The NCLRC Language Resource
VOL. 17, NO.1

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September/October 2013
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Fall has arrived in all its glory: the leaves on the trees are stunning against clear blue skies. Temperatures are crisp and urge us to get out and enjoy our world, interacting with it and the people who live and work there. Proficiency of interaction is our focus this year and we will treat you with a variety of approaches and perspectives on Proficiency: What It Is and How We Get There" from our guest and regular authors. Be sure to take a look at our Special Column where we outline proficiency, and then delve into some of the finer points in the other columns that offer a look at: ways to foster multiliteracies, how to generate proficiency with hybrid classes, ways to encourage LCTL learners. In addition we have a discussion about achievement vs proficiency, reflections on fundamentals vs complexities of teaching and on attending a conference. As always, we invite your comments, questions and ideas.



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

  • Oct. 11 - 15, 2013. Indiana Foreign Language Teachers Association. Fuel Their Future with Languages.
    Sheraton Keystone, Indianapolis, IN.

  • Oct. 25, 2013. East Coast Organization of Language Testers (ECOLT).
    Georgetown University. Washington, D.C.

  • Oct. 31, 2013. Second International Symposium on Languages for Specific Purposes.
    April 17-19, 2014. University of Colorado, Boulder, CO. Deadline for Proposals.

  • Oct. 31 - Nov. 1, 2013. Second Language Research Forum.
    The Natural Phenomenon of SLA: Coplexity, Context and Communication.
    Brigham Young University. Provo, UT.

  • Nov. 19 - 21, 2013. National Association of District Supervisors of Foreign Languages (NADSFL). Learning by Design. Orlando, FL.

  • Nov. 21, 2013. ACTFL Pre-Conference Workshops. Orlando, FL

  • Nov. 22 - 24, 2013. ACTFL. New Spaces New Realities: Learning Any Time, Any Place. Orlando, FL

  • For the complete Calendar listing, Click Here!

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 Special

Proficiency: What It Is and How We Get There
Sheila W. Cockey, NCLRC

There are as many kinds of proficiency as there are activities in which we engage. Some of them are physical and others are mental. Either way, they likely require a community in which to prosper, and ways to communicate within that community and to reach out to other communities. In my mind that is what proficiency is all about; this then brings me to considering how our national standards for foreign language learning enable and lead us toward our proficiency goals. Read more... (PDF)

redstar_white_bg Feature

Fostering multiliteracies through a global simulation approach in intermediate French: A curricular project
Beatrice Dupuy, Professor of French & Italian
Kristen Michelson, Ph.D., Student, Second Language Acquisition and Teaching
Elyse Petit, Ph.D., Student, Second Language Acquisition and Teaching
University of Arizona

…proposed a pedagogy of multiliteracies (New London Group, 1996) to… encourage students to interpret and think critically about discourse through a variety of contexts and textual genres. Central to a multiliteracies approach is the notion that language use is informed by participation in specific discourses from the standpoint of particular social roles. Global simulation is one pedagogical approach conducive to fostering learners' multiliteracies. In this article, we discuss the development and implementation of a multiliteracies-oriented GS in 4th-semester French. … Today, it is no longer enough for learners to be able to accurately construct and understand sentences to convey or receive information; they have to develop the ability to understand, interpret, and produce a variety of multimodal texts in the target language, and understand how language and other symbolic systems are used in order to design meaning (Kramsch 2006, p. 251). Read more... (PDF)

redstar_white_bg Less Commonly Taught Languages

Making Students Proficient in Hindi
Arum Prakash, Houston, TX Independent School District

Hindi is a critical need language in America and it is easy to learn if proper learning techniques are applied. … Teaching Hindi is my passion. My teaching strategies are to help students become more proficient in Hindi quickly and easily. This objective is achieved by integrating the 5 C's (Communication, Culture, Connections, Comparisons, & Communities) in well-structured lesson plans and activities:

Learning a second language should be a fun-filled and stress-free experience. … I give importance to conversation over reading and writing. … In Elementary and Intermediate Hindi each unit covers a theme. … Proficiency in conversation is attained by repetitive practice in small groups and script presentations over a period of time. Pictures of related vocabulary and multi-media are an integral part of teaching. It is so [successful] that a number of students are inspired to study Hindi beyond secondary education. Read more... (PDF)

redstar_white_bg Crossroads: Heritage Learning

Speak Chinese in a Blended Learning Classroom
Yuan Wang-Ollikainen, Arlington VA PS

A few weeks ago, I once again had the chance to talk with some parents of my students in an open house meeting. Being a teacher of Chinese using blended learning methods, I knew to expect the questions: "Is it possible for middle school and high school students to learn a difficult language like Chinese, if they only meet their teacher once or twice a week, and are supposed to rely largely on distance learning?" and "How do your students learn Chinese without interacting with a real person?". This time, before I could answer, a mother of my former student who after two years of blended learning is now continuing in Chinese-3 class in a completely distance learning based program, took the floor. She said, "Of course! My son enjoys learning with his classmates and by himself, posting blogs, and doing projects in Chinese". Read more... (PDF)

redstar_white_bg YANA (Classroom Solutions)

YANA: Ideas Garnered at State Foreign Language Conference
YANA: Sheila W. Cockey

I just returned from my state's foreign language teachers conference and what an amazing set of sessions I attended! Everyone should make a consummate effort to attend theirs, or a similar type of conference, every year or so. Here is a brief summary of some of the sessions I attended, with the promise of revisiting these ideas in later columns. Read more...

redstar_white_bg Sound Bites for Better Teaching

Achievement vs Proficiency: knowing what to do with what you know
Marcel LaVergne, Ed.D.

conjugate "aller" in the past tense vs. tell me where you went yesterday

An achievement-based curriculum focuses on teaching content and facts while a proficiency-based curriculum helps students develop communicative skills. As illustrated above, the former asks students to conjugate verbs or to change the verb from one tense to another in isolated non-authentic sentences whereas the latter puts students in authentic real-life situations by asking them to actually use the past tense to impart information. Students must have the opportunity to practice using language in a range of contexts to be encountered in the target language, to practice carrying out a range of functions likely to be necessary in dealing with others in the target culture, and to express their own meaning as early as possible after productive skills have been introduced in the course of instruction. Read more... (PDF)

redstar_white_bg Business Language in Focus

Finding Success in Business Language Teaching
Margaret Gonglewski, The George Washington University

Taking the first plunge into business language teaching is daunting but rewarding. A decade ago, at the university where I teach, only two language programs offered a business language course, and most language faculty were skeptical about developing business language courses in the languages they taught. Today there are new business language courses in Arabic, Chinese, German, Korean, and Russian, and several other languages, such as Japanese, Hebrew, and French, offer business language "modules" in their courses at various levels. How this great turn-around -- from skepticism to success -- occurred, is the subject of this issue's Business Language column. Read more... (PDF)

redstar_white_bg Self-Reflection and What You Can Learn

Ingredient 1: Master the fundamentals before implementing complex techniques
Sylvia Lillehoj, Howard County MD Public Schools

To become an accomplished chef, one must first master the fundamental skills of cooking, such as boiling pasta, roasting potatoes, and sautéing vegetables. Mastering these fundamentals provides chefs with the foundation to handle most recipes. Read more... (PDF)

redstar_white_bg Using Technology for Language Learning

Review Games
Jamie Suria, Fairfax County Virginia Public Schools

One of the most important aspects of instruction is reinforcement. Our students always benefit from reviewing what has already been taught, and manipulating what they have learned in a variety of contexts. However, using the same methods to review material can become stale and doesn't appeal to the wide range of learning styles and aptitudes in your classroom. Luckily, there are a lot of resources available online to help you design games that will keep your review fresh and - most importantly - engaging! Read more... (PDF)

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.

® 2013, National Capitol Language Resource Center

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