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: Using Peer Review Effectively

by Julie Sykes, CASLS Director

Peer review has great potential to improve student writing, when used effectively as a reflection and analysis tool. This week we present five basic tips for implementing peer review effectively in your second or heritage language classroom.

1. Avoid an isolated focus on structure.

A common pitfall of the peer review process is an explicit focus on structure and vocabulary. With learners at similar levels, this can lead to the correction of sentences that are already correct or a misuse of words. To avoid this scenario, ask learners to avoid ignore grammar or vocabulary errors they see and, instead, place their reflective attention on organization, style, and audience, all elements they are ready to critique.

2. Provide a template for learners to use when reflecting on their peer's writing.

Utilizing a template to guide the review process does two things – (1) it places emphasis on the areas that are most important to a high-quality final product and (2) moves learners away from the common tendency to focus only on grammar. The template can then be used to reflect on learners' own writing as well.

3. Give weight to the peer review process by evaluating learners on how well they review their peer's work.

Teachers often comment they have removed the peer review process because learners do not take it seriously. Grades, points, or other evaluative mechanisms can be used to place emphasis on peer review as a critical component of the writing process.

4. Have learners apply what they learned in the peer review process to their own writing.

After learners have used the template to reflect on their peer's writing, have them also apply the template to their own product. This evaluation helps learners see additional places they can improve their own writing.

5. Pair learners in an intentional way to ensure the most effective review process possible.

Grouping learners with similar skill sets as well as distributed knowledge can be an effective way of using peer review. Similar skills allow reflection at learners' own level. Distributed skills are most useful in groups of three, where the combination of skills results in a comprehensive review.

Activity of the Week

  • Peer Review Template – A Brochure

    A sample peer review template for a brochure.

    Objective: To reflect on a peer's brochure using a guided template.

    Resources: Peer Review Template


    1. Have learners reflect on one or two peer's final brochures using the template.
    2. Reflect: Ask learners return to their own writing and revise based on their peer's comments as well as self-reflection on their own writing based on the template.

CASLS Spotlight: Meet Chinese Flagship Student Edan Qian by Deborah Cooke, Instructional Designer

The University of Oregon Chinese Flagship Program provides a sequence of language learning instruction designed to help students develop Superior-level proficiency. The Flagship Program emphasizes real-world linguistic and cultural skills so that graduates are prepared to use their Chinese language and culture skills in a professional environment.

The emphasis on professional-level Chinese attracted Edan Qian to the program. He graduated in summer 2014 as a Chinese Flagship Scholar with a double major in Chinese and human physiology. Edan found the Flagship Program to be challenging, but in time, his language proficiency grew and he found learning neurobiology in Chinese was no problem.

Edan's most fulfilling time in the program was going abroad to Nanjing University for a term and then interning in a Chinese skateboarding company for a term. "This was another offer from the Chinese Flagship program I could not pass up, for it turned out to be one of the most fulfilling years of my college experience," he says.

Edan urges other students to take advantage of the experience abroad by immersing themselves with Chinese locals in the community. "Find a hobby and then locate someone in the city who you can share the same interest with so that you can both perfect language skills and develop lifelong friendships," he recommends.

Upon graduation, Edan will be traveling to Tibet and East Turkistan with three friends he met while studying abroad. After his travels, he hopes to work in Shanghai with the skateboard company that he interned with during his time abroad in the Flagship Program. Eventually, Edan would love to open a sports rehabilitiation clinic that incorporates traditional Chinese medicine with Western medicine, helping athletes in the action sports industry.

The Oregon Chinese Flagship Program is funded by The Language Flagship through the National Security Education Program.

Language Corner

Big-City Districts Delve Into Common-Core Teaching for English-Learners

Source: Education Week
Language: ESL/Bilingual Back to Quick Links


Big-City Districts Delve Into Common-Core Teaching for English-Learners
By Lesli A. Maxwell
September 11, 2014

The common-core standards are dramatically reshaping teaching and learning, but some of the biggest changes are arguably happening for English-language learners and their teachers.

That's because English-learners, no matter their level of proficiency, are expected to engage with demanding content and demonstrate more sophisticated skills with language even when their English is still developing. Those higher expectations, ELL experts say, mean every educator working with English-learners must take responsibility for developing their language.

Most advocates, educators, and researchers agree the shift to the common-core standards is a huge opportunity for ELLs—who represent the fastest growing subgroup of students in K-12—that schools can't afford to squander. …

… For those reasons and others, representatives from some of the country's biggest school systems—which together educate more than 25 percent of ELLs—came together to craft a guide meant to help teachers weave language learning at all proficiency levels with their instruction of rigorous English/language arts standards.

