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: InterCom: September 26, 2022

Join us this week as we conclude our series on tips for handling ambiguity when communicating in the target language. This week, we explore how learners can harness their strengths to respond to language learning and communication challenges.

Thank you to Cameron Teubner-Keller, for his role in the creation of this week’s video.

There are a few ways to get connected with us this week:

  • Join our InterCom Live! session. We connect on Facebook every Monday at 11:00 am Pacific. To join us, open CASLS's Facebook page at the designated time. Can't make it? The InterCom Live! events are always recorded, and you can find them on our Facebook page.
  • Check out the video and Activity of the Week! In the activity, learners will reflect on their communicative strengths and set goals for utilizing those strengths in the future.
  • Check out this resource for more information about understanding one’s strengths when learning.

Happy exploring! We are excited to continue engaging with you this week.

Activity of the Week

  • Strength Finder

    This short (roughly 10-15 minute) activity is proficiency-agnostic and was created to help learners reflect on their strengths. It would be useful when starting a new school year or grading period. Instructions indicate implementation during group time, but this activity would be wonderful in a flipped context. For example, learners could complete Steps 1-5 (other than group shares) at home and share their visual reminders (Step 6) in class as a warm-up activity the following day.

    Learning Outcome(s):
    Learners will be able to:

    • Reflect on and identify their strengths as a language learner.
    • Use their strengths to set goals for handling challenges as they arise.

    Mode(s): Not applicable

    Materials: Pay Attention to Your Strengths Video, Strength Inventory, a video of errors in a domain relevant to curricular needs


    1. Show learners one to two minutes of video with a lot of mistakes in whatever domain is culturally appropriate and aligns with curricular needs. For example, if studying sports, you might show them a video similar to this one in the target language. 
    2. As a group, talk about how one should react to those mistakes in order to be successful. Then, show learners the Pay Attention to Your Strengths Video
    3. Provide learners with the Strength Inventory. Ask that they complete Step 1 individually.
    4. As a whole group, share the strengths that learners identified.
    5. Give learners five to seven minutes to complete Steps 2 and 3 on the Strength Inventory. In these steps, they will describe a moment in which they made a mistake in the target language (big or small) and how their strengths could have helped them respond. They will use this reflection to set a goal for responding to similar situations in the future.
    6. Give learners three minutes to complete Step 4 on the Strength Inventory. In this phase, they will create a visual reminder of the goal identified in the previous step.


    • Remember to revisit learners' goals with them periodically!

Language Corner

IALLT Interview Project Episode 8: Interview about Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) with Regina Kaplan-Rakowski, Randall Sadler, and Tricia Thrasher

Source: FLTMag Back to Quick Links


Looking to learn the basics of how to utilize augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies in language learning contexts? In this interview, experts in AR and VR walk the audience through the technologies and offer insights into language teaching based on their own work. Listen to expand your understanding of VR, AR, and practical ways to implement the technologies.


Blended Learning: 4 Models that Work

Source: Cult of Pedagogy, Caitlin Tucker Back to Quick Links


Author Caitlin Tucker highlights blended learning as a useful model, particularly for teachers emerging from the online instructional contexts of the pandemic. Specifically, blended learning is ideal for its flexibility, appropriation of technology, and adaptability to a variety of learner needs. In this practical blog post, Tucker identifies how blending learning addresses three key pain points in many classroom contexts: low motivation, diverse needs, and classroom management.


Trivia Quizzes for Language Learning?

Source: Games for Language Back to Quick Links


This blog post discusses suggestions for playing trivia in the target language in order to bolster L2 skills. This gameplay can be facilitated for beginners with specific chunked phrases (e.g., It’s your turn) and is a great way to introduce learners to common knowledge in target language cultures. A variety of trivia games in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish are linked. 


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