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: Domain-Training: Tips and Tricks from OIIP and OSP

By Renee Marshall, CASLS International Programs Specialist

The Oregon International Internship Program (OIIP) offers English Language Learners from China, Taiwan and Japan the opportunity to work in the United States at internship placements in local elementary schools in Eugene and Springfield, Oregon. The Oregon Summer Program (OSP) offers international students the opportunity to come experience place-based and community learning at the University of Oregon. We prepare ESL students of varying proficiency-levels to participate in conversations about teaching pedagogy, the U.S. school system, sustainability, health, and emergency response through focused and targeted language instruction. The following are a few tips and tricks that we have learned:

  1. Identity what language tasks students will be using most. For example, in the one-week unit on sustainability students will be expressing their opinion and supporting those opinions with evidence. During the first day of focused language instruction we target language tasks that ask students to practice giving opinions and supporting them extensively.
  2. Identity key and frequent vocabulary students will hear and use most. For example, in the one-week unit on health and emergency response students will be focusing on earthquakes and what to do after an earthquake. During the first day of targeted language instruction students hear and use ten vocabulary words related to earthquakes and emergency response that they are likely to hear and use the most during this unit.
  3. Listen to students and try to identify the language tools they need to discuss what they already know. For example, the OIIP students often can already speak about teaching pedagogy in their L1 as they are studying to be teachers in their home country. However, they often don’t have the English language skills to discuss the same topics in English. Through journals and in class discussions we try to identify the concepts students are trying to address and provide them with the language to do so. For example, many students often describe the concept of “affective filter” but do not know the word for it in English.

Activity of the Week

  • U.S. Schools: Public and Private

    Learning Objectives:  Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of the US school system, effectively express and support opinions regarding private and public schooling, and use different modes of persuasion in order to deliver a convincing argument in a debate format.

    Modes: interpretational reading, presentational speaking, interpersonal-communication

    Materials Needed: Vocabulary Sheet, Debate preparation sheet

    Description: This activity was designed to align with the topic of the week and, more specifically, the topic of the U.S. school system. Additionally, it demonstrates what an activity may look like after key and frequent vocabulary terms have been identified.  


    1. Firstly, teachers and students should go over the key terms in the vocabulary sheet.
    2. Students will then be given an overview of the US education system to ensure that everyone has at least a basic understanding of its structure. This webpage gives good, basic information that largely applies to both public and private schools :
      1. Teachers should plan to answer any questions students may have and discuss unfamiliar words.
      2. As students read, instruct them to note any additional vocabulary they feel would be helpful. Have them write this in the free space of the vocabulary sheet and provide them with definitions/explanations in the target language(Do not simply translate).
    3. Next, teachers should go over the three persuasion styles: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. If students have difficulty grasping the difference, it could be helpful to provide example sentences of each.
      1. Ethos—appeal to ethics
        1. We shouldn’t litter because it is our duty as mankind to protect the environment.
      2. Pathos—appeal to emotion
        1. We shouldn’t litter because the trash kills thousands of cute birds who try to eat it and suffocate.
      3. Logos—appeal to logic
        1. We shouldn’t litter because it costs taxpayers ____$ every year for clean-up efforts.
    4. Divide the class into two teams: Team Public Education and Team Private Education. The two teams will engage in a class debate about which of the two education types is most beneficial. The premise of the debate is that the students are representatives from schools who have been selected to counsel families about which educational path to choose for their children.
    5. Each team should meet to discuss their topic and select roles. Each student will be in charge of one specific aspect of the argument. For example, one student can research and talk about financial burden while another discusses resource distribution and a third mentions quality of teachers or sports/recreation, etc.  Combined, students as a team should aim to develop a well-rounded argument that covers the most important aspects and best supports of their side.
    6. For the research component, students should use primary sources such as news articles or scholarly journal articles. Each student should use at least two sources. Instruct students to use the debate preparation sheet in order to find information that satisfies the three different modes of persuasion: Ethos, Pathos, Logos.
    7. After enough information, has been gathered, students will then begin to craft their own argument. Students will select the most pertinent or poignant pieces of information they have found and think up possible counterarguments to their main points. Students will use this to write out a strong argument that will aid them in the debate. This written piece does not need to be overly formal and may be in more of an outline format. After all, given the nature of debates, students will most likely need to amend their argument in the moment in order to rebut or defend a previous point.  
    8. Before the actual debate, have each team meet in order to share information and select their opening and closing speakers who will give a brief overview of why their side should be selected as a whole.
    9. Each team will be given 3 minutes for the opening speaker to introduce their side. After opening speeches, teams will take turns speaking back and forth until each student has spoken at least once. Finally, the closing speaker will be given 3 minutes to present. The closing speaker should plan on adding to/changing their summary according to how the debate plays out.
    10. Finally, after the debate, the instructor should give feedback on the speakers’ language use and efficacy of argument. This would be the time to draw the classes attention to any mistake trends you may have heard or structures that were not used correctly.

