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Language Resource Center

Events of 2011-2012

May 8
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
LRC Workshop
9am-1pm, Noyes Lodge
Lunch provided

  • Some LRC notes
    • Distance Learning collaboration with Yale and Columbia
    • WAL rebuild
    • VideoBooth demonstration
  • Michela Baraldi will describe her project using Facebook and "Secret Identities"
  • Mónica Beviá will discuss her project in video blogging
  • Meejeong Song will tell about the development of her online placement test in Korean and give some preliminary results from its use
Lunch at noon!
Apr 26
April 26, 2012
4 - 6:00, Ithaca High School, York Auditorium
Reception starting at 3:30
No registration required - just come!
Paul Sandrock, ACTFL Associate Director of Professional Development

"Clarifying Our Expectations for Language Learning: Looking through the Lens of Performance Assessment."

What do we really want students to be able to do as a result of our language teaching? Our national and state standards for learning languages frame an answer. Assessment focuses teachers' instruction and makes learning targets clear for students. Join this conversation to ensure that how we assess matches our goals, providing seamless learning and continuous progress as students move through our programs.

This event is in collaboration with the NYSAFLT (New York State Association of Foreign Language Teachers) Spring Colloquium (registration required), held at the Binghamton Riverwalk Hotel & Conference Center on April 27 and 28. Events at the colloquium follow from and further develop the event above.

April 10, 2012
4 - 5:30, Noyes Lodge
Merrill Swain

"Languaging and second language learning"
The goal of this talk is that the audience leaves with an understanding of the concept of "languaging" and why it is important for second/foreign language teachers (and learners) to know about.
Languaging is a concept that has emerged from Vygotsky's sociocultural theory of mind. For Vygotsky, language is not just a means of social communication, but a tool of the mind: language mediates our thinking/cognition. Languaging is the use of language to mediate cognitively complex acts of thinking. It is "the process of making meaning and shaping knowledge and experience through language" (Swain, 2006). In it, we can see learning in progress.
Students who engage in more languaging learn more than those who engage in less languaging. This has been demonstrated over many knowledge domains e.g. biology, mathematics and language. In this talk, I will illustrate the power of languaging with excerpts from students who are learning a second/foreign language, and a related research study.

Professor Swain has suggested a reading in preparation for the talk: Swain, M. (2006). Languaging, agency and collaboration in advanced second language learning. In H. Byrnes, (Ed.), Advanced language learning: The contributions of Halliday and Vygotsky (pp.95-108). London, UK: Continuum.

Feb 10
February 10, 2012
Noyes Lodge, 4-5:30pm
Reception before and after the talk
Gabriele Kasper
University of Hawaii at Manoa

"Emotion in SLA from the Inside Out: From Individual Difference Variables to Interactional Competence"
As a topic in second language studies, emotions have been investigated from a variety of perspectives: as "individual difference" variables, as goal and process in language socialization, as matters of multilingual speakers' competencies, or as experiences available through learner narratives. This lecture examines emotion talk in a second language from a discursive perspective. Rather than asking how a person "really" feels, and how these feelings affect their actions, including language use, learning, and development, we want to understand how emotions are socially organized: how are emotions produced in text and talk so that they become recognizable by others? This question redirects our attention to the resources and methods of participating in social activities, that is, to participants' interactional competencies. By analyzing emotions as interactional and rhetorical constructions, it becomes possible to show how participants engage emotion talk to accomplish social actions such as assigning blame, claiming and rejecting identities, and defending their moral integrity. Implications for L2 teaching practices will be discussed.

Professor Kasper has suggested chapter 7 from Discourse and Cognition, by Edwards (1997) as useful reading in preparation for the talk. I would like to offer a quote from the chapter as suggestive of some of its main ideas:
  • White's and Lutz's ethnographic observations demonstrate the cultural workings of what we would call a discourse of the 'emotions': the use of verbal formulae for actions, feelings, and motives (our terms again), with regard to interpersonal judgments and attitudes, located within local moral orders of authority and responsibility. A key feature of emotion discourse is its deployment inside narrative and rhetoric. Emotion terms occur not merely as one-off descriptions of specific acts or reactions, but as parts of interrelated sets of terms that implicate each other in narrative sequences, and also in rhetorically potent contrasts between alternative descriptions. Narrative sequence and rhetorical contrast are ways of talking about things that perform social actions on the occasion of their production. Those social actions are discursive ones of a (by now) familiar kind: constructing the sense of events, orienting to normative and moral orders, to responsibility and blame, intentionality, and social evaluation. Emotional categories are not graspable merely as individual feelings or expressions, and nor is their discursive deployment reducible to a kind of detached, cognitive sense-making. They are discursive phenomena and need to be studied as such, as part of how talk performs social actions. (Edwards 1997, p. 187)
Jan 19
Thursday, January 19, 2012
10-12 and 2-4, Noyes Lodge
Workshop in Student Video Production for Language Learning
Grit Matthias, Department of German Studies

This workshop will concentrate on student video projects in foreign language teaching and their pedagogical implications. The first half will concentrate on an introduction to different possibilities in using video production in the classroom, a showcase, and a discussion of previous experiences. The second part will be a hands-on workshop, where in groups, participants discuss a classroom situation for the production of videos, execute it, and share the knowledge and experience with the other participants. This workshop will require active participation and willingness to overcome technological reluctance, but no previous knowledge of video production is required.