Read the full article at

Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa

Source: ASMEA
Language: Arabic, Middle Eastern Back to Quick Links


The Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa is an academic society dedicated to promoting the highest standards of research and teaching in Middle Eastern and African studies, and related fields. It is a response to the mounting interest in these increasingly inter-related fields, and the absence of any single group addressing them in a comprehensive, multidisciplinary fashion.

ASMEA is, first and foremost, a community of scholars concerned with protecting academic freedom and promoting the search for truth. The Association advances the discourse in these fields by providing its members with new opportunities to publish and present ideas to the academic community and beyond.

ASMEA assists scholars, including tenured and un-tenured faculty, graduate students, and those in related fields, to expand the body of knowledge. Through its annual conference, peer-reviewed journal, newsletter, and website, ASMEA strives to become the professional association of choice for discerning scholars and interested members of the public.

Learn about the upcoming conference (October 30-November 1) at
Learn more about becoming a member at
The ASMEA website’s home page is available at

Information about Turkic Languages

Source: AATT
Language: Central Asian, Middle Eastern, Other European Back to Quick Links

Here is a collection of articles about Azeri / Azerbaijani, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tatar, Turkish, Turkmen, Uyghur, and Uzbek: Click on the language of interest in the box on the right of the page. Most articles include links to more resources.

Colorado Chinese Language Teachers Consortium

Source: CCLTC
Language: Chinese Back to Quick Links


The Colorado Chinese Language Teachers Consortium (CCLTC) is devoted to advancing quality education in Chinese language and culture at all levels in the state of Colorado. CCLTC is a non-political, non-profit, educational, and professional organization that represents the interests of a wide range of students, teachers, and community members, including individuals from all cultural and linguistic backgrounds who are interested in promoting the study of Chinese language and culture in Colorado. CCLTC supports and encourages the advancement of scholarship and professional development of its members. It serves as a forum for Chinese language educators in Colorado to communicate, network, share resources, and disseminate information. CCLTC is also committed to sponsoring statewide workshops and activities for students at all levels.

Visit the CCLTC website to access numerous resources for Chinese language teachers and to become a member:

Diné Bizaad App for Apple Devices

Source: ILAT
Language: Indigenous Back to Quick Links

The Diné Bizaad App for iPhone®, iPad® & iPod touch® by Native Innovation, Inc. is here!! The Navajo Dictionary app properly named Diné Bizaad app has been published to the iTunes store this weekend. This language learning tool contains data that is loaded through a form of open source. This is done by a facilitation group of Diné language enthusiasts contributing from anywhere around the world. In fact, this goal of community based sharing helped develop the move from a desktop browser to a mobile app design. The concept of crowdsourcing common Diné words and phrases allows us to input the regional variations of pronunciations and vocabularies spoken by our Diné people.

The Diné Bizaad app has two parts, a Diné-English vocabulary and a English-Diné vocabulary. The English words and phrases are all associated to Diné words and phrases. The synonyms element and antonyms element are important principal parts in searching correct Diné word and phrase associations within the app. Access full article:

Download yours from

Winters, K. [ilat] Diné Bizaad App for iPhone®, iPad® & iPod touch® by Native Innovation, Inc. ILAT listserv (, 13 Sep 2014).

Intermediate French Unit on Cultural Stereotypes

Source: Madam's Musings
Language: French Back to Quick Links


On her blog, a National Board Certified French teacher has shared a unit she developed on the theme of French/American stereotypes for my combined French 4/5 class. Read about and access support materials here:

Resources for Hispanic Heritage Month

Source: Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day
Language: Spanish Back to Quick Links

Hispanic Heritage Month begins today, September 15. Here are Larry Ferlazzo’s “Best Resources for Hispanic Heritage Month”:

5 Ways the Internet Has Transformed Language Education

Source: The French Corner
Language: ANY Back to Quick Links

How can you enhance your students’ language learning experience using the Internet? Get some new ideas in this blog post:

ADFL Releases Guidelines on Hybrid and Online Language Courses

Source: ADFL
Language: ANY Back to Quick Links


The Association of Departments of Foreign Languages has release a new set of guidelines: Suggested Best Practices and Resources for the Implementation of Hybrid and Online Language Courses. Here is the introduction:

“Many language departments across the country teach hybrid and online courses. The decision to implement such courses should be one that is fully supported by the language department concerned. The addition of hybrid or online language courses does not save time or money and is not a cost-saving measure. Rather, adding hybrid or online language courses requires the use of more resources than the traditional course and requires additional funding and time on the part of all involved. The process must include input from all stakeholders (e.g., administrators, technical support, instructors, students), and administrators must make a long-term commitment to providing the resources to sustain such courses.”

