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: Cultivating Intention

By Christopher Daradics, CASLS Language Technician

This month InterCom is focusing on self-care. Julie kicked us off by revisiting and expanding on last year’s treatment of this same topic. And last week, Mandy reminded us of the importance of staying true to our biggest yeses. This week we are focusing in on intention, specifically on cultivating our own intentions and supporting others in finding and maintaining theirs.

The challenges we face in setting our own clear intentions are many and include the following:

  • Genuine self-knowledge is difficult to achieve and does not necessarily manifest as the wisdom to know how to act.
  • Being sensitive to our own needs is not nurtured by the cultural mainstream nor mass media.
  • It is rarely obvious, from the vantage point of our moment-by-moment experience, how to practically implement our intentions.
  • Learning how to hold one’s own line while maintaining grace, compassion, and presence for others is challenging and there is no one “right” way to do it.
  • Our desires and our contexts are ever unfolding and changing, and life is in a constant state of flux.

Fortunately, as language experts we have two key pieces of wisdom that can be leveraged to become more adept at cultivating and manifesting intentional lives and communities.

First, we are good at languaging. This is to say, we are good at using language. We know at its core it is functional and “can-do” things in the world. If we can quiet the noise and chaos in and around us for long enough to find our own signal and put words around our experience and feelings, we will very quickly find ourselves with clarified and concrete intentions. As Jack Kerouac says, "something you feel will find its own form."

Second, we are all experts at "The Coco." Although you may not realize it yet, you are already a master of this exciting and vivacious dance! As functional language experts, we know that human experience is always dynamic, always in flux. All communication, as we understand it, is hyper-contextual, it is always emergent, and it is always on the move. As we participate with others we co-construct experience together. Every day in class by taking questions, redirecting students’ attention, and acknowledging success we are all co-constructing the unfolding of (classroom) life together. Similarly, this co-construction is mutually regulating. Our students’ bad days become our bad days—and vice versa. Likewise, our amazing lessons become the bedrock (we hope) of our students’ worldviews and ultimately their brilliant adult lives. This co-constructed, co-regulated dance is something we have already unconsciously mastered in our L1, L2, and beyond.

By taking the time to let our feelings find their own form in language, and by consciously focusing on the co-constructed and co-regulated nature of our lives together, we will naturally begin to graciously dance our way into the syncopated equilibrium of intentional, vivacious life and community.

This week’s Activity of the Week is an invitation to nurture yourself and others by setting some time aside to practice feeling and clarifying your intentions and to explore how you can consciously apply your expertise in "The Coco" into other domains of life.

Activity of the Week

  • Journaling Prompts Dealing with Intention

    This week’s Activity of the Week presents an opportunity to attune to your own experience and consider how intention arises, becomes articulate, and is manifest in healthy community. If you’re not in a consistent journaling practice, consider setting a timer to help structure your experience. If you journal often, consider spreading the prompts out over a series of journaling sessions. 

    The journal prompts are available here. Feel free to pick and choose or work your way through the extensive set of prompts.

CASLS Spotlight: CASLS Welcomes Intern Leo Shiner

We at CASLS are delighted to have a special intern with us this summer. Leo Shiner, a rising senior at Brown University majoring in linguistics and Slavic studies, is here at CASLS to help with projects including intercultural communicative assessment and the use of games for language learning. Leo’s research interests center around applied linguistics, especially language education with digital-medium courses. In his quest for researched-based, effective language learning approaches, Leo’s guiding question is “What would I find helpful or engaging in a language course?” Leo is especially interested in Uralic languages, especially Permic languages like Udmurt, Komi-Zyryan, and Komi-Permyak. In this coming fall he’ll be studying abroad in Yaroslavl, Russia. 

Leo finds that his research interests intersect with other interests and hobbies, including playing video games (especially Fire Emblem, a strategy role-playing game) and the artwork of Udmurt artist Aleksandra Yurievna Gladysh AKA Autumn Sacura. We’re grateful to have Leo here with us this summer and wish him a warm welcome to CASLS and to Eugene!

Language Corner

Article: Six Ways Northwest Natives Are Using Tech to Save Their Languages

Source: The Seattle Globalist Back to Quick Links


Six ways Northwest Natives are using tech to save their languages
May 29, 2019 
by Sydney Cain

The first peoples that lived in this area were the innovative scientists and technologists of their time. They thrived because of their knowledge of the lands and how to harness its resources and systems to help themselves and their families survive. This knowledge is held in their languages.

But today indigenous communities around the world are in a race to save their languages, and the knowledge contained within them.

