Growing Learner Language:

A Hands-On Approach to
Developing the Language Learners Produce

July 24–28, 2017

Elaine Tarone and Maggie Broner


The focus of this institute is on the growth and development of the language learners produce, and how that growth may be enhanced by ongoing pedagogical innovation. This institute (described by past participants as "a veritable spa for language teachers") uses the problem-solving framework of Exploratory Practice to promote a culture of instructor initiative that promotes and responds to learner language development in the classroom.

Participants begin with a brief review of theories of second language acquisition, and then work together to reflect on videos of learner language as it is produced by different kinds of learners. Institute participants work with instructors to identify specific features in these learners' language. Participants then apply those insights to their own classrooms by learning how to set up engaging, puzzle-solving activities that stimulate growth in learner language. Finally, participants learn how to design pre- and post-course measures that demonstrate the impact of their innovations in instruction on the growth of specific features and dimensions of learner language in their own classrooms.

Program Schedule (9am-4pm)

Day 1
  • Taking the Learner's Perspective
Day 2
  • Learner Language Development in Interaction
Day 3
  • Finding Out What Learners Know
  • Designing Classroom Activities and Tasks
Day 4
  • CBI and Critical Thinking to Attain Advanced Proficiency
Day 5
  • Implications for Pedagogy

After this institute, you will be able to:


CARLA Globe"This institute was wonderful. I gained a greater awareness of my students' learner language and how to respond to it in order to help them meet their goals as learners."
— Learner Language Institute Participant



Elaine Tarone is Distinguished Teaching Professor Emerita at the University of Minnesota and past Director of CARLA. She is well known internationally for her research and teaching on the topic of second language acquisition.

Maggie Broner is associate professor and current chair of the Romance Languages Department at St. Olaf College, Minnesota. She has presented and published her research on second language learning and content-based instruction in a wide range of national professional venues.

Gwen Barnes-Karol, professor at St. Olaf College, will join the institute to share her expertise.

Target Audience
: Middle school through postsecondary foreign language and ESL teachers, language teacher educators, and administrators. Not designed for teachers of younger children.


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Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA)
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