    Notes: While the activity itself has students vying for one side over another, in reality, the activity is designed to illustrate the complexity of the issue and give students a well-rounded understanding of the public/private divide in the US while further developing students’ speaking skills and ability to respond in-time to the unexpected.

CASLS Spotlight: Customized LinguaFolio Online

CASLS is pleased to announce a new customized version of LinguaFolio Online. Working with the Department of Education (DOE) in Virginia, CASLS has created a customized version of the onlilne portfolio. LinguaFolio Onilne is an ePortfolio employing the NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do statements. Students upload evidence to show proficiency in each assigned Can-Do. Virginia DOE's customized version became available on August 9, 2017. CASLS will also integrate Virginia's state standards into the customized version by October 1, 2017. If your school, district, or state is interested in the possibility of a customized version of LinguaFolio Online, please contact CASLS' Associate Director, Mandy Gettler, at

Language Corner

Portfolios: A Valuable Tool for English Language Learners

Source: Edutopia Back to Quick Links


Kevin Wong writes, “Writing is one of the most challenging skills to master in school. Compound this challenge by asking a student to write in their second or third language while meeting benchmarks and grade-level standards, and it’s no wonder writing appears to be such a daunting task for many English language learners, resulting in classrooms filled with apathetic and unmotivated students.

“Portfolios are assessment tools designed to address these issues by placing students in the driver’s seat. The benefits of portfolios are well-documented in both theory and practice: (1) Students are able to select pieces of writing that showcase important milestones in their learning trajectory; (2) students take ownership of their learning through consistent goal-setting, reflection, and other metacognitive processes; and (3) students develop self-regulation skills that empower them with agency. But can portfolios be tailored to the specific learning and linguistic needs of our English language learners?”

Read the full article at

Defining Quality Interpersonal Communication

Source: Language Sensei Back to Quick Links


Coleen Lee-Hayes frequently asks her advanced students what makes quality interpersonal communication. She has developed an acronym for the elements she has found to be key: IIS for Informative, Inquiring, and Supportive.

Read the full blog post at

NEH Pledges $2.1 Million to Revitalize Endangered Native American Languages

Source: National Endowment for the Humanities Back to Quick Links


The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced a three-year partnership with First Nations Development Institute to foster the revitalization of Native American languages through language-immersion education programs within tribal communities.

Two million one hundred thousand dollars in funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities will be matched dollar for dollar by First Nations Development Institute to support curriculum development, technology access, and recruitment and training of teachers for twelve immersive Native-language programs a year. Language programs will be designed with input from an advisory committee of Native-language immersion practitioners and members of Native communities to incorporate Native cultural content and culturally appropriate ways of teaching and learning.

Read the full article at

Youth and Social Networks in Germany

Source: Back to Quick Links

Here is an English-language article about social networks and their use among young people in Germany:


DEFA Film Festival Streamed Free

Source: Goethe-Institut Back to Quick Links


This summer, the Goethe-Institut brings you a month of films made in the former GDR between the 1970s and the early 1990s.
The films in this online program deal with the longings of a generation that seeks fulfilment beyond the norms and conformist expectations of socialist society. Rather than recusing themselves from political protest on screen, the directors retreat into the private sphere to articulate an alternative—emancipated—understanding of the self in East German society, as a less overt means of resistance. Interestingly, these were state-produced films that enjoyed great popularity both at home and abroad, indicating that in the face of censorship film makers in the former GDR retained a certain degree of artistic freedom.

