Presentations and Workshops

CARLA sponsors a series of presentations and workshops during the academic year that are targeted at language educators.

See the presentations below and click on the workshops tab to see what is currently offered.

CARLA Presentation Series

The Winter/Spring 2024 presentations can be found below.

All presentations and webinars are offered online unless otherwise noted. Times listed are in the U.S. Central Time Zone. Please note that the start times vary.


Adopting Scenarios as a Mechanism for Measuring L2 Fluency

Thursday, March 28, 2024
12:00–1:00 p.m. (Central Time)
Register for the Zoom link

Fluency is a crucial aspect of foreign and second language (L2) oral proficiency, often assessed through speaking examinations, playing a vital role in determining an L2 user's competence. However, there is a disparity in defining fluency, ranging from narrow to broad perspectives, influencing how oral proficiency is evaluated. Most tests employ presentational tasks, lacking authenticity and deemed insufficient for realistic assessments, leading to a call for alternatives. Scenarios (Di Pietro, 1994), conceptualized as situations fostering strategic interaction for language learning, emerge as an alternative for fluency assessment, providing a realistic evaluation method. This proposed mechanism aligns with the need for oral tests adhering to authenticity, interactivity, and practicality, as suggested by Bachman and Palmer (1996), offering a more accurate performance evaluation for language users in authentic situations.

Leiry Warren is a PhD student in Hispanic Linguistics in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies where she teaches undergraduate Spanish courses. Her research interests include second language acquisition, oral fluency assessments, sociocultural theory, metacognition in language learning, the use of scenarios (Di Pietro, 1994), and language policy. She was selected to be a CARLA Fellow for 2023–2024.


Student Experiences of Gender-Inclusive Language in the Spanish Undergraduate Classroom

Tuesday, April 9, 2024
12:00–1:00 p.m. (Central Time)
Register for the Zoom link

Even though Spanish conventionally has a binary grammatical gender system (i.e., masculine and feminine), various approaches have been taken in recent years to achieve a more equal linguistic representation of all genders (e.g., using both male and feminine at once such as “todos y todas” or adopting a new morpheme that is not associated with the traditional binary genders, as in “latinx” or “todes” instead of “latino” or “todos”). However, the gender-inclusive forms are yet to be accepted by many native speakers. Not unexpectedly, students who study Spanish as a foreign language are still unlikely to be exposed to gender-inclusive varieties (Morales-Vidal & Cassany 2020).

The Inclusive Language Instruction Research Group (LangIn) surveyed and interviewed undergraduate students of Spanish at the University of Minnesota about their experiences with and opinions of gender-inclusive language to examine how students learn and understand gender expressions and inclusivity in the language classroom. Furthermore, the study seeks to contribute to the creation of gender-inclusive classroom environments by articulating what kind of gender-related topics, materials, and pedagogy are desired by students themselves.

Camille Braun is a PhD candidate in Hispanic Literature and Culture in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at the University of Minnesota. Her research explores artistic narratives which center the voices and expertise of people who use drugs in contemporary Spain.
Fernando González Lesniak is a Ph.D candidate in Curriculum and Instruction specializing in Second Language Education at the University of Minnesota. His research interests include acoustic phonetics, teacher education, translanguaging, social justice and gender-just pedagogies.
Yoko Hama is a Ph.D. candidate specializing in Hispanic Linguistics in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at the University of Minnesota. Their research interests include sociolinguistics, translanguaging, language and identity, especially in the context of Asian diaspora communities in Spanish-speaking countries.
Jacky James is a graduate student in Hispanic Linguistics in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at the University of Minnesota. Their research interests include language contact and language change, specifically involving inclusive language.
James Ramsburg is a PhD candidate in Hispanic Linguistics in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at the University of Minnesota. His research focuses on identifying and explaining dialectal variation, especially in the lexicon and morphosyntax.
Alejandra Takahira is a PhD student in Spanish and Portuguese literature at the University of Minnesota. She researches contemporary women authors of Asian ancestry in Latin America, and also works with contemporary cinema, feminist theory and race in Latin America.

This study was funded by a Gender Equity Grant from the Women's Center at the University of Minnesota.

Past Presentations

Please note: We encourage you to submit ideas for topics and speakers; email Karin Larson at

Thank you for your support of this program!

Workshops For Teachers

Please note: Online workshop registration will be turned off at 4 p.m. on the Thursday before the Saturday of each workshop. Register early!

CARLA offers a series of online Saturday workshops for language educators each fall and spring. The Winter/Spring 2024 workshops can be found below.

These low-cost workshops are designed with the practitioner in mind. All presentations and webinars are offered online unless otherwise noted. Times listed are in the U.S. Central Time Zone. Please make sure to read the target audience description before registering and review CARLA's refund policy below.

Youth Participatory Action Research

Saturday, March 2, 2024
9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. (Central Time)
Cost $30
Register with a credit card

In this workshop participants will explore Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) and learn how YPAR can create an environment for empowering student language use while connecting learners to transformation and change in their own communities. Using examples from Spanish and Hmong heritage language classrooms, participants will be introduced to the basic framework of doing YPAR, and things to consider when doing YPAR in classrooms and schools. The presenters will also share stories and examples of doing YPAR from start to finish, highlighting language objectives, intercultural communication strategies, and key things to consider along the way. 

After this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the key components of Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR);
  • Identify whether YPAR is a good fit for their context of language teaching, learning, and reclamation;
  • Find and adapt lesson plans and materials for doing YPAR with learners; and
  • Work with others to design YPAR into their language teaching and relationships with young people.

Jenna Cushing-Leubner is an Associate Professor of Heritage/World Language, Bilingual/Bicultural Education, and TESOL at the Universities of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She has been collaborating with heritage language educators and families to design curriculum, texts, and instructional practices for over a decade. She is the creator and coordinator of UW-Whitewater’s online heritage language education professional development programming, and the co-convener of Lub Zej Zog’s Hmong Language Reclamation Project.
J. Eik Diggs is a PhD candidate at the University of Arizona and a licensed Spanish language and ESL teacher with over a decade of experience with heritage language curriculum design and teaching. Her language teaching weaves together ethnic studies, the arts, identity work, and youth participatory action research.

Target Audience: This workshop is designed for heritage language, Indigenous and Ancestral language, bilingual, and ESL educators at the late elementary through secondary level. Early elementary, postsecondary, and world language teachers are welcome to attend, but they will need to adapt the presented materials for their contexts.

CARLA Workshop Registration and Refund Information

Registration Details: Registration closes at noon (Central Time) on the Thursday prior to the workshop–or as soon as the workshop fills. Space is limited–register early!

Confirmation and Zoom Link:

  • Registrants will be sent a system-generated confirmation receipt immediately upon registering. Check your SPAM folder if you don't see it right away.
  • The Zoom link will be sent by the CARLA office by the Thursday prior to the workshop. If you have not received the email with the link from CARLA by Thursday, please check your SPAM folder.
  • Questions? Email by noon (Central Time) on the Friday before the workshop.

Refund Policy: The CARLA workshop registration fee is non-refundable. The University of Minnesota reserves the right to cancel the workshop if necessary and will grant a full refund if the workshop is not held.

Note: Registered participants who are not able to attend may transfer their registration to a colleague, provided that they email the CARLA office two days prior to the event:

Please note: If you have ideas for topics and speakers, contact Karin Larson at

CARLA Mailing List Signup Contact CARLA CARLA Events Donate to CARLA CARLA on Facebook CARLA on YouTube Twitter
Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) • 140 University International Center • 331 - 17th Ave SE • Minneapolis, MN 55414