Access the full guidelines at

Professional Development

Two New MOOC’s from Stanford University’s Understanding Language Series

Source: Stanford University Graduate School of Education
Content Area: Assessment, Curriculum Design, Differentiated Instruction, Heritage, Learners with Disabilities, Learning Materials & Resources, Learning Science, Methods, Online Learning, Specific Purpose, Standards Back to Quick Links


Stanford University is excited to be launching two massive open online courses (MOOCs) on October 1, both designed to help teachers support students' language use and content learning within the context of the new standards.

Supporting English Language Learners under New Standards is a collaboration between Understanding Language, Oregon State University, and the Oregon Department of Education. This eight-week course will focus on a key practice within both the Common Core State Standards and new English Language Proficiency Standards: argumentation.

Register at

Building on the success of the Constructive Classroom Conversations MOOCs last year, they are offering two updated versions of Constructive Classroom Conversations: Mastering Language for College and Career Readiness (one for elementary and one for secondary teachers) starting on October 1.
In this four-session course (spanning 14 weeks), educators will work individually and within teams to collect samples of student conversations, analyze language samples using the Conversation Analysis Tool (CAT), and plan instruction to foster students’ conversation skills. Participants will join a growing online community to discuss, implement, and reflect on constructive student-to-student conversations as powerful ways to develop language, thinking, and understanding.

Register for the elementary CCC course at
Register for the secondary CCC course at

Small Grants for Doctoral Research in Second or Foreign Language Assessment

Source: TOEFL
Content Area: Assessment, Learning Science Back to Quick Links


The TOEFL program at ETS is now accepting applications for the TOEFL Small Grants for Doctoral Research in Second or Foreign Language Assessment. The grant’s purpose is to make available small cash awards to promising doctoral students working in the area of foreign or second language assessment that will help them finish their dissertations in a timely manner. The deadline for applications is October 15. Applications received after that time will not be considered until the next application cycle.

For full details about the grant go to

Spaan Research Grants

Source: LTEST-L
Content Area: Assessment, Learning Science Back to Quick Links

From the LTEST-L listserv:

CaMLA—also known as Cambridge Michigan Language Assessments—is now accepting applications for the 2015 Spaan Research Grant Program. Spaan Research Grants provide financial support for those wishing to carry out research projects related to second or foreign language assessment. Project reports are published as CaMLA Working Papers (

CaMLA is offering research funding for up to three projects investigating an aspect of CaMLA’s tests; each project will receive up to $3,000. Proposals are invited from graduate students, faculty, and other language assessment professionals. Visit the Spaan Research Grants section of our website ( for more information about the application process.

CaMLA Research. [LTEST-L] Spaan Research Grants. LTEST-L listserv (LTEST-L@LISTS.PSU.EDU, 5 Sep 2014).

Call for Presenters: Ohio Foreign Language Association Annual Conference

Source: OFLA
Content Area: ANY Back to Quick Links


The 2015 OFLA Annual Conference will take place April 16-18, 2015, at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky.

Presenters can submit a proposal at

Proposals are due October 17, 2014.

Call for Session Proposal: Foreign Language Educators of New Jersey Spring Conference

Source: FLENJ
Content Area: ANY Back to Quick Links


The Foreign Language Educators of New Jersey Spring Conference will take place February 27-28, 2015, at the Hyatt Regency New Brunswick.

FLENJ is seeking proposals for workshops. With approximately 500 world language specialists in attendance, this conference offers presenters a wonderful opportunity to share ideas with educators from around the state.

Proposals are due by September 30, 2014.
Submit proposals at
For new about the conference, keep visiting

Call for Presentations and Workshops: Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium

Source: CALICO
Content Area: ANY Back to Quick Links


CALICO Conference 2015
May 26 - 30
Hosted by the University of Colorado, Boulder
Places and Spaces: Redefining Language Learning

For instructions on submitting a presentation or workshop proposal go to

3rd Annual Pacific Northwest Dual Language Institute

Source: ATDLE
Content Area: ANY Back to Quick Links

3rd Annual Pacific Northwest Dual Language Institute
September 20, 2014
Portland, Oregon

In this era of Common Core implementation, it is important to work with TWBI/Dual Language experts to support powerful instruction in both languages. ATDLE has brought you experts in the field and we know that you will have a great day working with them.

