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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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!
YANA (Classroom Solutions)
Cultural Resources: Books, Film, Art, for starters
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!
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
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.
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.