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: Advanced Language Learning in The Language Flagship

Dr. Sam Eisen is the director of The Language Flagship. Previously, Dr. Eisen served as the Director of the Advanced Training and Research Group in International and Foreign Language Education at the U.S. Department of Education, where he provided oversight for Title VI and Fulbright Hays programming designed to develop and maintain national capacity in foreign language and international and area studies.

The David L. Boren National Security Education Act, as amended, which created the National Flagship Language Initiative, is unique in specifying advanced language proficiency outcomes in U.S. higher education for students of all majors, and also unique in requiring testing to assess proficiency gains.  However, when the legislation for Flagship was written there was no roadmap for how to produce these results consistently in U.S. higher education.  Today The Language Flagship trains undergraduates in a wide variety of majors at 22 institutions of higher education to advanced and superior language proficiency levels in 10 critical languages (Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Swahili, Turkish and Urdu).  In order to qualify for the Overseas Capstone year, Flagship students must demonstrate ILR 2 proficiency in Speaking and at least one other modality (Reading, Listening or Writing).  This year approximately 150 Flagship undergraduates qualified at the advanced proficiency levels required for participation in the Overseas Capstone program with the goal of achieving ILR 3 proficiency across modalities.1

The practices that promote advanced proficiency levels are not surprising, but there must be concerted effort to employ the practices consistently.  First and foremost is the expectation of success.  Students must understand that they can achieve working proficiency if they work hard.  Contact hours and maximum exposure to the language are crucial.  Class time must be used efficiently in a learner-centered environment, rich with authentic materials and infused with the goal of eliciting student speech at the sentence and then paragraph level. Intensive language and cultural immersion abroad articulated with the domestic program is an effective component.  Flagship students working from intermediate to advanced levels participate in at least an eight week intensive summer language immersion in approved overseas programs with a language pledge.  On the domestic campus content courses (sheltered, hybrid, or direct instruction in the language) help students to master vocabulary, comprehension, and idiomatic style in humanities, social science or science disciplines.  Connecting advanced proficiency to disciplines and professions outside of the traditional language and literature major helps to increase motivation for a wider variety of students, and also showcases their accomplishments across the institution.  Finally, implementing consistent language proficiency assessment practices is crucial for evaluating student progress and for analyzing areas for program improvement.  Flagship is a dynamic experiment that constantly uses assessment results and peer review to feed back into improving pedagogy, materials and curriculum design.

1For more information about the Interagency Language Roundtable Language Skill Levels, see this page:

Activity of the Week

  • Reading across Genres

    This activity targets literacy skills of advanced learners and is designed to prepare learners to read a wide variety of genres targeted at their domain-specific interests. For example, a student could examine global health issues, sports marketing, or design. 

    Mode(s): Interpretive Reading, Presentational Writing


    Students will be able to:

    • Select readings about their topic in three different genres.
    • Make comparisons about the content and language of different types of reading materials
    • Write a reflective piece about their selected topic in which they incorporate information about what they have read.

    Resources: Advanced Reading Resource Sheet


    1. As a class, review readings around a common topic to explore key components of different types of reading materials. Ask learners to identify key features, audience, and language structures.
    2. Ask students to explore reading sources in the target language and select three reading passages that represent three different genres about the same topic.
    3. Have students read the passages and compare the information, language, and purpose of the three reading by completing the table on the resource sheet.
    4. Ask learners to write a reflective blog entry in which they synthesize what they have read and offer three new insights into the topic.

    As an extension activity, learners could also be asked to read one another’s blog and discuss the relevant topics.

CASLS Spotlight: Welcome Chinese Flagship Students

As the first week of classes at the University of Oregon commences, we’d like to welcome new and returning University of Oregon Chinese Flagship students.

Chinese Flagship students are undergraduate students admitted and accepted into the UO Chinese Flagship Program. These students are committed to enrolling in at least one Chinese course per term until graduation, attending summer intensive programs in the US and China, engaging in Flagship-related activities outside of the classroom, and completing the overseas Capstone study abroad and internship program in China during their junior or senior year.

New and returning Chinese Flagship students, faculty, and staff at UO's Week of Welcome Chinese Flagship Meet and Greet event.

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

Language Corner

Feds Offer Guide to Providing Quality Education for English-Language Learners

Source: Education Week Back to Quick Links


Feds Offer Guide to Providing Quality Education for English-Language Learners
By Corey Mitchell
September 21, 2015

The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice have completed a 10-chapter tool kit designed to help public schools ensure that English-language learners have access to a high-quality education.

The tool kit is a companion to joint guidance the departments released in January to remind schools of their federal obligations to the nation's nearly 5 million English-learners. Their rights have emerged as a significant policy focus for the Education Department as the percentage of ELLs in schools has increased.

…The tool kit is "intended primarily for state, district, school administrators, and teachers, but may also inform other stakeholders" interested in English-language learners and bilingual education, the departments say.

