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: #Langchat as a Professional Development Resource

Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell is the blogger behind, the author of the Calico Spanish Homeschool Learning Series, and a founding moderator of #langchat. Find her on Twitter as @secottrell.

When today's sixth-graders were born, Facebook and Twitter did not exist. Most people would not have known what a smartphone was; and for most teachers, a "personal learning network" consisted of the teachers at one's school, or perhaps the colleagues met once a year at a conference. These days, however, technology is shrinking the world and transforming communication in every way, and professional development has felt the changes in a good way: teachers have access to professional learning and collaboration that no one would have dreamed of just a few years ago.

From social to professional

Through online social networks, teachers have found a place to discuss problems and successes. In January of 2011, a small group of world language teachers decided to organize this discussion on Twitter through the hashtag #langchat. Via Twitter, teachers can share whatever they like in 140 characters or less, and simply adding #langchat to each "tweet" allows this communication to easily followed or searched. Today, hundreds of teachers use the hashtag anytime to share resources and ask questions, and many "meet" online weekly to discuss a specific topic voted on during the week, from the flipped classroom approach to effective feedback and everything in between.

No limits

Conferences and workshops can be helpful, but they may fall outside a teacher's reach because of constraints like budget or location. However, French teacher Cristy Vogel lauds #langchat as an opportunity to learn, share, and network with other world language professionals, and not just locally or even regionally, but around the country and the world, points out blogger Amy Lenord. As Japanese instructor Colleen Lee-Hayes says, "The biggest benefit of #langchat is 24-7 ideas... not limited by geography, budgets, or time zones." It is a virtual place where you can be exposed to "ideas and experience beyond the scope of one's own school, system, state, or region," says French teacher Kris Climer. #Langchat offers teachers a place to learn and collaborate with people they may never meet otherwise.

Putting the "best" in "best practices"

Another benefit of #langchat is that teachers can discover trends that are not only innovative but also informed by the latest research, notes world language teacher and presenter Diego Ojeda. Evaluating practices can be tricky, but as Don Doehla, director of the Berkley World Language Project, points out, teachers discover and discuss "best practices in world language teaching and learning." Teachers can challenge their thinking and find out what makes best practices so good. Author and teacher trainer Kristy Placido likes the "vast network of perspectives" a community like #langchat offers because it helps a teacher "reflect upon and hone teaching practice." PBL enthusiast Laura Sexton summarizes #langchat this way: "If you want to know what you're doing wrong or how to do it right, there is always someone who can help point you in the right direction and offer assurance or suggestions."

Connections for life

The connections teachers make on #langchat are not limited to the internet. President of Calico Spanish Erica Fischer points out that within the chat community teachers have the opportunity to develop online professional relationships that lead to real-world connections and friendships, often at regional and national conferences. Kris Climer has also enjoyed the "permanent, ongoing access" the online learning network offers, "more than just one workshop, session or conference."

Indeed, #langchat is a perfect example of how technology removes obstacles. In #langchat, Twitter offers teachers a place to creatively and effectively improve practice by connecting with some of the best teachers in the language teaching profession.

All of the educators mentioned in this article are also moderators of #langchat. Meet @CoLeeSensei, @msfrenchteach, @dr_dmd, @CalicoTeach, @krisclimer, @DiegoOjeda66, @SraSpanglish, @alenord, and @placido there anytime or at the organized chat on Thursdays at 8 PM ET, 5 PM PT.

For more information about #langchat, including past archives and summaries of chats, visit Also, meet the #langchat moderators and learn more about how to collaborate via #langchat at a special workshop at ACTFL 2014, Saturday, November 22, at 10:00 AM.

Activity of the Week

  • Connect with Other Language Professionals Online

    Summer is a good time to explore online networks and find listservs, blogs, Twitter hashtags, Pinterest users, and online fora where you can communicate with other language professionals throughout the year. 

    Download our suggestions for Online Networking Resources and explore some of them - by joining in on a Twitter chat, subscribing to a listserv or blog's RSS feed, or finding your state organization's website, for example.  By summer's end you will have found which resources are the most valuable to you, and you may be sharing with others as well.

CASLS Spotlight: CASLS Says Farewell to Chinese Flagship Coordinator Genevieve Beecher by Mandy Gettler, CASLS Associate Director

Chinese Flagship Coordinator Genevieve Beecher began working for CASLS in June 2012. Genevieve provided support to the program's students and parents, coordinated student life activities and immersive housing experiences, offered advising for the program's students, and facilitated several Flagship initiatives.

