Skip to main content
Language Resource Center
September 8

Friday September 8, 4:30pm
Physical Sciences Building 120

Thomas Garza, University Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor
Director, Texas Language Center and Arabic Flagship Program, U Texas Austin

"Culturally Speaking: Intercultural Communication and Attaining Advanced Proficiency in L2"
Preparing learners for careers that require professional proficiency in a given language demands a reexamination of curricula and materials used in our classrooms. For students of LCTLs, intercultural communication plays an increasingly critical role in move from ACTFL Intermediate to Advanced levels of proficiency. The interrelation between language and culture becomes central in the development and use of materials and the creation of level-appropriate tasks. This talk examines the use of authentic materials and realia in the attainment of intercultural competence and, ultimately, Advanced L2 proficiency.

This talk is part of the Southeast Asia Language Pedagogy Workshop "Southeast Asian Language Teaching: New Directions" an event open to the public. AND
Saturday September 9 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM Morrill Hall, Room 106
"Backward Design and Forward Development: Materials for the Proficiency-Based Classroom"
September 15

Friday September 15, 3:30-5pm
Stimson Hall Ground Floor

Teacher Reception for New Language Center

Come view the new Language Resource Center in Stimson Hall. The space has been elegantly remodeled by the university to suit the needs of the LRC. You can tour the facilities and engage in conversation about the new mission of the center, while partaking of some food and drink.
October 2 and 3)

Monday October 2 at 3:30pm and Tuesday October 3 at 4:30
Stimson Hall G27

Workshop in Playposit
For the second year, the LRC has contracted with Playposit for video services. This company provides an online environment that facilitates powerful pedagogical treatment of video clips for student learning. They have substantially changed their interface to make it more transparent but also more powerful. Come experience Playposit and see if it could be a part of your teaching program. Both teachers new to Playposit and experienced with it are invited. We will repeat the same program October 2 and 3.

October 16

Monday, October 16, 4pm Stimson Hall G25
Followed by reception

Kate Paesani
Director, Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition, University of Minnesota

"Do You Hear What I Hear?
Foreign Language Listening and the Multiliteracies Framework"

Large-scale, cross-institutional proficiency testing reveals that in the first two years of collegiate foreign language instruction, listening lags behind other modalities (Gass & Winke, forthcoming; Tschirner, 2016). This result may be due to a lack of classroom instructional activities explicitly focused on listening or to pedagogical approaches that do not adequately engage students in interpretive communication tasks. In this talk, I argue that the multiliteracies framework (Cope & Kalantzis, 2009; New London Group, 1996) is one approach for more effectively developing students' interpretive listening abilities through interaction with audio and audiovisual texts. To begin, I describe the PACE project, a three-year proficiency initiative undertaken at the University of Minnesota, and present listening results of students from seven languages. To address the impact of this project on language instruction and curriculum design, I then focus on the lower-level Spanish program and its application of the multiliteracies framework to redesign interpretive communication lesson plans based on PACE project results. Empirical evidence from the analysis of 25 interpretive lesson plans reveals that lessons do not fully reflect the components of multiliteracies pedagogy, suggesting that students do not have sufficient opportunities to interpret meaning during listening activities. I close with implications of this project for foreign language curriculum, instruction, and teacher professional development.

Bio: Kate Paesani (Ph.D., Indiana University) is Director of the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) and affiliate Associate Professor in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on literacy-based curriculum and instruction and foreign language teacher development, couched within the frameworks of multiliteracies pedagogy and sociocultural theory. Her work has appeared in journals such as Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, Foreign Language Annals, The French Review, L2 Journal, and Reading in a Foreign Language, and she is co-author of the book A Multiliteracies Framework for Collegiate Foreign Language Teaching (Pearson, 2016).
November 15
Wednesday, November 15, 4pm Stimson G25
Followed by reception

Morten Christiansen, Professor of Psychology
Cornell University

"Squeezing through the Now-or-Never Bottleneck: Chunking in L1 and L2 Learning"
Language happens in the here-and-now. Our memory for linguistic input is fleeting. New material rapidly interferes with previous material. How then can the brain deal successfully with the continual deluge of linguistic input? I propose that, to deal with this "Now-or-Never" bottleneck, the brain must incrementally compress and recode language input as rapidly as possible into increasingly more abstract of levels of linguistic representation. This chunking-based perspective has profound implications for the nature of language processing, acquisition, and change. Focusing on language acquisition, I draw on computational modeling and human experimentation to illustrate the implications for L1 and L2 learning. I conclude that the immediacy of language processing provides a critical constraint on accounts of language acquisition, implying that acquisition fundamentally involves learning to process, rather than inducing a grammar.
December 5
Tuesday, December 5, 11am - 12pm, Stimson G25 and other rooms
Followed by lunch

The agenda for this workshop has changed due to personal issues of the original speaker
As a result, we have changed the agenda for the workshop and shortened it to one hour before lunch, from 11 to 12. We will have several topics going on concurrently
  • The Language House and language conversation groups (currently 10 languages)
  • Web Audio Lab and new features demonstrated in Burmese
  • Videoconference classes and local class recordings
  • Playposit demonstrations by local teachers
We'll conclude with a short plenary update about the future of the language resource center, given Dick Feldman's impending retirement in June 2018, and then, of course, lunch.
February 22
Thursday, February 22, 4pm, Stimson G25
Followed by reception

Susan Gass, University Distinguished Professor
Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages
Michigan State University

"Learning to Listen: Can Captions Help?"
Listening skills are often the last skill to develop in foreign language learning. This presentation will focus on classroom use of listening-based videos with a particular emphasis on the use of captions for language teaching/learning in foreign language classrooms. I will first present results from large scale assessments at Michigan State University. From these results, we can better understand how proficiency in listening compares to proficiency in other skills. One common tool for teaching listening is to use captions to aid in understanding. However, the usefulness of this pedagogical tool is mitigated by a number of factors. I will present results from studies in which the focus was on the relative usefulness of captions depending on language, proficiency, and order of presentation when listening materials are played twice (with and without captions). I will also look at eye-tracking data from English learners of Spanish and Chinese and Arabic learners of English. The eye-tracking data, coupled with working memory data, provide insight into the attentional focus of captions and the potentially resultant split-attention effect. I will end with some pedagogical implications.