...Today, some people are trying to reverse the trend — with the help of technology. With increased internet access and mobile phone reception over the past decade has enabled more native communities to get online.

Native Americans are becoming increasingly tech-savvy and using this knowledge to capture, adapt, and revitalize their indigenous languages for the 21st Century.

Read the full article at

Language Keepers Multimedia Feature on California Indigenous Languages

Source: Emergence Magazine Back to Quick Links

If you'd like to learn more about California's Indigenous languages, especially Kawaiisu, Wukchumni, Tolowa Dee-ni', and Karuk, then check out this beautiful multi-media piece by Language Keepers:

Word Walls for Beginning Chinese Classes

Source: Ignite Language Back to Quick Links


In this blog post, Diane Newbauer describes how she selects words and phrases for a Word Wall for novice Chinese learners, how she uses it during the language learning process, and how she uses another teacher's tool for color coding the materials:

Chinese Conversation with Transcript: Why "Chinese Public Square Dance" Is Popular

Source: Mandarin HQ Back to Quick Links

Here is a 4:50 video in which people explain why they like participating in Chinese Public Square Dance, along with a transcript:

French Reading Resources

Source: Mrs Geek Chic Back to Quick Links

Larissa Aradj, AKA Mrs Geek Chic, has compiled a collection of links to online French reading resources. Access her list here:

Board Games that Promote Language Learning

Source: Kid World Citizen Back to Quick Links


Becky Morales discusses analog board games that are especially conducive to language growth, such as Guess Who? and Spot It! Read her blog post at

Google Translate's Instant Camera Translation Upgraded

Source: Google Back to Quick Links


The Google Translate camera translation feature is impressive - simply make a sign in the target language appear in your camera, and it will translate it into the language you want. On July 10, the feature was upgraded. With 60 languages added to those that the tool already supported, the instant camera translation tool can translate from 88 languages into over 100. It can also automatically detect the original language of the sign. Neural Machine Translation technology is now used for the camera translations, yielding more accurate and natural results. Finally, the feature has a new look and more intuitive use. 

Read about these updates at

If you're wondering how you can use this tool in a language class, check out Leila Tamini Lichaei's Activity of the Week in which students use it for a scavenger hunt:

Design Tips for Teacher-Made Materials

Source: TESOL Blog Back to Quick Links

Gabriela Kleckova writes, "Simply put, well-implemented principles of visual language can support the teaching potential of our materials. Visual design flaws of teaching materials, however, may hinder students’ learning despite the other positive aspects they may have." Given that language learners can benefit from all visual cues on a printed text, these visual design considerations can be impactful for learners of any language. Read Kleckova's blog post for six potential design flaws and how to fix them:

A Reminder about Communication Strategies

Source: Beth Skelton Back to Quick Links


Beth Skelton recounts a recent experience in which she struggled to use her Spanish skills to navigate a challenging situation in the Dominican Republic, until she remembered to use strategies that she knew would help her. In this case, she asked the taxi driver and hotel receptionist to write down what they were saying on paper in simple sentences. Using her strength in decoding reading, she was finally able to understand what the situation was. This blog post is an excellent reminder of the importance of teaching communication strategies to our students.

Read the blog post at

Collaboration Rather Than Competition

Source: British Council Back to Quick Links


David Petrie describes activities that your students can do so that they collaborate together rather than focusing on competing against each other. Some suggestions are simple adaptations such as challenging the class, divided into two teams, to earn a certain total number of points in a given amount of time rather than simply tallying the score for each team. Other suggestions are examples of fully collaborative activities, such as information gap activities that can only be completed with successful collaboration.

Read the article at

Shift Perspectives with Global Collaboration

Source: Texas Computer Education Association Back to Quick Links
Miguel Guhlin writes, "When you start with the standards in mind, you are stepping back to find greater significance in a lesson. One of my favorite student standards is that of Global Collaborator. In this standard, students use digital tools to broaden their perspectives. They seek to enrich their learning via collaboration with others. This means working in teams at the local and global level. The indicators for Global Collaborator include:
• Student use of digital tools to connect with learners from various backgrounds
• Using collaborative technologies to work with others and examine issues/problems
• Collaborate and contribute in a constructive way as part of a project team
• Investigate solutions to local and global issues"
Read Guhlin's full article, which includes some helpful resources for bringing global collaboration into your classroom, at