Genevieve will be leaving the CASLS and Flagship teams to rejoin her family in the Midwest. "I will miss working with a wonderful team of professionals at CASLS that collaborate well together and demonstrate respect for each person's insights, opinions, and feedback," Genevieve says about her departure. "I will also miss seeing the students grow and mature throughout the years while developing their professional goals."

Staff wish her a reluctant farewell. "I will miss Genevieve's fun and unique personality, as well as her can-do attitude," says CASLS Educational Software Programmer Carl Burnstein.

Staff agree that Genevieve's attitude in the face of complex projects and timelines is one of her greatest assets. Instructional Designer Deborah Cooke, who worked closely with Genevieve on developing and implementing online Chinese Flagship courses, adds, "Genevieve is a deeply thoughtful person who clearly thinks through objectives and initiatives, making collaboration a breeze."

Genevieve plans to continue working on higher education after she moves. She hopes to find a position where she can effectively use her Chinese skills and passion for student services and international education. "I truly believe that human beings can learn to live peacefully with one another through building cultural competence, tolerance, and compassion." We're certain Genevieve will contribute to making such a vision a reality, and we all wish Genevieve the best of luck in her next adventure.

Language Corner

Blog Post: Backward Design and ACTFLs Keys to Planning

Source: Somewhere To Share
Language: ANY Back to Quick Links


Teacher Carrie Toth writes,

“I am a long time backward planner! I love dreaming up hooks that get students excited to dive into a new unit and planning assessments that measure students real ability to use their new language! Many people love the idea but don’t know how to get started. How exactly do we come up with an essential question that will carry meaning for our students?? How can we remain true to the tenets of comprehensible input yet teach cultural content in the target language? I assure you, it’s possible and exciting to use real contexts while maintaining comprehensibility!”

How does she do it? Read on at

New Blog: The Africa Collective

Source: H-Africa
Language: African, Arabic, Middle Eastern Back to Quick Links


The Africa Collective is a broad collaboration between scholars, bloggers, activists, and entrepreneurs who do research, write, and speak about the continent. Contributors highlight some of the major trends and innovations–whether social, cultural, or political–which are emerging in Africa and have their roots in the continent itself. The Africa Collective goes beyond merely questioning popular stereotypes about the continent–whether these are overly pessimistic accounts of African violence and state failure or overly celebratory accounts of Africa “emerging.” Their goal is to tell stories that show how African innovators and innovations are changing the conversation on topics as diverse as statecraft, economic development, and spirituality.

The Africa Collective is available at

Learn more about the Africa Collective at

News on Japan: in English and Japanese

Source: News on Japan
Language: Japanese Back to Quick Links


Keep up on the latest news of Japan in English and Japanese on your computer or mobile device. NewsOnJapan is available in English-only at or in side-by-side Japanese and English at

Conduct a Radio Workshop in Your German Classes

Source: AATG-L
Language: German Back to Quick Links

From the AATG-L listserv:

Hello USA! Hallo Amerika! I am looking for interested teachers of German and their German class to host a radio workshop for "The Transatlantic School Initiative (TSI)" in November 2014.
TSI is a program supported by the German Government and designed to connect students and teachers from Germany and the USA by offering media based training in a classroom setting to German/American themes and to produce a bi-lingual radio show. TSI has successfully started in 2013 with media workshops in Texas followed by workshops in California and Washington State in 2014. The next round of workshops is set for November 2014.
The workshop is conducted by the free Journalist Wolfgang J. Fischer for the Berlin-based organization Students and their teachers learn how to produce their own radio show in a transatlantic context. possible dates are:
November 4-7, 2014
November 10-14, 2014
or November 17-21, 2014 (preferred)

A workshop week is realized during German classes in one week and one field day.
The results are distributed on Please visit Radijojo to see what German and US-American students have produced so far for the Transatlantic School Initiative
To participate in November 2014 at the transatlantic School Initiative or to get further information please contact Wolfgang J. Fischer at

Zygowski, P. [AATG-L] Radioprojekt Teil 2. AATG-L listserv (, 17 Jul 2014).

