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CARLA Update - Electronic Newsletter - top header and logo

Winter 2021

CARLA Staff Photo


  • 2021 CARLA Summer Institute Program
    Registration is Open!

CARLA Program Updates

  • Multiliteracies Pedagogy Workshop Series
  • Midwest Association for Language Learning Technology Conference

CARLA Resources

  • CARLA Online Presentation Series
  • CARLA Online Workshops

CARLA @ Conferences

  • CSCTFL 2021 Convention
  • AAAL 2021 Conference

Announcements - section header
Logo: CARLA Summer Institutes 2021

Register Now!

2021 CARLA Summer Institute Program for Language Teachers

The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) at the University of Minnesota has provided high-quality professional development for language teachers for over twenty-five years. Launched in 1996, this internationally known program reflects CARLA's commitment to link research and theory with practical applications for the classroom. Each institute is highly interactive and includes discussion, hands-on activities, and networking. All of the 2021 CARLA Summer Institutes will be taught online in either an asynchronous or synchronous format.

CARLA Summer Institute participants—more than 6,700 to date—have come from every state and from countries all over the world. They have included foreign/world language, ESL/EFL, heritage language, and immersion educators at all levels of instruction, as well as program administrators, curriculum specialists, and language teacher educators.

Join us for the 26th annual CARLA Summer Institute Program in 2021!

Synchronous Summer Institutes

Creativity in the Language Classroom: Fostering Student Learning Through Creative Language Experiences
June 21–25, 2021

Instructors: Anne Cummings Hlas and Amy Young

Content-Based Language Instruction and Curriculum Development
June 21–25, 2021

Instructor: Laurent Cammarata

Secondary Dual Language and Immersion: Achieving the Promise of Continuation ProgramsExpanded!
June 21–25, 2021 
Instructor: Cory Mathieu

Critical Approaches to Heritage Language Education
July 12–16, 2021

Instructors: Jenna Cushing-Leubner and J. Eik Diggs

Building on Effective Uses of Technology in Second Language TeachingNew!
July 19–23, 2021

Instructors: Adolfo Carrillo Cabello, Marlene Johnshoy, and Dan Soneson

Assessing Language Learners' Communication Skills via Authentic Communicative Performance Tasks
July 19–23, 2021

Instructor: Donna Clementi

Foreign Language Literacies: Using Target Language Texts to Improve Communication
July 19–23, 2021

Instructors: Mandy Menke and Kate Paesani

Teaching Language Through the Lens of Social Justice
July 26–30, 2021

Instructors: Cassandra Glynn, Beth Wassell, and Pamela Wesely

Asynchronous Summer Institutes

Transitioning to Teaching Language Online
June 18–July 18, 2021—Intensive 4-week online institute
Instructors: Ritu Jayakar, Marlene Johnshoy, and Frances Matos

Using the Web for Communicative Language Learning
June 28–July 30, 2021
Instructor: Florencia Henshaw

Meaningful Portfolio Implementation: Using Goal Setting, Reflection, and Thinking Routines to Enhance Student Proficiency
June 28–July 30, 2021

Instructors: Stephanie Knight and Julie Sykes (Special collaboration with CASLS)

Language and Culture in Sync: Teaching Linguistic Politeness and Intercultural Awareness
June 28–July 16, 2021

Instructor: Noriko Ishihara

Practical Program Evaluation for Language TeachersNew!
June 28–July 16, 2021 
Instructors: Margaret Malone and Malik Stevenson (Special collaboration with AELRC)

Teaching World Languages and Cultures in Elementary Settings
June 28–July 16, 2021

Instructor: Leah Shepard-Carey

Culture as the Core in the Second Language Classroom
July 12–30, 2021
Instructors: Martha Bigelow and Kaishan Kong

Information and Registration

  • Find detailed information about each institute on the CARLA Summer Institute webpage.
  • Register by April 30 to save $50. CARLA Summer Institutes fill quickly, so register early!
  • Graduate-level credit is available for many of the institutes in partnership with the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development and College of Liberal Arts. Additional tuition/fees apply.


