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Archived Content from Conference Held in May 2007 

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Bridging Contexts, Making connections

Conference Workshops

Thursday, May 31, 2007

10 am – Noon

Pre-Conference Workshops


1:30 – 3:30 pm

Pre-Conference Workshops


Morning Workshops

Issues and Models for Technology and Teacher Development
10 a.m. – noon
Jenise Rowekamp, University of Minnesota

At present, there is much demand for language teacher development in using technology. While students are often "digital natives," teachers are more likely to be "digital immigrants" (Prensky, 2001). Access to technology is increasing in both personal and educational arenas and the use of technology is commonly viewed as an integral and essential component of modern life and learning. Yet teachers still often lack the basic knowledge and skills to use technology effectively in their teaching and opportunities for teacher development in technology that are specific to second language teaching are not widespread, especially at the K-12 level. Approaches to teacher development in this area vary substantially; exploring the following questions can be helpful when planning language teacher development opportunities in technology.

Who are the teacher-learners and what is the teaching situation?
What is the content for teacher development in technology and language teaching?
What are some models for organizing and delivering the teacher development experience?

This workshop will examine possible responses to the above questions and present models for addressing them. Links to relevant web resources will be provided as well as references to scholarly work and research in the area.
(* Limit 24 participants)

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5), NCB University Press.

Taking Task to Text: Exploring Text-Based Tasks in Content-Based Instruction
10 a.m. – noon
Marianna Ryshina-Pankova, George Mason University  (*note NEW presenter*)

Expanding the notion of task beyond sentence- and oral-based communication of daily life towards textual and literacy orientation typical of the contexts of public and professional language use can make task an effective tool 1) for selecting and sequencing learning of language and content within a course or an entire curriculum, 2) for shaping pedagogical practices, and 3) for assessing content and L2/FL acquisition. Such re-conceptualization of task becomes possible by connecting task to genre, as it is defined in systemic-functional grammar (Halliday 2004) as a “staged goal-oriented purposeful activity with its own schematic structures” (Martin, 1985, 251). Reinterpreting task as genre-based allows one to combine instruction on various aspects that define a successful FL program: language, on the level of text (organizational structure or stages) and lexicogrammar, content, and socio-cultural perspectives.

Drawing from the experience with implementing a four-year integrated FL curriculum at Georgetown University German Department, the presenter will first illustrate to the participants precisely how task and genre can be central design principles in a content-based FL curriculum aimed at developing advanced abilities in a FL. The participants will then be introduced to a genre analysis of a text used at a particular point in the curricular sequence and a specific task based on it and learn how work with text and task targets acquisition of specific content and language features at various levels of the language system (from global organization features to lexicogrammatical selection). Finally, the participants will examine a text as an example of a particular genre and use provided guidelines for task construction to create their own.
(* Limit 30 participants)

Culture Revitalization in Curriculum, Instruction, and Other Program Practices
10 a.m. – noon
William H. “Pila” Wilson, Keiki Kawaiaea, University of Hawaii at Hilo

This unique workshop will focus on Hawaiian language revitalization through preK-12 Hawaiian language immersion schooling with supportive tertiary level language and culture teaching. Attention will be given to the stages of indigenous immersion program development from the initial interest of college age adults to the creation of preschools for their children which then develop into preK-12 programming. Participants will also learn about the many challenges in navigating school systems and sometimes conflicting community interests and strategies to address these challenges.
(* Limit 30 participants)

Basics of Second Language Acquisition for Teachers
10 a.m. – noon
Maggie Broner, St. Olaf College
Elaine Tarone, University of Minnesota

Too often, an SLA course asks teachers to consume information about research done, without giving them a chance to develop their own skills in looking at learner language. This workshop, designed for language teacher educators, demonstrates an approach to basic SLA for language teachers that can develop their confidence in their own skills in analyzing learner language, as they use the knowledge gained to improve their own pedagogy. The presenters will walk workshop participants through some central activities for language teachers, demonstrating how these can function in a basic SLA course for teachers, soliciting participant questions and comments as they go.

Participants begin with a brief review of their current assumptions about the way people learn languages, considering such questions as: What is the impact of the native language on one's acquisition of a second language? How important are imitation and practice for language learning? Does it help to correct learners when they make errors?

Discussion and group work will then focus on what we consider to be central research concepts about learners' development of grammaticality in a second language. We will review research findings about second language learners' changing knowledge of the language, their ability to use that knowledge in performing a range of tasks, and the characteristics of learners' language at different stages of development.

To apply this knowledge in developing their own skills for learner language analysis, participants then work together to analyze the language produced by a videotaped learner, look at interpretations of the learner's errors and discuss possible implications of their analysis for instruction. Participants will also have a chance to think about appropriate task design that will help them elicit the type of language they are attempting to teach.
(* Limit 30 participants)

Afternoon Workshops

Pro Language: On Advocating Foreign Language Study
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Helene Zimmer-Loew, American Association of Teachers of German

While some U. S. government agencies are stressing the importance of language education, many existing foreign language programs are being reduced or replaced.