Four Articles about Germany’s World Cup Victory

Language: German Back to Quick Links

Germany’s victory in the FIFA World Cup will attract even more attention to German language and culture. Here are four recent articles about soccer in Germany:

German National Team Ranked Number One in World

Lahm Retires as Captain on the National Team

A Fourth Star for Germany

Watch the team’s plane land in Germany:

Flow Chart for Tu and Vous

Source: LA Times
Language: French Back to Quick Links

Here is a cute flow chart for when to use Tu and when to use Vous in French. Enjoy!

Math Puzzles in Spanish

Source: Pedagonet
Language: Spanish Back to Quick Links

Here is a collection of math word problems/puzzles in Spanish:

Printable Activities for Spanish: Directo a Clase

Source: Editorial Edinumen
Language: Spanish Back to Quick Links

Directo a clase is a website from Editorial Edinumen with printable worksheets for your class. Browse the available materials at

Three Resources for Giving Advice in Spanish

Source: rutaEle
Language: Spanish Back to Quick Links

Here are links to three activities/lessons dealing with giving advice in Spanish:

Alfabeto Malagueño

Language: Spanish Back to Quick Links

Here’s a new alphabet poster for Spanish teachers – one based on the culture of Málaga! Learn more about it and access it at

Disabled Access Friendly: Awareness of Mobility Disability for English Language Learners

Source: Disabled Access Friendly
Language: ESL/Bilingual Back to Quick Links


The Disabled Access Friendly campaign aims to sensitize students to issues affecting people with mobility disability. The campaign reaches people through the teaching of English as a foreign language.

The website provides teachers with free teaching material that can be used in class, for projects or examination practice, but at the same time stimulates students to put themselves in the shoes of someone with a mobility disability, for a better understanding of their needs and feelings.

Visit the Disabled Access Friendly website at

Now Available: Ohio's Model Curriculum for K-12 World Languages

Source: OFLA
Language: ANY Back to Quick Links

From the OFLA listserv:

I am pleased to announce that Ohio’s new Model Curriculum for K-12 World Languages is now live. Access the model curriculum at this link: Bookmark this link for future reference, or access the tool by going to the World Language Standards webpage on the ODE website and clicking on “World Languages Model Curriculum” in the Quick Links menu on the left side of the page.

An important reminder: the model curriculum is NOT a curriculum per se. Rather, it is an adaptable tool that can guide world language educators and school districts as they design instructional lessons and local courses of study for learners of all languages and grade levels. The Model Curriculum aims to support the implementation of Ohio’s New Learning Standards for K-12 World Languages and to elaborate on the proficiency-based nature of these standards. Resources will be updated frequently to reflect the changing needs of world language educators and the most current research in our field.

We are currently beginning to plan a series of regional workshops for early this fall to formally roll-out the Model Curriculum. Stay tuned for more details on the workshop in the near future. Until then, we invite you to begin exploring and using the tool on your own at your earliest convenience! We would suggest beginning your exploration by first reading the information contained in these sections, all of which can be accessed from the entry page of the Model Curriculum:

· “How to use the Model curriculum to create courses and units;”
· “How the Model curriculum supports the standards;” and
· “Introduction to the Learning Standards”

A hearty word of thanks to all of those people who contributed to the creation of this resource. It was a collaborative effort in every way, and we at the ODE are grateful for your collective interest and contributions. A special word of thanks to the Model Curriculum Development Committee, whose insights, contributions and guidance ensured the extremely high quality of the many component parts that make up the Model Curriculum.

Many warm regards,
Ryan T. Wertz
Lead Consultant for World Languages
Office of Curriculum and Assessment
Ohio Department of Education
National Council of State Supervisors for Languages

Wertz, R. [OFLA] BREAKING NEWS: Ohio's Model Curriculum for K-12 World Languages is now live. Check it out! OFLA listserv (OFLA@LISTSERV.KENT.EDU, 17 Jul 2014).

12 Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom: Creating a Global Classroom

Source: Education Week
Language: ANY Back to Quick Links

12 Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom: Creating a Global Classroom
by Homa Sabet Tavangar
July 11, 2014

Classrooms can also go global with Twitter. Try one or more of these 12 ideas to tweet your way around the world (or close to home) with your students:

The Ultimate Directory Of Free Image Sources

Source: The Edublogger
Language: ANY Back to Quick Links


The Edublogger has compiled an annotated list of image sources, noting subjects, resolution, license, and safety in the descriptions. Available here:

Professional Development

Call for Papers: Southern Conference on Language Teaching and South East Association for Language Learning Technology

Source: SCOLT
Content Area: ANY Back to Quick Links


SCOLT is now accepting proposals for their 2015 50th Anniversary joint conference with FLAG (Foreign Language Association of Georgia) and SEALLT (Southeast Association for Language Learning Technology).