Program Updates - section header

Multiliteracies Pedagogy Workshop Series
for Postsecondary Language Teachers

CARLA Director Kate Paesani and her colleague Heather Willis Allen from the University of Wisconsin-Madison are leading a FREE two-part workshop series on multiliteracies pedagogy specifically designed for postsecondary language educators.

Part 1: Rethinking Interpretative Communication – A Multiliteracies Approach

Friday, February 19, 2021
2:00–3:30 p.m. (Central Time)
Register online

This workshop will provide a conceptual foundation for teaching target language texts and interpretive communication using multiliteracies pedagogy. Taking communicative language teaching as a point of departure, participants will reflect on their understandings of concepts such as communicative competence, input, comprehension, and language functions and situate these understandings in relation to multiliteracies concepts. This work will provide a foundation for designing lessons that encourage both the comprehension and interpretation of target language texts. It will also prepare participants for part 2 of this workshop series.

Part 2: A Multiliteracies Approach to Target Language Texts – Analyzing and Creating Interpretive Lessons

Friday, March 5, 2021
2:00–3:30 p.m. (Central Time)
Register Online

This workshop builds on the conceptual foundation established in Rethinking Interpretative Communication: A Multiliteracies Approach by allowing participants to apply their knowledge of multiliteracies pedagogy. Participants will work with existing text-based instructional materials to evaluate their effectiveness and to adapt them following multiliteracies principles. To facilitate this work, participants should identify one or two reading, listening, or viewing activities from their current textbook (or a text-based activity of their own creation) that they wish to refresh and retool during the workshop.

These workshops are jointly sponsored by the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Participants are encouraged to attend both workshops but are not required to do so.

Additional Information


Midwest Association for Language Learning Technology (MWALLT) 2021 Lightning Conference

Saturday, February 13, 2021
8:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m. (Central Time)

The goal of the MWALLT Lightning Conference is to provide practical information about emerging technologies and approaches that can be easily implemented in the foreign language classroom. The new, lively conference format offers two session types:

  • Lightning talk: 10-minute presentation to share online activities/tech tips
  • Mini-workshop:  60-minute exploration of a topic introduced in a lightning talk

Register now on the MWALLT website.

Program Updates - section header

CARLA Online Presentation Series

Each semester, CARLA offers a series of presentations on research taking place at the University of Minnesota along with invited presentations on topics that are of vital importance in the field.

Register to attend one or all of the free presentations listed below:

The Acquisition of the Voicing Contrast in L2 Spanish by L1 Chinese Speakers:
A Cross-sectional Study

Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Noon–1 p.m. (Central Time)
Register here for the Zoom link

Much of what is known about the phonological development in second language Spanish is based on studies of L1 English speakers. This body of research has shown common pathways in the road of phonological acquisition; however, our understanding is limited by the lack of systematic investigation of learners from distinct linguistic backgrounds, by the scarcity of studies that include both production and perception data, and of speakers in the early and most advanced stages of L2 acquisition. To that end, this study explores the developmental patterns in the production and perception of Spanish stop consonants (/b, d, g, p, t, k/) in an uncommonly studied but growing population, Chinese learners of Spanish, at six levels of proficiency, from true beginners to near-native speakers.

The study data comes from fieldwork conducted in Spain between February and July of 2019 and includes three reading tasks, one perception task, and a language engagement questionnaire from 80 students. Based on research using mixed-effect models, the presenter will describe the L2 category formation of Spanish stops in reference to linguistic and individual factors. She will also discuss the contribution of this research to current models of second language speech.

Presenter: Celia Bravo Díaz is a Ph.D. candidate in Hispanic Linguistics in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at the University of Minnesota.

