The NCLRC Language Resource
VOL. 16, NO.4

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July/August 2013
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It has certainly been hot this summer!  We hope the heat has sizzled some good ideas on the grill and turned them into savory treats for your students!  This issue is short and sweet: Our regular contributors have cooked up good advice to help you get off to a good start in the fall.  We introduce a new contributor who will be sharing ideas about the importance of reflecting upon what we do each day.  Good internet sites, good resources, and good advice for surviving a professional performance evaluation successfully and stress free.  All here for you!  Enjoy and please let us know what thoughts our newsletter brings to your mind.



  • October 17-19, 2013.  Indiana Foreign Language Teachers Association.  Fuel Their Future with Languages.  Sheraton Keystone, Indianapolis, ID.

  • October 4-5, 2013. FLAVA 2013 Conference: Go Global. More info

If you have something you would like us to list, please contact the editor: and she will be happy to include your professional event in our calendar.

redstar_white_bg Testing Tips (Ask a Tester)

Valid and Reliable Tasks and Rubrics
Victoria Nier, Center for Applied Linguistics

This month’s Testing Tips article comes from a teacher who wants to know how she can be sure that an assessment task and rubric are valid and reliable.

For readers who participated in formalized training in language testing or assessment, terms like “validity” and “reliability” may sound familiar. We often hear them in the context of large-scale, standardized tests and statistical analyses, where researchers and practitioners strive to ensure that a test is used for its intended purpose(s) with the appropriate population (i.e. the test is valid) and that the test administration and rating procedures are consistently implemented (i.e. the test is reliable). Read more...

redstar_white_bg Tech for Teachers

Internet Sites to Bring Culture Alive in your Classroom
Jamie Suria, GWU Graduate Student of Education

The second ACFTL Standard for Foreign Language Education is Culture, making it the most important aspect of foreign language instruction after Communication. Most foreign language educators would agree that the ability to experience and interact with a new culture is also one of the most rewarding benefits of learning a foreign language. Fortunately, modern technology and the Internet are making it easier to provide our students with plenty of opportunities to experience the target culture. Read more...

redstar_white_bg NCLRC News: Introducing a New Author and Column

Reflections of a Classroom Teacher
Sylvia Lillehoj

When I first began my teaching career, I was often overwhelmed by the multiple aspects of a teacher’s daily routine.  In addition to planning, developing, and delivering my lessons, I spent a significant amount of time grading assignments, communicating with parents, and attending school- and district-wide meetings.  Preoccupied with these multiple responsibilities, I often neglected another aspect of a teacher’s daily routine—self-reflection.

redstar_white_bg YANA

Evaluation Observations are a Snap! (if you are prepared!)
YANA: Sheila W. Cockey

How can I become less rattled by the presence of an observer in my classroom?  What steps should I be following so I know that my students will behave as I want them to and that the class will go as I have it planned when someone new is there?  I really freak out when my supervisor announces she will be in my classroom.  When it is an un-announced observation I want to run away!  Help me calm down, please.

An integral part of successful teaching is successful self-assessment.  When things derail, the engineer in charge of the train must figure out what happened and how to prevent it from happening again: Teacher Self-Assessment is ESSENTIAL for successful learning.  Read more...

redstar_white_bg Sound Bites

Critical Language Skills for Critical Thinkers
Marcel LaVergne, Ed.D.

It is important that students be exposed to activities that increase their higher-level thinking skills such as applying the knowledge that they are learning to everyday situations, analyzing the information as to cause and effect, making associations, inferences, and generalizations.  After asking students to conjugate a list of verbs in the conditional tense to see if they know the tense, it makes more sense to ask them “What would happen if” or “What would you do if” to see if they can use the tense in an appropriate context. Read more... (PDF)

redstar_white_bg Business Language

Global Business Languages: A Valuable Resource
Margaret Gonglewski, Ph.D., George Washington University

In the last issue, we featured the top themes from the 2013 National Business Languages Conference. That annual conference is a godsend for business language teachers eager for exchanging ideas, commiserating over frustrating challenges, and celebrating successes. The only downside? This empowering coming together happens just once a year. Fortunately, it’s possible to extend the engagement, support, and conversation beyond that gathering through touchstones like the online journal Global Business Languages. This month’s NCLRC Business Language column highlights Global Business Languages as a valuable professional resource for all language teachers. Read more...

The Language Resource is a monthly publication of the National Capital Language Resource Center that provides practical teaching strategies, share insights from research, and announce professional development opportunities for all foreign language educators. Funded by the US Department of Education through Title VI, we are a consortium of Georgetown University, The George Washington University, and the Center for Applied Linguistics.

Also available on our website
Culture Club
A space to share multicultural and multilanguage resources for teachers and students alike
Elementary Immersion Learning Strategies Resource Guide
Sailing the 5 Cs with Learning Strategies:
A Resource Guide for Secondary Foreign Language Educators
The Essentials of Language Teaching
Portfolio Assessment in the Foreign Language Classroom Developing Autonomy in Language Learners Learning Strategies Instruction in Higher Education