Session proposal deadline will be August 15, 2014.

To learn more about the conference and to submit a proposal go to

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

Source: ASMEA
Content Area: ANY Back to Quick Links


Seventh Annual ASMEA Conference
Searching for Balance in the Middle East and Africa
October 30 - November 1, 2014 ¦ Key Bridge Marriott Hotel ¦ Washington, D.C.

The 2014 Conference will feature:

•    KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Prof. Meir Litvak, Tel Aviv University, "Rouhani's Iran: How Real is the Change?"
•    SPECIAL REMARKS: Amb. Lukman Faily, Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq to the United States. **invited
•    Roundtable discussions on "The Sunni-Shia Sectarian War Across the Sykes-Pico Line," and more.
•    Panel presentations on scholarly topics from Middle Eastern and African studies, and related disciplines.
•    Banquet luncheon and professional networking reception.
•    Film screenings.
•    Displays by publishers of the latest academic titles.
•    More to come!

Registration is now open! Take advantage of Early Bird rates and register at

Infographic: How To Build a Professional Learning Community

Source: Edudemic
Content Area: ANY Back to Quick Links


Katie Lepi writes, “When you have a group of people who are interested in similar things as you and are collaborating, sharing ideas, and offering encouragement, advice, and constructive criticism to the group, some real magic can happen!” Read more about PLN’s and access a helpful infographic at

Call for Papers: Cultures and Languages Across the Curriculum

Source: Denison University
Content Area: Culture, Curriculum Design, Heritage, Learning Science, Methods, Policy/Issues/Advocacy, Specific Purpose Back to Quick Links


9th CLAC Conference
Hosted by Denison University
April 16-17, 2015

The Spring 2015 conference on Cultures and Languages Across the Curriculum (CLAC) focuses on building relationships to serve an expanded population. At this 9th conference CLAC is reflecting on past achievements and planning future directions. Currently there is increased national attention on and support for developing international and cross-cultural perspectives in the curriculum. Programs like 100K Strong in the Americas and Generation Study Abroad create even more opportunities to spotlight the role of CLAC principles/practices in shaping the next “generation of leaders who can reach across borders” whether physical, linguistic, cultural, or curricular.

The organizers invite proposals for papers, panels, or poster presentations on any issue relating to CLAC, although the following topics are of particular interest:

 Inter-institutional CLAC collaborations
 Global Course Connections and CLAC
 Experiential learning and CLAC
 The role of CLAC in the Community College
 CLAC and Critical Thinking
 CLAC and Pathway Programs
 Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) and CLAC
 Promoting CLAC to stakeholders
 Cross-disciplinary teaching styles and pedagogical approaches
 Interconnections with Study Abroad, Service Learning, International Students
 Community Connections
 Experiential and Community Engagement
 Professional development opportunities for CLAC practitioners (mentor relationships)

Deadline for Proposal Submissions: October 1st, 2014

View the full call for proposals at


Book: Measuring L2 Proficiency

Source: Multilingual Matters Back to Quick Links


Measuring L2 Proficiency: Perspectives from SLA
By Pascale Leclercq, Amanda Edmonds, and Heather Hilton
Published by Multilingual Matters

The creation of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) has given rise to interest and debate among policy makers, testers, teachers and researchers alike in the reliability and feasibility of the assessment of second language (L2) proficiency. This volume brings together concrete ideas on identifying and measuring L2 proficiency from different branches of SLA research (psycholinguistic, sociolinguistic, corpus-based, applied linguistics) to contribute to a deeper understanding of what it means to be proficient in an L2. The chapters introduce a wide range of tools that are innovative, reliable, and easy-to-use for the evaluation of learners’ language level with respect to both productive and receptive skills and provide a variety of answers to the question of how to assess L2 proficiency in a valid, reliable and practical manner. The collection will therefore inspire language teachers, teacher trainers and language testing specialists and help them adapt their assessment practices when necessary, and will also be a valuable resource for postgraduate students and researchers.