…The tool kit is free and accessible to the public and can be downloaded from the education department's website [at]

Read the full article:

Blog Post: Pre-assessing with an Integrated Performance Assessment

Source: Cecilelaine Back to Quick Links


Many teachers struggle with pre-assessment, both conceptually and in implementation. Read this French teacher’s description of using an integrated performance assessment dealing with vacations during the second week of school with a French 3 class:

#LangChat Summary: Interpersonal Assessment

Source: #LangChat Back to Quick Links


#LangChat is a weekly Twitter discussion among language teachers. Last week’s topic was interpersonal assessment, and it was a fast-and-intense conversation. Read a summary here: The summary covers these questions:

  • How much output should you correct during an interpersonal assessment?
  • How do you manage interpersonal assessments with large classes?
  • What role should the instructor play in an interpersonal assessment?
  • What are some teachable communication strategies to help students sustain conversation?
  • How can we be sure that we are truly measuring proficiency and not just performance?

Read teacher Martina Bex’s reflection on the discussion in her blog post here:

Read teacher Lisa Shepard’s reflection on the discussion and specifically about Interpersonal Writing her:

Learn more about #LangChat here:

New Colorín Colorado Website

Source: T.ELL.E-GRAM Back to Quick Links

Colorín Colorado is a national website serving educators and families of English language learners (ELLs) in Grades PreK-12. The website has just been redesigned. The new site features the same outstanding, research-based bilingual content presented in a new, user-friendly design, along with new ELL resources.

Explore the new website at or take a video tour here:

Discovering German Roots in Georgia

Source: AATG-Georgia Back to Quick Links


Discovering German Roots in Georgia is a website designed to shed light on the Salzburger, the first German-speaking settlers in the colony of Georgia, who established a fairly prosperous community in New Ebenezer — a settlement lying roughly 35 miles northwest of Savannah.

The Salzburger project consists of a three-day (or four-day) teaching unit that relies fairly heavily on web-based exercises that are housed on a webpage, a wiki, and a couple of webquests. Ancillary materials include three PowerPoint presentations and two QuickTime movies.

This project is being conducted by the Georgia Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German, with the approval and financial support of the national organization.

The project is still being developed; explore existing resources at

National German Week

Source: AATG Back to Quick Links


National German Week, October 5 to October 11, provides a great opportunity for recognizing the many contributions of Germans to the modern world and a chance to highlight the great German programs in public and private schools across the country.

October 6 is German-American Day, commemorating the arrival of thirteen German families to Philadelphia in 1683. These families founded Germantown, PA, the first German settlement in the original thirteen American colonies. In 1983, October 6 was proclaimed German-American Day in celebration of the 300th anniversary of German immigration to the US.

Find resources to celebrate National German Week and German-American Day at

25 Years of German Unity

Source: Back to Quick Links


On October 3, 1990, East Germany and West Germany reunited to form a single nation. Here is a collection of English-language article dealing with reunification:

Library of Congress Launches Online Hispanic Literature Recordings

Source: NBC News Back to Quick Links


In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, The Library of Congress launched an online selection of recordings from its "Archive of Hispanic Literature on Tape," a series of over 700 audio recordings from renowned poets and prose writers in their native languages. 32 different countries are represented in the 50 new digitized recordings that were previously only available on site at the library.

"I am so excited that the entire world will be able to hear some of these wonderful writers, such as Gabriel García Márquez and Octavio Paz, that we recorded for the Archive of Hispanic Literature on Tape," said in a statement Georgette Dorn, chief of the Library's Hispanic Division and curator of the archive. "Hearing the voice of a writer -brings him or her alive."

Listen to the recordings on the Library of Congress’s website:

15 Academic Vocabulary Resources

Source: TESOL Back to Quick Links


Elena Shvidko introduces 15 different resources that students and teachers can use to improve their academic vocabulary in this blog post:

Contact: A Speaking Game for Native Speakers

Source: My generation of polyglots Back to Quick Links


Here is a whole-class game that gets students thinking about categories, using questions, and occasionally focusing on spelling in a mentally challenging way:

See a demonstration of the game, with captions so that teachers of languages other than Spanish will be able to understand the game and adapt it to their target language, here:

365 Writing Prompts in French, Spanish, Indonesian, and English

Source: The Daily Post Back to Quick Links


Each day, the Daily Post blog posts a writing prompt in English, available here:

Now you can also access free ebooks of a year’s worth of writing prompts in French, Spanish, and Indonesian here:

Empowering Students Through Multimedia Storytelling

Source: Edutopia Back to Quick Links


Teacher Michael Hernandez shares how multimedia storytelling can empower students, and how you can implement it in your classroom, in this recent article in Edutopia. Intended for teachers in any content area, his recommendations can be applied easily to second language classrooms.

Read the article here:

Article: Support Growing for Bilingual Classrooms

Source: Fresno Bee Back to Quick Links


Support growing for bilingual classrooms
By Mackenzie Mays
September 18, 2015

Fresno State professor Laura Alamillo’s office is filled with … bilingual books – tools she says encompass the best way to teach English learners – but you won’t find them in most classrooms.

That’s because Proposition 227, passed in 1998, changed the way public schools in California teach English learners. The law requires that those students be taught primarily in English – eliminating most bilingual classrooms and intensifying an urgency to make students “English proficient” as soon as possible.