In this workshop, participants will:

  • review the trends in foreign languages study over time using statistics from the Modern Language Association, the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, and the Center for Applied Linguistics.
  • learn about the various state, regional and national organizations that advocate the study of foreign languages and international studies in the U. S. and how they support foreign language education.
  • discuss the benefits of learning another language (the power of foreign languages): to improve one’s English and critical thinking skills, to meet the need of U. S. business and industry, to gain a competitive edge in college and careers, to support the educational, political and even military needs of the U.S., to meet the needs of an increasing number of heritage languages and cultures in our society, and for fun, personal satisfaction and life long learning.
  • review rationale with statistics for convincing gatekeepers to promote, retain and expand foreign language programs at all levels of instruction.
  • evaluate the strength of their own language programs through a sample student survey and a self-assessment survey.
  • develop an advocacy action plan which includes the development and use of brochures, videos, letters, newspaper ads and presentations before key decision makers such as administrators, legislators, senators and representatives.
  • share their own successful strategies with their other workshop participants.
    (* Limit 30 participants)

Using NCATE Standards for Program Assessment and Improvement
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Sally Hood, University of Portland
Anja Bernardy, Kennesaw State University
Kristin Hoyt, Kennesaw State University

Institutions offering initial programs to prepare K-12 foreign language or ESL teachers aim for quality program design focused on candidate performance in terms of knowledge, skills, and dispositions. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) approved program standards for foreign language teacher preparation, through the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), and for ESL teacher preparation, through Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). All institutions that offer initial programs to prepare foreign language or ESL teachers are eligible to submit a program report requesting NCATE recognition of their program. The report requires institutions to provide evidence of candidate performance, program and candidate assessment measures, and evidence of program outcome effectiveness.

In this workshop, participants will initially meet together to consider commonalities between the two sets of NCATE language teacher education program standards. Then participants will split into separate foreign language and ESL groups to consider the particularities of the ACTFL or TESOL language teacher education program standards. Groups will analyze how the standards facilitate language program evaluation and discuss what types of performance-based assessment measures could be used as evidence for meeting the standards. Groups will outline possible scoring guides or criteria that could be used to evaluate candidate responses on assessments, and discuss how candidates’ performances can be summarized and interpreted as evidence for meeting the standards. Participants are encouraged to bring copies of the ACTFL or TESOL NCATE standards, current performance assessments, scoring tools, and candidate work samples for sharing.
(* Limit 30 participants)

Commitment to Collaboration: Working with Mainstream Educators
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Kimberly Johnson, Hamline University
Constance Walker, University of Minnesota

Language teacher educators are often asked to provide in-service professional development for teachers from elementary through post-secondary schools who work with English language learners. How can we help teachers assist with the very complex journey that faces these learners, one of learning content at the same time they are developing their second language competence? How can teachers best attend to both the language and the content development that must occur in their particular instructional settings?

This workshop will explore how two programs, one with elementary teachers and one with post-secondary instructors, were able to engage instructors in a process of professional development that involved rethinking roles, collaborating with colleagues, and attending to best practice in a way that would affect both learners as well as programs within their institutional environment. What best practices can be gleaned from our experiences and research in language education, intercultural communication, and teacher education? How does the structure and content of these professional development opportunities reflect best practice in teacher development? How can what we have learned be applied to other settings serving English Language Learners? The facilitators, one working in a K-12 and the other in a post-secondary setting, will share changes they have observed in teacher practice as a result of on-site collaborative professional work. Participants and facilitators will then collaborate to identify effective professional development practices that are learner-centered, meaningful, and contextualized.
(* Limit 30 participants)

Raising Student Language Awareness: Some Possible Strategies for the (Language) Classroom
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Timothy G. Reagan, Central Connecticut State University

This workshop will closely examine the challenges posed by the lack of student language awareness generally in US schools. Participants will delve into a number of different approaches to increasing both general language awareness and critical language awareness, and will learn how these approaches fit into the K-12 curriculum.
(* Limit 30 participants)

Taking a Modular Approach to Produce Quality Chinese Language Teachers
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Shuhan Wang, Chinese Language Initiatives, Asia Society

As evidenced in the 2006 National Security Language Initiative and the recent media coverage, public discourses are finally paying attention to foreign language education, in which Chinese is under the spotlight. What is being exposed by this sudden fame, however, is the inadequacy of teacher training for Chinese and other critical need languages. Using Chinese as an example, this workshop analyzes the environment of Chinese language programs, evolution of teacher development, and the impact of teacher education in building the infrastructure of the field of critical need languages.

Recognizing that a Chinese language program does not exist or operate in a vacuum, both the macro and micro environments in which a Chinese language program is situated in the US will be considered, which include the assumptions underlying states’ certification requirements and contextual factors of educational settings from K-16. Acknowledging that all teachers go through a continuum of development, which intersects with their diverse background and life experience, workshop participants will examine the evolution of a Chinese language teacher. Together they will unpack the knowledge, skills, perspectives, experiences, and disposition that successful teacher candidates must possess and develop a matrix for effective training modules for teacher education or professional development. By collaborating to re-think and re-design teacher education programs, many barriers that could endanger the capacity building of Chinese and other critical need languages will be removed to produce quality teachers who can meet the urgent needs of the nation’s schools.
(* Limit 30 participants)


Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) • 140 University International Center • 331 - 17th Ave SE • Minneapolis, MN 55414