Visit the publisher’s website at

Spring/Summer Edition of SCOLT Talk Now Available

Source: JNCL-NCLIS Back to Quick Links

The spring/summer edition of the newsletter of the Southern Conference on Language teaching is available at

Learn more about SCOLTalk at

Book: Exploring Second Language Creative Writing

Source: John Benjamins Publishing Company Back to Quick Links


Exploring Second Language Creative Writing: Beyond Babel
Edited by Dan Disney

Exploring Second Language Creative Writing continues the work of stabilizing the emerging Creative Writing (SL) discipline. In unique ways, each essay in this book seeks to redefine a tripartite relationship between language acquisition, literatures, and identity. All essays extend B.B. Kachru’s notion of “bilingual creativity” as an enculturated, shaped discourse (a mutation of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis). Creative Writing (SL), a new subfield to emerge from Stylistics, extends David Hanauer’s Poetry as Research (2010); situating a suite of methodologies and interdisciplinary pedagogies, researchers in this book mobilize theories from Creativity Studies, TESOL, TETL, Translation Studies, Linguistics, Cultural Studies, and Literary Studies. Changing the relationship between L2 writers and canonized literary artefacts (from auratic to dialogic), each essay in this text is essentially Freirean; each chapter explores dynamic processes through which creative writing in a non-native language engages material and phenomenological modes toward linguistic pluricentricity and, indeed, emancipation.

Visit the publisher’s website at

Call for Papers: Journal of Teaching English with Technology

Source: LINGUIST List Back to Quick Links


The Journal of Teaching English with Technology (TEwT) is seeking contributions for its special issue on Technology-mediated task-based English language learning, edited by Anna Franca Plastina, University of Calabria, Italy, to appear in April 2015.

The potential synergy between task-based language learning (TBLL) and the use of technology presents a number of challenges for current English teachers. Nevertheless, "anyone concerned with second language teaching and learning in the 21st century needs to grasp the nature of the unique technology-mediated tasks learners can engage in for language acquisition" (Chapelle, 2001:2).

Contributions may focus on the issue in a number of ways, including but not limited to:
-• Challenges and opportunities of technology-mediated task-based English language learning
-• Innovations in language learning through collaborative digital tasks
- Language learner and teacher roles in technology-enhanced task-based instruction
- Learner behaviour and attitudes towards technology-mediated task-based language instruction
- Learner Empowerment in technological-mediated task-based language learning
- Learning/cognitive styles in digital task-based language learning
- Multimodality in task-based language instruction
- Pedagogical evaluation of web-based tools and mobile devices for language learning tasks
- Pedagogical uses of authentic digital tools/materials for task-based learning
- Productive and participatory learning processes in Pedagogy 2.0 tasks
- Social Media and possible task-based applications in language learning (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Wikis, Forums)
- Teacher Development for technology-mediated task-based instruction
- Technological software applications in ESL/EFL/ESP tasks
- Technological task design for ESL/EFL/ESP courseware and syllabi through the use, for example, of social-constructivist, connectivist, personalized learning approaches
- Technological-mediated task-based language instruction for professional training and practice
- Technological-mediated task-based language learning in digital environments (e.g. MOOCs, Learning Management Systems, Moodle, Poodle, use of Webquests)
- The effectiveness/drawbacks of task-based learner e-portfolios
- The impact of digital language learning policies on task-based instruction.

Notification of acceptance: 1 December 2014.

View the full call for submissions at

Book: Multilingual Cognition and Language Use

Source: John Benjamins Publishing Company Back to Quick Links


Multilingual Cognition and Language Use: Processing and typological perspectives
Edited by Luna Filipović and Martin Pütz

This volume provides a multifaceted view of certain key themes in multilingualism research today and offers future directions for this research area in the context of the multilingual development of individuals and societies. The selection of studied languages is eclectic (e.g. Amondawa, Cantonese, Bulgarian, Dene, Dutch, Eipo, Frisian, German, Mandarin Chinese, Māori, Russian, Spanish, and Yukatek, among others), they are typologically diverse, and they are contrasted from a variety of perspectives, such as cognitive development, aging, acquisition, grammatical and lexical processing, and memory. This collection also illustrates novel insights into the linguistic relativity debate that multilingual studies can offer, such as new and revealing perspectives on some well-known topics (e.g. colour categorisation or language transfer). The critical and comprehensive discussions of theoretical and methodological considerations presented in this volume are fundamental for numerous current, future, empirical and interdisciplinary studies of linguistic diversity, linguistic typology, and multilingual processing.

Visit the publisher’s website at

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