All films are in German with English subtitles and will be available for free streaming throughout the month of August. For full details, including login and password for streaming, go to

The Future of French in the EU and Beyond

Source: Language Magazine Back to Quick Links


The Future of French in the EU and Beyond
by Kathy Stein-Smith
August 7, 2017

Languages spread, grow, and increase in influence due to a variety of political, economic, and cultural factors, and the present and future role of French in Europe can be best understood if examined in the context of its status in the world.

A global language, French is widely spoken around the world, with 274 million native speakers, and is the fifth-most-widely spoken language in the world. It is considered one of the most useful languages in international business and is one of the official languages of the United Nations and many other international organizations, including the Olympic Games.

Read the full article at

Eclipse Activities for French Classes

Source: Madame's Musings Back to Quick Links


Here’s what one National Board certified French teacher is doing in her French 2, 3, and 4/5 classes before the upcoming Great American Eclipse:

Literacy Centers for Multilingual Students

Source: TeachingChannel Back to Quick Links

Here is a 13-minute video explaining how to use literacy centers for multilingual students:


Authentic Resources or Learner Material? Yes!

Source: Musicuentos Back to Quick Links


Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell has written a wonderful blog post about what is sometimes framed as a debate: authentic resources (by native speakers for native speakers) vs. learner-directed materials (often adapted to the proficiency level of learners). Instead, she advocates for a middle ground in which both are used in language classrooms. 

Read her nuanced blog post at

Translating and Interpreting as a Career

Source: Lead with Languages Back to Quick Links

Educate your students about possible careers that their language proficiency can open up for them. Here’s information about translators and interpreters:

Here is more information about this career from Language Magazine:

Hooking Students on Reading

Source: My Generation of Polyglots Back to Quick Links


Mike Peto writes humorously about “the game” that students who hate reading play with teachers who seek to hold them accountable for reading assignments: “A student who has learned to play the game in all of their other classes has been trained to approach reading as a task to undermine. Teachers respond by finding ways to ensure reading compliance such as quizzes, reading guides, writing assignments and random (humiliating) in-class comprehension questions. Our students are immersed in a punitive reading culture that rouses their counterwill; is it any wonder that they huddle before class discussing the reading with the one kid who actually did it, that they send text messages to students in other sections about ‘surprise quizzes,’ that they copy answers to reading guides in the hallways during morning break and that they despise the astute teachers who manage to ‘play the game well’?”

Read his full blog post about free voluntary reading, how he facilitates it, why, and the impact of this approach on students’ attitudes toward reading:

Great American Eclipse Resources

Source: Various Back to Quick Links

Our main CASLS office will experience 99% coverage of the sun on the August 21 solar eclipse. For those who would like to capitalize on this event to talk about it in their language classes, here are some resources:

The National Science Teachers Association has a collection of resources at

Richard Byrne has links to three videos about solar eclipses at

Larry Ferlazzo is curating a collection of links to online resources at

Beginning of School Ideas

Source: Various Back to Quick Links

Many of us are starting a new school year this month. Here are some ideas for the first days of school:

From the mELTing Teacher website, four different fun activities you can use to start the school year:

From Larry Ferlazzo, a list of “The Best Resources for Planning the First Days of School” at and answer to “What do you do on the first day of school?”:

Read how middle and high school teacher Maris Hawkins plans to start her Spanish classes on the first day at

Read how Annabelle Allen will start her Pre-K through high school classes consistent with the CI and OWL techniques:

If you are thinking about using interactive notebooks, see how Elisabeth Alvarado preps hers at the beginning of the school year:

Try having your students write 6-word memoirs on their first day of school, as described by Maria Bartz here:

Using Quick, Draw! in Language Class

Source: La Clase de la Señora Dentlinger Back to Quick Links


Quick, Draw! is on online site where a neural network tries to guess something that you are doodling in 20 seconds or less. In this blog post, Elizabeth Dentlinger suggests ways that you can use the tool in communicative ways in your language class:

As California Bilingual Education Grows, Teacher Training Is Key

Source: KQED Back to Quick Links


As California Bilingual Education Grows, Teacher Training Is Key
by Adolfo Guzman-Lopez
August 9, 2017

More often than not, many educators say, bilingual education teachers’ grasp of academic language in their second language trails that of their academic language in English. Experts in bilingual education say improving those skills will be essential as school districts open new programs after California voters lifted restrictions on dual-language programs last year.

Read the full article at

Leadership and Advocacy

Source: path to proficiency Back to Quick Links


Jaime Basham writes eloquently about moving from reluctant leadership to embracing leadership roles in this recent blog post:

Maris Hawkins writes about her goal to become more of a language advocate in this post:

Read both and get inspired to change the world as you start the new school year.

Professional Development

Call for Papers: Current Approaches to Spanish and Portuguese Second Language Phonology

Source: Indiana University Back to Quick Links


10th anniversary of Current Approaches to Spanish and Portuguese Second Language Phonology (CASPSLaP)
Indiana University, Bloomington
February 23-24, 2018

Submit an abstract at

Abstract submissions are due by October 1, 2017.

Tenth Annual Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa Conference

Source: ASMEA Back to Quick Links
Tenth Annual ASMEA Conference
October 19-21, 2017
Washington, DC
The 2017 Conference will feature:
• KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Mr. Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations.
• Banquet luncheon and professional networking reception.
• Film screenings.
• Publishers' displays of the latest academic titles.

2017 Iowa World Language Association Conference

Source: IWLA Back to Quick Links


2017 Iowa World Language Association Conference
October 13-14
Des Moines 

Visit the conference website for full details:

2017 Annual Convention and World Languages Expo

Source: ACTFL Back to Quick Links

The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages will hold its Annual Convention and World Languages Expo November 17-19 in Nashville, Tennessee. Come participate in the world’s most comprehensive language education meeting of the minds featuring more than 800 educational sessions in a variety of formats that focus on innovative programs, emerging trends that impact the language profession, and research-informed practices. 

Visit the convention website at

Language Educator Bookclub Reads Social LEADia

Source: University of Colorado Boulder Back to Quick Links

The University of Colorado Boulder facilitates an online bookclub for language educators. The book for August and September is Social LEADia by Jennifer Casa-Todd. Reading will begin on August 16. Learn more at

Webinar: Building Bridges to Success

Source: Education Week Back to Quick Links

New research from the Center for Promise, the research arm of America’s Promise Alliance, finds that schools and educators who want to boost the prospects for English-language learners should take stock of what is happening in their lives both inside and outside the classroom. Drawing on student data and interviews with English-learners, the researchers explored why the students may struggle to achieve English proficiency and identified steps that educators can take to knock down barriers ELLs encounter on the road to earning a diploma. Join us for a conversation with researchers and educators to explore how to build bridges, not barriers, to success for English-learners.

Register for this on-demand, one-hour webinar at

Online Course: Short Film in Language Teaching

Source: Future Learn Back to Quick Links


Use short film in foreign language teaching and learning.
Three-week online course beginning September 18, 2017

Teachers and learners of a new language face exciting challenges in engaging with speaking, listening, reading and writing in, and getting to grips with a different culture.

Research has shown that film, especially short film, has much to offer language learners and teachers, helping them to develop awareness and understanding in engaging and inspiring ways.

This online course will share effective strategies for working short film into language teaching and learning, developing confidence and ability in both teachers and learners of a new language.

