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Language Resource Center

Events of 2012-2013

September 11
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Noyes Lodge 4:00pm
Reception preceding and following the talk
Neomy Storch
Senior Lecturer of Applied Linguistics and ESL
        University of Melbourne, Australia

Face to face and computer mediated collaborative writing: opportunities for second language learning

Collaborative writing is the joint production or the co-authoring of a text by two or more writers. Co-authored texts are common in the world outside the classroom (e.g. group projects at the workplace) and are likely to become even more so given the latest developments in Web 2.0 technology (e.g. Wikis, Google Docs). For second language (L2) teachers, and specifically for L2 writing teachers, the question is whether collaborative writing provides opportunities for language learning and/or writing development. I begin with the theoretical underpinnings of collaborative writing which suggest that such writing activities may provide an ideal site for L2 learning. I then review empirical research on face-to-face collaborative writing, including my own work on collaborative writing in ESL and EFL classes. This research provides evidence that collaborative writing encourages learners to focus on language and thus may result in more accurate texts as well as language learning gains. However, this research also highlights that collaborative writing tasks need to be carefully designed and monitored, taking into consideration factors such as the writing task, the learners' L2 proficiency, and relationships learners form with their peers when co-authoring. I then review research on computer mediated collaborative writing. This research shows that collaboration in this environment takes time to develop, and that learners are more likely to engage with each other's ideas rather than provide each other with feedback on language use. On the basis of this research, I argue that these platforms for collaboration may provide learners with opportunities to learn how to write in groups in an online environment, but unless they are supplemented, they may not necessarily provide a site for L2 learning. I conclude with suggestions on how to best implement collaborative writing in the face to face and in the computer mediated environment.

Suggested readings
Kessler, G., Bikowski, D., & Boggs, J. (2012). Collaborative writing among second language learners in academic web-based projects. Language Learning & Technology, 16, 91-109.
Storch, N. (2011). Collaborative writing in L2 contexts: Processes, outcomes, and future directions. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 31, 275-288.
Storch, N. (2005). Collaborative writing: Product, process and students' reflections. Journal of Second Language Writing, 14, 153-173.
October 4
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Noyes Lodge 4:30pm
Slava Paperno

Russian Program, Cornell University

Bringing the real world into the language and culture classroom: The Anthrax Diaries and other documentaries in Cornell's Russian program
Reception preceding and following the talk

Slava Paperno will speak about his writing class for third-year Russian students, where an important component is the use of full-length documentaries that are filmed and produced specifically for courses in language and everyday culture. Excerpts from films will be shown, including Slava's current project on biological weapons in Russia.
October 18
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Greg Kessler
Professor of CALL
        University of Ohio

New Tools and CALL Methods for Writing Instruction
Noyes Lodge 4:00pm
Reception preceding and following the talk

We live in a world with varied emerging technologies and contexts in which we can practice writing. This new media landscape offers unique opportunities for language teachers and learners. Navigating these resources is often confusing or overwhelming. Consequently, it can be difficult to identify the potential of these emerging contexts. This talk will focus on opportunities to expand writing practices within creative, collaborative and constructive tools and contexts. The presenter will also explore a variety of suggestions for writing activities and practices within these new and emerging writing contexts.

Professor Kessler has suggested a reading to accompany his talk: "Preparing Tomorrow's Second Language Writing Teachers to Use Technology," Chapter 11 in Technology Across Writing Contexts and Tasks ed. by Greg Kessler, Ana Oskoz and Idoia Elola. CALICO Monograph Series Volume 10. CALICO 2012.
November 7
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Neil Anderson
Professor of Linguistics and English Language
        Brigham Young University

Curricularizing Reading Fluency
Noyes Lodge 4:00pm
Reception preceding and following the talk
ABSTRACT: This presentation introduces a pedagogical framework for reading fluency in L2 reading. The ACTIVE reading framework suggests that six components can be part of reading instruction: A: Activate prior knowledge C: Cultivate vocabulary T: Teach for comprehension I: Increase reading rate V: Verify reading strategies E: Evaluate progress The presentation will focus specifically on ways that teachers can curricularize reading fluency by building readers' comprehension skills and reading rate. Participants will have the opportunity to consider how these elements can be integrated into their philosophy of teaching L2 reading.

Professor Anderson has recommend two readings as background and preparation for his talk: Anderson, N. J. (2009). ACTIVE reading: The research base for a pedagogical approach in the reading classroom. In Z. Han & N. J. Anderson (Eds.), L2 reading research and instruction: Crossing the boundaries (pp. 117-143). Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press. And Anderson, N. J. (2012). Reading instruction. In A. Burns & J. C. Richards (Eds.), The Cambridge guide to pedagogy and practice in second language teaching (pp. 218-225). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
December 4
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
LRC Fall Workshop
9am- 12pm, followed by light lunch
Noyes Lodge
The workshop will include a panel on reports from the ACTFL convention, a demonstration of the use of COLLT for class exercises, some notes on changes in the LRC, a demonstration of the new VideoBooth service, and a demonstration and hands-on session on "Take Control of Microsoft Word."
January 31
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Neil Kubler
Stanfield Professor of Asian Studies
        Williams College