Project-Based Learning for English Learners

Source: SmartBrief Back to Quick Links


5 ways to make PBL work in ELL
Elizabeth Leone 
July 2, 2019

"When I think about my 'why' for teaching project-based learning I think of a particular student I had last year in fourth grade. I’m an ESL teacher for the Newcomer Program at Webster Elementary School in the Manchester School District, New Hampshire. The majority of our students are refugees and immigrants. I use project-based learning in my classroom because of the impact it has for EL students like this particular fourth-grade student. When he joined my class, like many of my students, he knew very little English. Fast forward a year, and his transformation was so incredible that he was selected to do a live video interview with a panel of about 100 administrators describing how PBL has helped him. You never would have guessed he’d barely spoken English a year before! He also described the impact of PBL perfectly. When talking about a project that required research, he said, 'It helped me learn to ask questions.' Another project teamed him up with a partner 'so that helped with communicating,' he said. For another project he wrote letters 'and that helped me [learn to] write information,' he said.

"'When [a teacher] tells you and just gives you worksheets to write everything down, I think that’s boring for most kids and they just want to finish it,' he said. 'But when we do projects, it’s better because you actually get to do something and get some motivation.'

"As a teacher, seeing his interview was an amazing moment because it was proof that what we are doing is working. This is the kind of confidence, courage and growth that I see in my students every day and it shows the impact of quality PBL on students -- particularly EL students."

Read the full article at

Metacognitive Strategies for Long-Term English Learners

Source: Empowering ELLs Back to Quick Links


Tan Huynh unpacks two different groups of English learners who take a long time to exit language services and suggests that teaching metacognition to students so that they are aware of their learning strategies as well as the actual content that they are learning can help them be more independent. He writes, "Students do not become Long-Term English learners by choice. They are just not aware that there are strategies to choose from to improve their learning experiences. When they develop this awareness, their language won’t plateau but will grow towards the sky and beyond."

Read his article at

Gamification Tools for the Classroom

Source: TESOL Blog Back to Quick Links


Jeff Kuhn continues his three-part series about gamifying the classroom with a discussion of different digital and analog tools for gamification as well as a discussion of whether gamification is inherently a good thing. He writes, "the increased student motivation gained through gamification can be short lived once students realize levels and badges are grades and points by another name."

Read this post at

Read the first post of the series at, and the second post at

Professional Development

Call for Chapters: Language Center Handbook

Source: IALLT Back to Quick Links

The International Association for Language Learning Technology (IALLT) is soliciting proposals for a new book tentatively titles "Language Center Handbook 2021." This volume, with chapters double-blind peer-reviewed by an editorial board, is a follow-up to the Language Center Handbook published in 2018. Its chapters will address current best practices in managing and developing a language center, language center design and redesign, and other areas related to language centers. Editors are Betsy Lavolette and Angelika Kraemer.

The proposal submission deadline is September 20, 2019. 

View the full call for chapters at

CLTA World Language Jamborees

Source: CLTA Back to Quick Links


The California Language Teachers' Association is putting on seven Jamborees across California this year. Upcoming Jamborees include an October 12 event in Sacramento and an October 26 event in Ventura/Santa Barbara. Visit their World Language Jamboree webpage for details about these and others that are yet to be scheduled:

NYS TESOL 49th Annual Conference

Source: NYS TESOL Back to Quick Links


NYS TESOL 49th Annual Conference
Strategies for Success: Supporting English/Multi-Language Learners in All Learning Environments
November 14-16, 2019
White Plains, New York

Early bird registration is open now until September 1, 2019.

To learn more and to register, go to

Call for Papers: Intercultural Education from Pre-School to Secondary Education

Source: Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research Back to Quick Links


Call for Papers: Intercultural education from Pre-School to Secondary education: new approaches and practices

This special issue expects research and experiences from different voices and contexts that take into account not only the prevailing monocultural perspective but also diverse worldviews than can support cultural understanding about the symbolic systems articulated both in schools and societies. Therefore, this issue has as its purpose to generate new knowledge and to inform about recent advances that can guide educational processes in cultural diversity contexts. To do this, the editors call for diverse approaches and methodologies to present studies, experiences, and good practices in intercultural education that rely on robust empirical evidence and offer a more comprehensive view of education from early childhood to secondary education.

This special call seeks papers based on empirical research where studies must be described in sufficient detail to be potentially replicable using quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods.

Deadline for acceptance and delivery of authors´ proposals: July 30, 2019

View the full call for papers at

Call for Papers: Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition ‒ North America 9

Source: LINGUIST List Back to Quick Links


The 9th bi-annual conference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition ‒ North America (GALANA 9) will take place at the University of Iceland, Reykjavík, Iceland on August 21-23, 2020. Although this is the first time that GALANA is hosted outside North America, it will still take place on the North American tectonic plate, where the University of Iceland campus is located. 