See the event schedule and register at;jsessionid=DA42CF5FE548023229A1763896A173E2.worker_registrant?llr=khlmnheab&oeidk=a07e9pkr03wcf4b0156

A Message for Ohio Teachers from the OFLA President

Source: OFLA
Content Area: ANY Back to Quick Links

Here is a message from Ohio Foreign Language Association president Richard EMCH, originally posted on the OFLA listserv:

A new school year often brings new challenges to the evolving landscape of Foreign Language teaching and learning. As we navigate some uncertain waters, I have found that a professional association, such as OFLA, can be a beacon of guidance on the horizon. Members helping and encouraging members to focus on the students through teaching for proficiency will strengthen Ohio's position as one of the national leaders in language acquisition. Be an advocate for yourself and for your language program and start by joining your professional associations. In addition, I encourage you to make the most of your professional association by joining and keeping your membership active in order to take advantage of the many professional development and networking opportunities. Moreover, the standing committees could always use more enthusiastic and energetic members. My own experience on an OFLA standing committee has proved to be an excellent opportunity to develop a network of supportive colleagues and provided many opportunities for professional development while allowing me to contribute to the field. If you are interested in joining a committee, please email the respective committee chair for further information.

Speaking of advocating and being involved, our Nominations Committee, chaired by Teri Wiechart, is seeking candidates to vet and to run for the following positions: Executive Vice-President, Treasurer, By-Laws Chair & Parliamentarian, and Public Relations & Advocacy Chair. Please email Teri Wiechart, if you know someone the Nominations Committee should consider.

Another way to remain active and engaged in your professional association is through professional development. Our Professional Development Committee has been working with the Ohio Department of Education to create and roll out user-friendly rubrics to assist you in your proficiency and performance assessments. Martha Pero Halemba, Professional Development Chair, is also working with the committee to continue to develop the high quality regional workshops that OFLA is proud to provide. OFLA members can check for professional development opportunities under "Events" at

One highlight of the OFLA Board's work that occurred over the summer is that the editor of The Cardinal, Beth Hanlon, has formed an editing team to help maintain the high standards for which our flagship publication has become known. OFLA members are always encouraged to submit articles for publication. Moreover, Cheryl Johnson, Editor for Electronic Publications, has been working to make our website more aesthetically pleasing and more intuitive to navigate. These are just a few of the many features the Ohio Foreign Language Association is pleased to provide its members.

An additional way to remain involved in your professional association and promote the study of foreign languages is by recognizing the outstanding members in our field. Martha Castañeda, the Awards Committee Chair, is currently accepting nominations for the Ohio Foreign Language’s 2015 Awards. A detailed list of the awards and selection criteria can be found at .
The deadline for submitting an award nomination is December 2, 2014.

Finally, I would like to share that The Ohio Foreign Language Association Board is busy and excited planning and implementing projects for the upcoming year and especially the 2015 Ohio Foreign Language Conference at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions. The Conference Committee is now accepting and reviewing proposals for workshops and sessions for what we hope will be another outstanding conference. Please submit proposals at .

As we begin this academic year, on behalf of the Ohio Foreign Language Association Board, I wish you the best in all of your endeavors.

Richard Emch
President of the Ohio Foreign Language Association

Emch, R. [OFLA] Ohio Foreign Language Association Message from the President. OFLA listserv (OFLA@LISTSERV.KENT.EDU, 8 Sep 2014).

Fourth Meeting of the Language and Social Interaction Working Group (LANSI)

Source: Columbia University
Content Area: Heritage, Learning Science, Methods, Policy/Issues/Advocacy Back to Quick Links


The fourth meeting of the Language and Social Interaction Working Group (LANSI) will take place October 3 at Columbia University.

Go to to see the schedule of presentations.
To register go to


Book: The Routledge Handbook of Hispanic Applied Linguistics

Source: Routledge Back to Quick Links


The Routledge Handbook of Hispanic Applied Linguistics
Edited by Manel Lacorte
Published by Routledge

This book provides a comprehensive overview of Hispanic applied linguistics, allowing students to understand the field from a variety of perspectives and offering insight into the ever-growing number of professional opportunities afforded to Spanish language program graduates. The goal of this book is to re-contextualize the notion of applied linguistics as simply the application of theoretical linguistic concepts to practical settings and to consider it as its own field that addresses language-based issues and problems in a real-world context. The book is organized into five parts: 1) perspectives on learning Spanish 2) issues and environments in Spanish teaching 3) Spanish in the professions 4) the discourses of Spanish and 5) social and political contexts for Spanish. The book’s all-inclusive coverage gives students the theoretical and sociocultural context for study in Hispanic applied linguistics while offering practical information on its application in the professional sector.

Visit the publisher’s website at

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