Considerations in Developing a Modern Language Textbook

Noyes Lodge 4:00pm
Reception preceding and following the talk
ABSTRACT: The first thing anyone setting out to develop a new modern language textbook needs to be clear about is who the intended users of the materials are. What is their age? What is their native language? For what purpose are they studying the language? The situations, functions, grammar, and vocabulary introduced for speaking and reading should be selected based on frequency of occurrence for Americans. Language learning is so complex an undertaking and learners' personalities are so different that no single method of language teaching can meet the needs of all learners at all times; this calls for carefully considered eclecticism and redundancy of approach. Maximum flexibility of use is, in general, to be desired; textbook writers should anticipate the varied needs of the users of their materials and leave options open wherever possible. A special effort needs to be made to present natural, idiomatic, and up-to-date language samples as opposed to stilted "textbook style." Attention to behavioral culture and sociolinguistic aspects is essential, since proficiency in pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary alone is insufficient for effective intercultural communication. Special instruction on participation in the foreign culture by the non-native should be included, since the non-native's situation will inevitably differ from that of the native. This is one reason why it's important that both natives and non-natives participate in the writing of the textbook. Only natives will have perfect linguistic control and be authentic cultural models for learners, but only non-natives with advanced proficiency in the language and extensive in-country residence will know what it's like to function as foreigners in the society whose language is being learned.

Professor Kubler has suggested some readings related to textbook writing as preparation for his talk: a checklist for writing new materials, and an excerpt from the beginning of his textbook.
February 13
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Joanna Luks
French Program, Department of Romance Studies

Exploring the Literary in the Everyday

Noyes Lodge 4:00pm
Reception preceding and following the talk
As Cornell administrators, departments, language programs and faculty look ahead to new proposals for better serving campus needs in regards to foreign language teaching and learning, it turns out that one of the Cornell language teachers has some powerful and original suggestions to make. Joanna Luks has devised a transdisciplinary approach to teaching reading and writing, which she calls "The literary in the everyday," that can be applied across languages. She has created a set of pedagogical materials in French and a substantial introduction, both theoretical and practical, to her approach in English. It attempts to address the bifurcation discussed in the 2007 MLA report between lower level language courses and upper level literature "content" courses by developing reading and writing processes that build on the metaphorical nature of language at every level. Her project will be published this spring in the form of an Open Educational Resource (OER), hosted by the UT Austin Center for Open Education Resources and Language Learning (COERLL).

This event is not a talk by her, but a discussion among those interested in her approach. Here is a link to the draft of her introductory text and the first and second units as examples. Joanna would also be happy to show further examples in order to give a sense of the range. Come prepared to ask questions, but also to discuss what this approach might or might not look like in your language.

You may also contact Joanna via e-mail:
February 25
Monday, February 25, 2013
Glenn Levine
Professor of German and German Language Director
        University of California, Irvine

Language Choice during Study Abroad and in the Classroom

Noyes Lodge 4:00pm
Reception preceding and following the talk
Many U.S. university students go abroad to a second-language environment with the expectation that they will be 'immersed' in the language and culture. But does the reality hold up to this expectation? How do students make use of their languages in different contexts in their daily lives? How do they use their languages online through social networking sites and other digital media? In this presentation I will describe a study of a group of students studying abroad in Germany, focusing in particular on the language choices the students make in their day-to-day interactions. Based on the initial findings, the next steps of the study will be detailed, which will entail participant-observer 'immersion' on the part of the researcher. Finally, implications for language choice issues during second-language instruction in advance of the study-abroad experience will be addressed, in particular the implications of the exclusive L2 use approach adopted in many language classes.

Professor Levine has suggested some readings to prepare for his talk: Levine, G., "Building Meaning Through Code Choice in Second Language Learner Interaction: A D/discourse Analysis and Proposals for Curriculum Design and Teaching," in First Language Use in Second and Foreign Language Learning, Turnbull and Daily-O'Cain eds. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters, 2009; and Kinginger, C. "American Students Abroad: Negotiation of difference? Language Teaching Volume 43, #2, April 2010.
April 12-14
Friday April 12 through Sunday April 14, 2013
Annual Conference of NEALLT at Cornell University
Northeast Association of Language Learning and Technology
NEALLT brings together mostly higher education teachers from around the Northeast to present their ideas about the innovative use of technology in language teaching/learning. To attend, you need to register online.
April 23
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Peer-to-Peer Active Learning through Skype
3pm, reception following
Noyes Lodge
Michela Baraldi, Italian Program
Engaging Cornell students in collaborative learning with Italian students in Italy via Skype has proven to be the best way to realize out-of-class peer-to-peer activities whose results go beyond fostering language proficiency and cultural awareness.

I will explain how the project has changed in the last four semesters, in collaboration with university professors and high school teachers, and what I am planning to do next year in order to reach the best results for the students.

Co-sponsored with the Center for Teaching Excellence
May 7
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
LRC Spring Workshop
9am- 12pm, followed by light lunch
Noyes Lodge

At this workshop, we first discussed some short items: VideoBooth is working well and has been used by many students. All agreed we should join the Berkeley Film Clip library. SCOLA has incorporated new features and resources. Gunhild Lischke demonstrated her use of a document camera. News from the Consortium: a workshop on Culturá won the competition for Consortium support; more will be supported. Cathy Baumann from Chicago has assumed the presidency of the organization; Elsa Amanatidou from Brown is vice-president. A symposium on sutdent collaboration is planner here in November (that has now been cancelled). There will be a large event in Chicago on April 14 on program coordination with other units. There are 5 travel grants available from the C.

For half an hour, attendees brainstormed about ideas for a new language center, given that the LRC may be moving to a new site. Dick will process those ideas and send them back out on the listserve.

Slava Paperno talked about the new version of WAL and his large project of moving a cultural/language site from a DVD to mobile platform. Finally, Tomás Beviá talked about his ideas for a new language app, followed by discussion.