Learn more at

AATG Indiana Immersion Day

Source: AATG Indiana Back to Quick Links

This year the Indiana Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German will host their annual immersion day on September 9th in Terre Haute, Indiana. AATG members from all states are invited to join us for this fantastic opportunity at the member rate. The day will focus on refugees. For full details go to

Call for Papers: 24th Annual International Association of Intercultural Communication Studies Conference

Source: DePaul University Back to Quick Links
The 24th Annual International Association of Intercultural Communication Studies Conference will be held on the campus of DePaul University in Chicago, July 5-8, 2018. The theme is “Communication and Dialogue: Integrating Global Communities.” IAICS is soliciting submissions that reflect diverse theoretical perspectives and empirical research in both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Topics are broadly defined, but not limited to the following areas:
• Studies on globalization
• Culture and community building
• Cosmopolitanism in culture
• Language and culture
• Discourse analysis and global implications
• Nonverbal communication in intercultural contexts
• Cultural identity
• International conflict
• Comparative literature and poetics
• Cultural hybridity
• Language teaching in intercultural communication
• Media and film studies across cultures
• Journalism and globalization
• Global communication and technology
• Public relations and advertising in global contexts
• Intercultural communication competency
• Intercultural and public policy
• Cultural studies
• Environmental studies
• Rhetorical studies
• Translation studies
Submission Deadline: November 1, 2017.       


Book: The English for Academic Purposes Practitioner

Source: Springer Back to Quick Links


The English for Academic Purposes Practitioner: Operating on the Edge of Academia
By Alex Ding and Ian Bruce
Published by Springer

This book contextualizes the field of English for Academic Purposes (EAP), with a particular focus on the professional and academic identity and role of the EAP practitioner. The authors examine previously neglected areas such as the socio-economic, academic and employment contexts within which EAP practitioners function. In doing so, they develop a better understanding of the roles, expectations and constraints that arise from these contexts, which in turn shape professional practice and the identity of the practitioner. As EAP is emerging as an academic discipline with a growing body of published research, this book will appeal to trainee and established practitioners, along with researchers and students of linguistics and education.

Visit the publisher’s website at

Book: Growing Old with Two Languages

Source: John Benjamins Publishing Company Back to Quick Links


Growing Old with Two Languages: Effects of Bilingualism on Cognitive Aging
Edited by Ellen Bialystok and Margot D. Sullivan 
Published by the John Benjamins Publishing Company

This collection brings together two areas of research that are currently receiving great attention in both scientific and public spheres: cognitive aging and bilingualism. With ongoing media focus on the aging population and the need for activities to forestall cognitive decline, experiences that appear effective in maintaining functioning are of great interest. One such experience is lifelong bilingualism. Moreover, research into the cognitive effects of bilingualism has increased dramatically in the past decade, making it an exciting area of study. This volume combines these issues and presents the most recent research and thinking into the effects of bilingualism on cognitive decline in aging. The contributors are all leading scholars in their field. The result is a state-of-the art collection on the effect of bilingualism on cognition in older populations for both healthy aging and aging with dementia. The papers will be of interest to researchers, students, and health professionals.

Visit the publisher’s website at

Book: Quantitative Methods for Second Language Research

Source: Routledge Back to Quick Links


Quantitative Methods for Second Language Research: A Problem-Solving Approach
By Carsten Roever and Aek Phakiti
Published by Routledge Taylor & Francis Group

Quantitative Methods for Second Language Research introduces approaches to and techniques for quantitative data analysis in second language research, with a primary focus on second language learning and assessment research. It takes a conceptual, problem-solving approach by emphasizing the understanding of statistical theory and its application to research problems while paying less attention to the mathematical side of statistical analysis. The text discusses a range of common statistical analysis techniques, presented and illustrated through applications of the IBM Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) program. These include tools for descriptive analysis (e.g., means and percentages) as well as inferential analysis (e.g., correlational analysis, t-tests, and analysis of variance [ANOVA]). The text provides conceptual explanations of quantitative methods through the use of examples, cases, and published studies in the field. In addition, a companion website to the book hosts slides, review exercises, and answer keys for each chapter as well as SPSS files. Practical and lucid, this book is the ideal resource for data analysis for graduate students and researchers in applied linguistics.

Visit the publisher’s website at

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