Ojibwe Language and Collaboration on Forest Walks: Considerations for Indigenous Language and Knowledge Development

Monday, February 8, 2021
Noon–1 p.m. (Central Time)
Register here for the Zoom link

Indigenous language reclamation efforts are pushing academic ideas of what language is to be accountable to Indigenous epistemologies. As Indigenous immersion school efforts aim to grow more young speakers, it is important to understand how these speakers engage their linguistic, cultural, and land-based knowledge and relationships in intergenerational engagements on and with land. In this project, we examine episodes from three forest walks, taken from a broader corpus of walks (14), to describe how one Elder walking with groups of two children constructed knowledge and joint meaning-making in the Ojibwe language while walking on Ojibwe lands. Working from a framework that an Indigenous epistemology is embodied in these cultural ecologies, we explore how seeing humans as a part of the natural world, at play on the walks, facilitates language and other knowledge development. The project points to implications for designing learning and teaching of Indigenous language that is not limited to language-as-code or communicative tool, but that goes hand in hand with holistic concepts of Indigenous ways of being and knowing.

Presenters: James McKenzie is a Diné Ph.D. student at the University of Arizona focused on Indigenous language and culture maintenance and revitalization, Indigenous immersion education and Indigenous culture-based education. He has worked in academic and community settings in his homelands to contribute to and organize efforts for Diné language and culture maintenance and revitalization. James is a graduate of the MA in Second Language Education at the University of Minnesota.
Mary "Fong" Hermes is Professor of Second Language Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Minnesota. She has worked as an indigenous community member, decolonizing the university for 25 years. Focused on Ojibwe language revitalization, her work now is transdisciplinary, and she is thinking about how to reconnect humans to more-than-humans and place.

Invited CARLA Presentation:
A Journey of Organizational Transformation through Radical Listening

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Noon–1 p.m. (Central Time)

Register here for the Zoom link

Organizations often find themselves enabling systemic oppression and maintaining existing experiences with privilege and marginalization. How do we restructure our organizations to interrupt privilege and better amplify and serve marginalized communities? Hear the story of how one organization–the Minnesota Council on the Teaching of Languages and Cultures–uses radical listening to learn from those who are often silenced in order to make meaningful changes. Learn actionable steps your own organization might take to amplify immigrant, Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) narratives. Transform your organization through intentional changes driven by equity and inclusion.

Presenters: Abelardo Almazán-Vásquez has been a Spanish teacher at The Putney School for ten years.
Dr. Jenna Cushing-Leubner is an Assistant Professor in World Languages Education, ESL, and Bilingual/Bicultural Education at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Megan Budke is a teacher and leader at Wayzata Public Schools in Minnesota, where she teaches middle school Spanish and serves as a world language curriculum coordinator.
Pang Yang is a veteran English as a Second Language & Heritage Hmong teacher at Osseo Public Schools, Minnesota.

CARLA Fellow Presentation:
The Impact of Task Complexity and Language Proficiency on the Written Production of Second-Generation Spanish Heritage Speakers

Thursday, March 11, 2021
Noon–1 p.m. (Central Time)
Register here for the Zoom link

Although there have been numerous studies investigating the effects of task complexity on second language performance, a limited number (cf. Torres, 2013, 2018) has examined the impact of task complexity and language proficiency on Spanish heritage speakers’ written production. This presentation will discuss how changes in task complexity manipulated along ± reasoning demands (resource-directing cognitive factor) of Robinson’s (2007) Triadic Componential Framework impact the complexity, accuracy, and fluency (CAF) of second-generation Spanish heritage speakers’ argumentative writing. Likewise, this presentation will explore if their performance differs according to their linguistic competence as tested through a modified version of the DELE exam. Results will be discussed in relation to the Cognition Hypothesis (Robinson, 2001) and pedagogical implications will be addressed.

Presenter: Vivian H. Franco Díaz is a Ph.D. candidate in Hispanic Linguistics in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at the University of Minnesota.