The workshop will take place on Thursday, January 19, from 10 - 12 and 2 - 4, with a two hour break for lunch and work on the projects. All graduate students and lecturers welcome.
Dec 6
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
LRC Workshop
9am-1pm, Noyes Lodge
Lunch provided

For the first few minutes we discuss some LRC news and topics
  • We are setting about to rebuild WAL and are seeking funds for that
  • We will be replacing the Mac Classroom computers and will have some older models for sale
  • We are revising the look of the LRC website
  • We are developing a Videobooth, where students can very easily create videos of themselves or small groups. One of the purposes of this is to provide an easy way for students to create testimonials about their language learning and classes. These will then be available (if students sign permission forms) for language course, program and department web pages. Yes, language learning in class does work!
    The Videobooth can also be used for any other language related purpose, such as class assignments. The videos will be on our server and can be viewed there, downloaded or embedded.
  • In a related item, the university seems to have no clear date for the provision of student-uploaded videos. We can continue to use Vimeo, which teachers can subscribe to for $9.95/month or $59.95/year. Some teachers use YouTube and we discussed the advantages and disadvantages of that.

Presentation of four teacher projects:
  • Thess Savella spoke about her project on devising learning standards in Tagalog based on learner interviews.
  • Adeolu Ademoyo described the pedagogical place and purpose of his scripted and unscripted video workbooks, and showed some.
  • Slava Paperno spoke about his use of large-scale video projects in class, and a new one he is producing about biological weapons manufacturing.
  • Mónical Beviá described her project in production of original video for Medical Spanish.
Finally, Grit Matthias discussed her use of GarageBand to convert class presentations into online files that students can preview, then spend class time in discussion.

Everyone enjoyed lunch together and chatting with colleagues they do not often see.
Nov 3
Thursday, November 3, 2011
4 - 5:30, Noyes Lodge
Claudia Ross, Holy Cross

"Making the not-so-obvious connections: Text Cohesion in Foreign Language Learning"

There is an assumption that students come with rhetorical production from their L1 that serve them well in L2. But do they really? How much do they really know? Some of the elements of good essay writing need to be taught in the L2 class. This talk will survey findings on students' L1 writing skills and discuss what can be done in the foreign language class to help students write good essays.
Oct 21
Friday, October 21, 2011
4 - 5:30, Noyes Lodge
Aneta Pavlenko, Temple University

"The words I cannot utter: Second language learning and emotions"

In his autobiography, Une langue venue d'ailleurs [An alien language] (2011), a Japanese-French bilingual Akira Mizubayashi confesses that there are still things he cannot say in his second language French. Mizubayashi adopted French as a young man, married a French woman, raised a French-speaking daughter, and has lived his life through French for more than 40 years. His lexicon is rich, his grammar near-perfect, and yet there are affective expressions he cannot force himself to utter. Why is that? Is there a difference between affective vocabulary and other lexical items? Or a difference between emotion words in the first and second language? What ties tie us to our respective languages? How do you live and write in a language that is not totally yours, a stepmother tongue? How do you raise a child in a language different from the one your parents used with you? How do you connect to others? Argue? Fall in love? The purpose of this talk is to examine our current state of knowledge about the relationship between second language learning and emotions and to reflect on its implications for foreign language classrooms: what can we do to help our students forge emotional connections with their new languages and to adopt new means of emotional expression?

Professor Pavlenko has offered a related reading for those who would like more information in this general area: "Structural and conceptual equivalence in the acquisition and use of emotion words in a second language" The Mental Lexicon 3:1 (2008), 91-120.
Sep 22
Thursday, September 22, 2011
3 - 4:30, Noyes Lodge
Virginia Scott, Vanderbilt University

"Multicompetent Second Language Learners"

The term "multicompetence" was first coined by Vivian Cook to describe the knowledge of two (or more) languages in one mind. His notion of the multicompetent mind, in which languages are interconnected rather than separate entities, has served to frame recent research on bilingual/multilingual language functioning. This notion can also serve to broaden our understanding of second language development by underscoring the dynamic and multilingual nature of language learning. In this presentation we will explore the multicompetence framework and discuss ways it challenges us to re-envision second language learning goals.

Professor Scott has suggested chapter 1 from her book, Double Talk as a useful reading in preparation for her talk.