The GALANA conference features theoretically informed research on all types of language acquisition scenarios, including (but not limited to) monolingual first language acquisition, bilingual/multilingual first language acquisition, second language acquisition by children as well as adults, third language acquisition, acquisition of signed as well as spoken languages, language disorders, language acquisition in the presence of cognitive impairment and autism, the development of pidgins and creoles, and language attrition. 

The deadline for call of papers is January 15, 2020. Further information about invited speakers, the conference venue, website, etc. will be available in the fall. 

View the full call for papers at

Second Language Research Forum

Source: SLRF Back to Quick Links


The Second Language Research Forum (SLRF) 2019 will be hosted by Michigan State University’s Second Language Studies program in East Lansing, Michigan from September 19-22.

The goal of SLRF 2019 is to foster dialogue among disciplines within Second Language Acquisition (SLA). Since SLA is a relatively young field of scientific inquiry, the SLRF 2019 theme, Advancing Transdisciplinary Research, places specific emphasis on diversity and bringing together different disciplines, methodologies, and epistemologies.

For full details about this event, go to


Book: Growing Language and Literacy

Source: Heinemann Back to Quick Links
Growing Language and Literacy: Strategies for English Learners
By Andrea Honigsfeld
Published by Heinemann
With K-8 teachers in mind, Andrea Honigsfeld offers this user-friendly, accessible resource to address the diverse language and literacy proficiencies that exist in so many U.S. classrooms today. Andrea unpacks the five levels of language acquisition, based on the TESOL framework, and introduces practical strategies that can be applied across grade levels and content areas to support EL students’ academic language and literacy development.
With an emphasis on culturally and linguistically sustaining pedagogy, peer interaction, and scaffolding, Andrea offers instructional practices organized into five predictable strands at each level of language acquisition:
• Visual supports
• Learning by doing
• Oral language production
• Reading supports
• Writing supports
Filled with student vignettes, teacher and student work samples, and authentic classroom examples, Growing Language and Literacy serves as a teacher’s guide to moving their English learners from one stage of language acquisition to the next.
Visit the publisher's website at

Book: The Evolving Curriculum in Interpreter and Translator Education

Source: John Benjamins Publishing Company Back to Quick Links


The Evolving Curriculum in Interpreter and Translator Education: Stakeholder perspectives and voices
Edited by David B. Sawyer, Frank Austermühl, and Vanessa Enríquez Raído 
Published by John Benjamins Publishing Company

The Evolving Curriculum in Interpreter and Translator Education: Stakeholder perspectives and voices examines forces driving curriculum design, implementation and reform in academic programs that prepare interpreters and translators for employment in the public and private sectors. The evolution of the translating and interpreting professions and changes in teaching practices in higher education have led to fundamental shifts in how translating and interpreting knowledge, skills and abilities are acquired in academic settings. Changing conceptualizations of curricula, processes of innovation and reform, technology, refinement of teaching methodologies specific to translating and interpreting, and the emergence of collaborative institutional networks are examples of developments shaping curricula. Written by noted stakeholders from both employer organizations and academic programs in many regions of the world, the timely and useful contributions in this comprehensive, international volume describe the impact of such forces on the conceptual foundations and frameworks of interpreter and translator education.

Visit the publisher's website at

Book: The Neurocognition of Translation and Interpreting

Source: John Benjamins Publishing Company Back to Quick Links


The Neurocognition of Translation and Interpreting
By Adolfo M. García
Published by John Benjamins Publishing Company

This groundbreaking work offers a comprehensive account of brain-based research on translation and interpreting. First, the volume introduces the methodological and conceptual pillars of psychobiological approaches vis-à-vis those of other cognitive frameworks. Next, it systematizes neuropsychological, neuroscientific, and behavioral evidence on key topics, including the lateralization of networks subserving cross-linguistic processes; their relation with other linguistic mechanisms; the functional organization and temporal dynamics of the circuits engaged by different translation directions, processing levels, and source-language units; the system’s susceptibility to training-induced plasticity; and the outward correlates of its main operations. Lastly, the book discusses the field’s accomplishments, strengths, weaknesses, and requirements. Its authoritative yet picturesque, didactic style renders it accessible to researchers in cognitive translatology, bilingualism, and neurolinguistics, as well as teachers and practitioners in related areas. Succinctly, this piece establishes a much-needed platform for translation and interpreting studies to fruitfully interact with cognitive neuroscience.

Visit the publisher's website at

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