Language Use Patterns in a Spanish Immersion Algebra Class: Opportunities, Uptake, and Individual Learner Variables

Tuesday, March 30, 2021
Noon–1 p.m. (Central Time)
Register here for the Zoom link

By the time dual language education (DLE) students reach high school, their opportunities to communicate in the minority language are often limited. This is especially true in programs where only two immersion courses per year are required. Typically, one of these courses is a math or science class, whose course content is not language related. The combination of these factors, in addition to students' general reluctance to use the minority language, affects students' continued development of their minority language skills. This study examines a secondary Spanish immersion math class to determine what kinds of opportunities for Spanish use the teacher provides the students, how students take up those opportunities, and the role of individual learner variables in student language use patterns.

Presenter: Lauren Truman is a  Ph.D. candidate in the Spanish and Portuguese Department at the University of Minnesota

Translanguaging Pedagogies in Elementary Classrooms: Widening Possibilities with Long-Term Teacher-Researcher Collaboration

Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Noon–1 p.m. (Central Time)
Register here for the Zoom link

Translanguaging pedagogies demand resistance to the monolingual subjectivities inherent in school systems, yet there are several ideological, ecological, and practical obstacles in implementation (Allard, 2017). As such, teacher-researcher collaboration is one way to push-back and create sustainable change (Tian & Shepard-Carey, 2020). While a growing number of studies surrounding translanguaging pedagogies have utilized collaborative approaches (e.g. Daniel et al., 2019; Liu et al., 2020), few studies have interrogated these approaches in detail. As such this study elucidates how relational dynamics, ecological structures, history, and power shaped collaborative processes and possibilities surrounding translanguaging pedagogies in a linguistically- and culturally-diverse second grade classroom. Drawing on ethnographic methods in connection to a larger multi-year participatory design research study (Bang & Vossoughi, 2016), this study further explores the role of collaboration in developing translanguaging pedagogies with my research partner, Ms. Hassan. Qualitative thematic analysis demonstrated several emergent findings: (a) that the teacher perceived that long-term collaboration not only strengthened students’ multilingual identities and learning processes, (b) facilitated transformative change in ideologies surrounding multilingualism and, (b) further inspired critical thinking and resistance to school norms and policies. I will conclude the presentation with discussion of implications for research and teaching.

Presenter: Leah Shepard-Carey is a Ph.D. in Second Language Education in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Minnesota. As a former public school educator, her research focuses on fostering multilingualism and multilingual literacy practices in early childhood and elementary English-medium classrooms.

CARLA Fellow Presentation:
Searching for Social Justice: Engaging Critical Consciousness & Dialogic Pedagogy through Critical Participatory Action Research

Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Noon–1 p.m. (Central Time)
Register here for the Zoom link

“Social justice” has become a major emphasis in education, so preparing pre-service teachers to develop praxis aimed at educational equity has driven many contemporary trends in teacher preparation programs. However, questions remain about how teacher educators can facilitate pre-service teachers’ consciousness-raising on the conceptualizations and practicalities of teaching for liberation. This presentation examines the ways one teacher educator worked alongside her pre-service English language teachers to reimagine their classroom as a site of dialogic education (Freire, 1970) through a Critical Participatory Action Research (CPAR; Kemmis, McTaggart, & Nixon, 2014) project on the School-to-Prison Pipeline that challenged participants to actively engage in critical explorations of themselves as both intercultural humans and teachers from a lens that extended beyond the walls of their classroom. Through CPAR, participants deconstructed traditional top-down knowledge dissemination pathways and became responsible for and responsive to their own complex journeys of discoveries of who they are as critical teacher-scholars in their sense-making of “social justice.” Implications for the potentials of CPAR as a “practice-changing practice” (Kemmis et al., 2014, p. 2) in language teacher preparation will be discussed.

Presenter: Amanda Swearingen
is a Ph.D. student in Second Language Education at the University of Minnesota.