The English-only requirement can be waived at a parent’s request. But there is no guarantee that a district would have room in its bilingual program for every student. Meanwhile, districts have been criticized over the years for downplaying the exemption instead of promoting it.

But the California Multilingual Education Act, on the 2016 ballot, could change that. The proposed measure would repeal parts of Prop. 227, expanding classes where teachers use languages other than English to promote biliteracy.

Read the full article here:

Professional Development

Workshop: Identifying Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students for Special Education

Source: Lane ESD Back to Quick Links


Identifying Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students for Special Education
October 13, 2015
Lane ESD, Eugene, Oregon

Participants will learn a methodology that incorporates a tier-intervention (RTI) and pre/referral process. Instructional interventions, data gathering, and team decision-making will be reviewed to ensure that English Language Learner or Culturally Diverse students who are suspected of having a disability are appropriately referred for a Comprehensive Evaluation. Participants will discuss the Data Team process, examine the life/cultural context and language development of students, and review case studies. Critical issues related to Special Education Law will also be discussed.

For full details go to

STARTALK Program Design Institute

Source: ACTFL Back to Quick Links


STARTALK Program Design Institute
New Languages | New Opportunities
October 22-24, 2015

DEVELOP – Three-day institute to envision and create your plan to add or expand a critical language program, providing new opportunities for learners in your school community; come as a school-based team

GROW – Support continues after the institute through:

  Webinars on the issues critical to successful implementation
  Focused discussion sessions for exchanging what is working and seeking help for what is not working
  Access to resources

SUSTAIN – Maintain the networking, share results, and showcase success:

  Regular reporting and feedback on progress in implementing your program’s plan every four months

Who can participate: Teachers of a critical language and/or Administrators affiliated with a critical language program (“Critical languages” include these less commonly taught languages: Arabic, Chinese, Dari, Hindi, Korean, Persian Farsi, Portuguese, Swahili, Russian, Turkish, and Urdu)

For full details go to

Call for Papers: Multiliteracies and Heritage Language Teaching

Source: LINGUIST List Back to Quick Links


The editors are seeking abstracts (300 words) for research papers (7,000-7,500 words) for an edited volume on the application of the Multiliteracies pedagogical framework (Cope & Kalantzis, 2009; Kalantzis & Cope 2010, 2012) to the teaching of Spanish to heritage speakers in the United States at all levels of instruction.

This book will be the first one that is solely devoted to empirical studies on the application of an established pedagogical approach to the teaching of Spanish to heritage speakers in the United States. More specifically, the main aims of this edited volume are to (a) address the existing research needs in heritage pedagogy; (b) compile quality research on the application of the Multiliteracies approach to the teaching of Spanish to heritage speakers in the United States; and (c) provide solid guidelines and recommendations for future research in the field.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

Studies focusing on:
- The teaching of Grammar and vocabulary
- Writing
- Oral language use
- Reading and listening/video-mediated listening
- Digital literacies
- Teacher education
- Community service learning
- Spanish for the professions
- Curriculum design
- Materials development

Submission deadline for abstracts: October 15, 2015

View the full call for papers at

40th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development and Society for Language Development Symposium

Source: Boston University Back to Quick Links


40th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development
November 13-15, 2015

Saturday, November 14, 2015

“In(put)s and Out(put)s of the Syntactic Bootstrapper”
Anne Christophe, CNRS, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris
Cynthia Fisher, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Jeffrey Lidz, University of Maryland

Sunday, November 15, 2015

“What Does Infant Artificial Grammar Learning Tell Us About Language Development?”
LouAnn Gerken, University of Arizona
Rebecca Gómez, University of Arizona
Jill Lany, University of Notre Dame

Sunday, November 15, 2015, 1:15-3:15 PM

Shanley Allen, University of Kaiserslautern, Germany
The second annual professional development workshop for students and postdocs will be on the topic of scientific writing.

For more information about BUCLD, go to

Thursday, November 12, 2015, 1:00-6:00PM

The SLD symposium will be about “The Development of Pragmatics”
Eve Clark, Stanford University
Jesse Snedeker, Harvard University
David Barner, University of California at San Diego

For more information about the SLD symposium, please refer to:


Call for Papers: Journal of Immersion and Content-Based Language Education

Source: LIM-A Back to Quick Links

The Journal of Immersion and Content-Based Language Education (JICB) is an international research journal published twice per year by John Benjamins.

JICB aims at publishing research on language immersion and other types of content-based language education programs that are subject matter-driven and subject matter-accountable. The editors welcome submissions from around the world based on, for example, language immersion education, dual language education, bilingual education, CLIL (content-and-language integrated learning), sheltered English as a Second Language (ESL), language across the curriculum (LAC), language for specific/academic purposes, content-based indigenous language revitalization initiatives, and so on.

Please visit the JICB website for more information and guidelines for authors:

Tedick, D. [LIM-A] Call for Papers. LIM-A listserv (LIM-A@LISTS.UMN.EDU, 25 Sep 2015).

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