The NCLRC Language Resource
VOL. 17, NO.3

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January/February 2014
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Greeting for Jan/Feb 2014

Proficiency is our theme and each of our contributors talks about different ways to get there and why we need to get there. From using the target language regularly, always, daily in class, through the content and resources we choose, to the way we assess progress towards proficiency, it is a certainty that you will find useful ideas and stimulating thoughts in this issue. We've added a few events to our calendar as well. We're in the midst of a cold snap and we hope that everyone stays warm while enjoying the winter months. As always, please let us know what you're thinking about as you read our newsletter and consider sharing ideas with us.

snowmen (46K)

Calendar:

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

redstar_white_bg Feature

Creating A Learning Environment Where Target Language Is "Standard"
Aleidine J. Moeller, Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln

In order to develop language and cultural proficiency, meaningful communication and interactive feedback must be provided in the target language. To accomplish this, instructors must use a variety of strategies to facilitate comprehension and support meaning making. The following principles stem from a review of the research literature and effective practices observed among teacher practitioners who make nearly exclusive use of the TL in their language classrooms. These teaching and learning strategies are designed to assist language teachers to introduce and sustain the TL while creating an engaging learning environment which approximates authentic language communication. Read more... (PDF)

redstar_white_bg Business Language in Focus

From Doubter to Believer in Business Language Teaching
Margaret Gonglewski, The George Washington University

"It simply can't be done." When I first approached language teachers at my university about the idea of developing a business language course for their program, this was the common-and rather definitive-sounding-refrain. Thus, I was not surprised to hear this same response from Richard Robin, my colleague heading up the Russian language program. Now, just a few years later, with not one but two business Russian courses in his curriculum and a Business Russian textbook about to be launched, Prof. Robin speaks with reverence of his "conversion experience," the focus of this month's Business Language in Focus column.

What makes someone a believer in business language teaching and learning? What moves them from doubt or disbelief to a firm conviction that business content and language learning can be combined? Every language teacher's situation and story is different, and it is worth examining what the factors were in each. Read more... (PDF)

redstar_white_bg Testing Tips

Beyond Testing Tips
Francesca Di Silvio, Center for Applied Linguistics

This month's Testing Tips answers a question that many readers of this column may have: How can I learn more about assessment and improve my assessment knowledge?

One way, of course, is to submit a question for a future Ask a Tester column by sending an email to opat@cal.org with the subject line Ask a Tester. Beyond this newsletter, there are a variety of resources to help increase your understanding about the fundamentals of assessment and ways to assess language in your specific context. The following list includes suggestions to fit different needs but is by no means comprehensive. Take a look in your area for other opportunities - local college and university ESOL, FL, or linguistics departments sometimes provide resources, host workshops, and offer courses about assessment as well! Read more... (PDF)

redstar_white_bg YANA (Classroom Solutions)

Cultural Resources: Books, Film, Art, for starters
YANA: Sheila W. Cockey

I want to acquaint my students with current cultural events in the various countries where Spanish is spoken. When I do an internet search I am overwhelmed with the number of sites! How do I know what is legitimate, good, and otherwise appropriate for my students?

This, indeed, is the problem all of us face, especially when we do not travel regularly. Even with regular travel, it is very difficult to keep abreast of what is going on in one country let alone several, as is the case with languages such as Spanish or Arabic. The next problem then comes in choosing the resources and developing valid activities that address curricular goals. There is so little time for this! Read more... (PDF)

redstar_white_bg Sound Bites for Better Teaching

Input vs Output: You can't produce what you don't own
Marcel LaVergne, Ed.D.

Because most people would like to speak a foreign language as soon as possible, the tendency in L2 classes is to focus on teaching students to speak the foreign language before they have the skills to do so. One must consider the role of input and output in L2 learning. The input skills, i.e. listening and reading should precede the output skills, i.e. speaking and writing because the input contains the words, structures, pronunciation, and stylistic information of L2 that the students need to know and to own before being able to produce the foreign language. One must consider that the brain of the student in beginning stages of L2 learning is like an empty warehouse that must be filled with the information needed, and that information comes from input. When the warehouse contains the necessary information, then the student can readily access it and produce it by means of the output skills Read more... (PDF)

redstar_white_bg Reflections of a Classroom Teacher

Recharge Your Battery via Self-Reflection
Sylvia Lillehoj, Howard County MD Public Schools

My decision to focus exclusively on self-reflection in this column was "adjusted" when one of my students presented me with a handwritten thank you note which stated, "You're the best!" When she asked me where I would display her note, I opened my desk drawer and pulled out a box labeled "Messages of Appreciation". Removing the lid, I shared the contents with her - a collection of thank you notes, letters, and emails that I have received during my teaching career. My Messages of Appreciation box serves an important purpose: it reminds me of my past accomplishments when I am having an emotionally exhausting, "What Else Can Go Wrong" day at work. Sure, the temptation to succumb to feelings of despair and gloom are tempting. Instead, I look back. Read more... (PDF)

redstar_white_bg Using Technology for Language Learning

Effective Use of Screencasting in the Foreign Language Classroom
Carol Marcolini, Hampton City Virginia Public Schools
Laurie Smith, Hampton City Virginia Public Schools, Retired

Whether your school has adopted a Bring Your Own Device or a 1:1 initiative, almost every high school student has access to some digital device. Instead of fighting the trend, for we all know they have them and with them, let's leverage those devices to assist in their learning foreign language. For this article, we will focus on the most popular iDevice, the iPad. Of course, many students will have iPhones, which can use the same apps and activities. As strange as it may seem to some of us, the iPhone or other smart phone is a real extension of today's student's anatomy. They feel as lost without it as we feel without a watch. Let's address the skills we want the students to acquire in regards to the target language. Whatever we do in class, it only matters if it improves the students' ability to speak, write, read and think in the target language. 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.

® 2014, 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