(Re)designing Materials for Content/Language Integration: Teachers’ Conceptualizations and Enactments in Secondary Dual Language and Immersion

Tuesday, April 27, 2021
Noon–1 p.m. (Central Time)
Register here for the Zoom link

One of the greatest pedagogical challenges for secondary dual language and immersion (DLI) teachers is effectively and systematically integrating language instruction within a content-focused classroom. This presentation discusses a nine-month design-based research study that sought to understand how intentionally designed classroom materials might assist secondary DLI teachers with this endeavor. Drawing on theories of counterbalanced instruction (Tedick & Lyster, 2020) and Systemic Functional Linguistics (Halliday, 1993), I collaborated with two teachers to (re)design their content-focused materials to include language-focused instructional features. This presentation will share how the iterative process of collaborative materials analysis, (re)design, instruction, and reflection shaped the teachers’ conceptualizations and enactments of content and language integration in the classroom. Implications for content-based language teacher education will be discussed.

Presenter: Cory Mathieu
is a Ph.D. candidate in Second Language Education at the University of Minnesota.

Additional Information

decorative: participants at a conference CARLA Online Workshops

Considering Issues of Equity in Secondary Dual Language and Immersion Education

Saturday, February 27, 2021
9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. (Central Time)
Online via Zoom
Cost: $30–Register Now!

As dual language and immersion (DLI) programs enter middle and high schools, issues of equity can be difficult to pinpoint and address within the logistics and constraints of the broader school environment. In this interactive, three-hour workshop, designed for both classroom teachers and administrators, we will engage in critical discussions about some of the challenges related to academic, linguistic, and cultural equity in diverse secondary DLI programs. Taking both program and classroom-level perspectives, we will explore research-based recommendations for policies and practices that equitably affirm minoritized DLI students within mainstream educational systems. Some topics for discussion include: program structure and logistics; student perspectives of secondary DLI programs; target language development and translanguaging; and differentiating for linguistically and ethnically diverse groups of students. Participants will have opportunities to reflect on areas of growth for their own schools as well as learn from the experiences and successes of others.

After this workshop, you will be able to:

  • recognize common issues of equity in secondary DLI programs as found in recent research;
  • identify (in)equitable school policies and classroom practices that in your educational context; and
  • generate ways to support minoritized students—and their languages and cultures—in your DLI program.

Presenter: Cory Mathieu is a Ph.D. Candidate in Second Language Education at the University of Minnesota. She taught high school Spanish prior to her graduate studies and she now teaches courses for practicing teachers in the Dual Language and Immersion Education certificate program at the University.

Target Audience: This workshop is designed for teachers and administrators in secondary (middle and high school) dual language and immersion programs.

Now What? Considering Career Readiness in Second and Foreign Languages in Times of Crisis

Date: Saturday, April 17, 2021
Time: 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. (Central Time)
Online via Zoom
Cost: $30–Register Now!

The explicit promise of making students ‘career ready’ is now a hallmark of most U.S. educational institutions, with different models of career readiness programs employed across institutions, disciplines, and sub-fields. At the same time, against the backdrop of a global pandemic and political upheaval, and given an ongoing societal crisis precipitated by economic, gender, and racial injustices, a number of critical questions emerge. These questions range from the basic (e.g., what is career readiness, why is it important now, and how can it support learning goals?) to the more complex (e.g., who does career readiness benefit, and how do career readiness programs support cycles of inequality or work to break them?). This workshop will provide attendees with an understanding of the basics of career readiness and its applications in the field of second and foreign language teaching, will address crucial questions for language teaching and learning generated by current career readiness frameworks and practices, and will outline a critical, disciplinary-grounded approach for moving forward. The workshop will also present examples of how this approach is being applied to a multi-section intermediate level Spanish course, propose best practices, and highlight areas for continued research in the field. The interactive format includes whole group presentation segments, individual reflection moments, and multiple opportunities for small group discussion.

After this workshop, you will be able to:

  • describe the main elements of career readiness programs and problematize their use in the second language classroom;
  • connect career readiness competencies and tools to learning objectives related to social and economic justice and language learning; and
  • begin to design a small scale integration of career readiness in a course you teach.

