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Language Resource Center

Events of 2016-2017

This year's events are co-sponsored by the Einaudi Center for International Studies, the Institute for European Studies, the East Asia Program, the South Asia Program, the Southeast Asia Program and the Departments of Romance Studies, Near Eastern Studies, German Studies and Asian Studies.

September 20

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Epistemics in interaction: Implications for world language peer tutoring programs

Michele Back, Assistant Professor
Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut

Tuesday, September 20, 4pm, Noyes Lodge

Reception before and after the talk
Peer tutoring is viewed as a valuable component of additional language learning due to the presence of a more knowledgeable interlocutor. Yet researchers and language program directors alike often ignore the linguistic and cultural differences that peer tutors possess, instead categorizing them homogeneously as 'experts' or 'native speakers.' In this presentation I use video data of peer tutoring sessions in Spanish to analyze several LREs (language-related episodes) in which claims to knowledge are negotiated, contested and rejected. Findings indicate that peer tutors use a variety of symbolic, multimodal and artifactual tools to negotiate or mitigate their ascribed epistemic stances of expert. I demonstrate how essentialist ideologies and classroom-based hierarchies often help construct tutors as language "experts," even when conflicting information regarding that expertise is available. I discuss how these findings question the ways knowledge and expertise are traditionally perceived in peer tutoring and other additional language learning contexts; emphasize the need for training peer tutors in cooperative learning methods and articulating their knowledge with that from the classroom setting; and highlight the complex ideologies that surround the 'right to know' a target language. Additionally, I will explore the implications of this analysis for developing and maintaining an effective world language peer tutoring program.

Here is an article of close relevance to Professor Back's talk.
October 13

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Let's listen and talk about listening: Theories and practice on listening for the language teacher

Paula Winke, Assistant Professor
Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut

Tuesday, September 20, 4pm, Noyes Lodge

Reception before and after the talk
In this presentation, I first briefly overview the concepts and constructs of foreign and second language listening and how (and why) they have changed since the early 1950s. I end this first part by reviewing integrated listening skills and how the teaching and testing of listening is moving away from audio-only approaches and becoming more intertwined with learners' physical, contextual, and social surroundings. Then, with your input, we will draft a working definition of listening, and we will theorize how, exactly, listening should be taught and assessed in today's modern classroom. Second, I will dive into listening test data. I will present ACTFL-based Language Proficiency Flagship data (from college learners of Chinese, French, Russian, and Spanish), and I will review Tschirner's (2016) work to illustrate current statistical trends in listening proficiency across diverse language programs. We will discuss what current listening-test results mean in light of the evolving theoretical construct of listening. With this in mind, we will end by discussing options for the assessment of listening in modern second and foreign language classrooms, and we will consider how the options fit into your language programs' current curricular objectives and assessment plans.


Cublio, J., & Winke, P. (2013). Redefining the L2 listening construct within an integrated writing task: Considering the impacts of visual-cue interpretation and note-taking. Language Assessment Quarterly, 10(4), 371-397.
Tschirner, E. (2016). Listening and reading proficiency levels of college students. Foreign Language Annals, 49(2), 201-223.
Winke, P., Gass, S., & Sydorenko, T. (2013). Factors influencing the use of captions by foreign language learners: An eye-tracking study. The Modern Language Journal, 97(1), 254-275.

Paula Winke is an Associate Professor at Michigan State University, where she teaches language testing and language teaching methods. Her current research interests include second and foreign language assessment and task-based language teaching and testing. She is the immediate past President of the Midwest Association of Language Testers (MwALT) and is currently a member of the TOEFL Committee of Examiners, a standing committee of the TOEFL Board. She co-directs the Second Language Studies Eye-tracking Lab and is co-directing (with Susan Gass) an 800K grant from the Department of Defense on language proficiency testing at Michigan State University. She is the 2012 recipient of the "TESOL Award for Distinguished Research" and a 2008 recipient (with Senta Goertler) of the CALICO Journal's "Outstanding Article Award."