for exploiting authentic materials to foster learners’ language proficiency and global competence. This hands-on workshop, instructed by Dr. Paula Garrett-Rucks will not only explain how to prepare engaging, pedagogically effective teaching materials for the language classroom, but will involve participants in the creative process, sending you home with a “new bag of tricks” to use immediately across a range of language proficiency levels. Creating creative, kinesthetic activities to motivate learners to communicate in the target language is the goal of this workshop!
Tech at Play in the L2 Classroom: Creating Engaging Games for Learning
Date: July 17-19, 2017
Why can’t learning be more like a game? Gamification can bring fun, motivation, and creativity to the language classroom when developed and implemented within a well-designed curriculum. Games for learning can be technology-mediated, such as online games, or can be technology generated and adapted for use in the physical classroom. In this workshop, we’ll explore the most basic fundamentals of game design for learning, software tools for creating games and resources, and how to adapt online learning environments for language games. Regardless of whether you are in a 1-to-1 technology classroom, have mobile devices, or just have an instructor computer, you’ll be able to create engaging student-centered activities for your classes. You don’t have to be a computer programmer to program games into your classroom! This workshop is open to instructors of all languages and all levels.
For full details about all of these workshops go to http://cultr.gsu.edu/teacher-workshops/workshops2017/
The International Association for Language Learning Technology’s Assessment Committee has produced a new publication, a Language Center Evaluation Toolkit. This document provides institutions of higher education with a customizable set of tools to assist with the evaluation process. The Toolkit is by nature flexible and takes into account that no two language centers have the same mission, funding, or staffing. The LCET includes:
• recommendations for assembling an evaluation committee;
• a center director self-evaluation form;
• a survey for center patrons and other stakeholders;
• a list of descriptors organized by categories, e.g., student services, resources.
The authors of the LCET are Edwige Simon (committee chair), Angelika Kraemer, Felix Kronenberg, Betsy Lavolette, and Audrey Sartiaux.
The LCET is available as a shared folded which contains a PDF of the complete LCET and editable versions of the surveys and descriptor list.
Access the Toolkit at http://iallt.org/resources/publications/
Language and Migration in a Multilingual Metropolis
By Patrick Stevenson
Published by Springer
This lively and engaging book, set in the historical context of centuries of migration and multilingualism in Berlin, explores the relationship between language and migration. Berlin is a multicultural city in the heart of Europe, but what do we know about the number of languages spoken by its inhabitants and how they are used in everyday life? How do encounters with different languages impact on the experience of migration? And how do people use their experiences with language to shape their life stories? To investigate these questions, the author invites the reader to accompany him on a research expedition that leads to an apartment building in the highly diverse district of Neukölln. Its inhabitants come from different parts of the world and relate their experiences – their Berlin lives – in ways that reveal the complex and intricate relationships between language and migration.
Visit the publisher’s website at http://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319406053#otherversion=9783319406060
World Englishes and Culture Wars
By Braj B. Kachru
Published by Cambridge University Press
Written from a non-Western perspective, this book exposes the inadequacy of oppositions such as native vs. non-native Englishes and English vs. New Englishes. It explains why the label 'World Englishes' captures both what the different Englishes share and how they differ from each other. It also criticizes the kinds of power asymmetries that have evolved between the Inner, Outer, and Expanding Circles of English, while showing the extent to which the Outer Circle has enriched their common language and made it suitable for both its heritage and non-heritage users. The narrative is grounded in a wealth of historical knowledge, especially that of the colonization of the Outer Circle. Readers are invited to compare the spread and differentiation of English with those of Latin, which evolved into the Romance languages. This comparison may leave the reader asking: could English break up into Anglian languages?
Visit the publisher’s website at http://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/languages-linguistics/sociolinguistics/world-englishes-and-culture-wars?format=HB
The February 2017 Issue of Language Learning & Technology is available online at http://llt.msu.edu/issues/february2017/index.html
This special issue on methodological innovation in CALL research includes the following articles:
Sharing a Multimodal Corpus to Study Webcam-mediated Language Teaching
Methodological Innovation for the Study of Request Production in Telecollaboration
D. Joseph Cunningham
Digital-gaming Trajectories and Second Language Development
Kyle W. Scholz and Mathias Schulze
Examining Focused L2 practice: From in vitro to in vivo
Frederik Cornillie, Wim Van Den Noortgate, Kris Van den Branden, KU Leuven, and Piet Desmet
Web-based Collaborative Writing in L2 Contexts: Methodological Insights from Text Mining
Soobin Yim and Mark Warschauer
Challenges in Transcribing Multimodal Data: A Case Study
Francesca Helm and Melinda Dooly
Plus announcements, calls for papers, reviews, columns, and more.
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