Presenter: Sara Mack, Ph.D., is Senior Lecturer and Coordinator in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies and a 2020-21 College of Liberal Arts Career Readiness Initiative Faculty Engagement Specialist at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. Her research interests include equity and access in higher education, metacognitive regulatory processes in classroom-based learning, sociophonetics, and learning and memory.

Target audience: This workshop is designed for language educators at the high school and postsecondary levels.

Information and Registration


CARLA Presentations - section header

Check out the following conference presentations that will be given by CARLA staff members and University of Minnesota colleagues this spring.

CSCTFL Conference logoCentral States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages 2021 Virtual Convention

March 11–13, 2021

Connecting Roman and Non-Roman Languages to Proficiency Ratings
Gatekeeping strategies such as placement tests account for prior exposure to the target language in order to place learners in level-appropriate courses. Such strategies, however, disregard intrinsic differences between Roman and Non-Roman languages. This study reports speaking and reading proficiency ratings of 479 learners in relation to language groups, and identifies factors affecting ratings, such as contexts of engagement.
Presenters: Hossam Elsherbiny and Adolfo Carrillo Cabello, University of Minnesota

Language Learners’ Psychological Identification and Motivational Enhancement
This presentation will discuss one Japanese classroom’s attempt to further global connections by inviting Caren Stelson, the author of “SACHIKO: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story,” as a guest speaker. Her lecture brought about an unexpected increase in learners’ motivation to continue their language study. The presenter will share the impact on them through several years of post-event surveys.
Presenter: Keiko Kawakami, University of Minnesota 

Note: The full schedule for CSCTFL Virtual Convention has not yet been posted. Please check the CSCTFL website for details about sessions at a later date.

AAAL 2021 Virtual Conference

March 20–23, 2021

Invited Wilga Rivers Language Pedagogy Colloquium:
Language Program Direction: Current and Future Trends (AAUSC@AAAL)

The American Association of University Supervisors and Coordinators (AAUSC) is a national organization of applied linguists who contribute to curriculum, instruction, assessment, and teacher professional development in U.S. colleges and universities. Often overlooked in applied linguistics circles, postsecondary programs are critical to developing the nation’s foreign language capacity. The purpose of this session is thus to collaboratively explore current trends and future directions in research related to postsecondary language instruction and beyond. To meet this goal, presentations address language program direction from six perspectives: multilingual speakership; learner-centeredness; proficiency development; complex dynamic systems; multiliteracies pedagogy; and digital environments. Each of the presentations highlights the rapidly changing landscape of postsecondary language programs (e.g., decreasing numbers of language majors in relation to minors; heavy reliance on contingent faculty; shifts away from communicative language teaching toward language-content integrated approaches) as it relates to the social turn in applied linguistics.

The Individual Learner and Person-Centeredness: Implications for Research and Teaching
Presenter: Carol Klee, University of Minnesota

The Proficiency Profile of Post-Secondary Language Students
Presenter: Susan Gass and Paula Winke, Michigan State University

An Ecological Approach to Pedagogy, Program Direction, and Graduate Teacher Education
Presenter: Bridget Swanson, University of Vermont

Re-envisioning L2 Hybrid and Online Courses as Digital Open Learning and Teaching Environments: Opportunities and Challenges
Presenter: Joshua Thoms, Utah State University

Teacher Development and Multiliteracies Pedagogy: Challenges and Opportunities for Postsecondary Language Programs
Presenter: Heather Willis Allen, University of Wisconsin-Madison

L2 Speakership and the Transnational Paradigm
Presenter: Carl S. Blyth, University of Texas at Austin

Discussants: Johanna Watzinger-Tharp, University of Utah and Kate Paesani, University of Minnesota

Note: The full schedule for the AAAL Virtual Conference has not yet been posted. Please check the AAAL website for details about sessions at a later date.


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The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) at the University of Minnesota is a research and resource center devoted to improving language teaching and learning.

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