The NCLRC Language Resource
VOL. 17, NO.4

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March/April 2014
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Greeting for Mar/Apr 2014

The Winter That Just Won't Quit! is on its way out and we can refresh ourselves with this issue's lineup of engaging articles. We have everything from building global confidence to entering contests. In between, settle in with reflections about professional growth, assessments, and special uses of our languages. We continue our exploration of heritage speakers with a look at attitudes and activities. Need to get organized? There are some technology solutions that might help you.

Importantly, we also have a very quick survey we want you to complete about our newsletter and our website. Please take a moment, only 13 questions, and let us know what you like, what you think could be done better, and what you want to see added to our website or our newsletter. This will help us meet your needs.


Spring will be here, and so will the end of our academic year, before we know it. Let us know how our columnists answered a nagging question, presented a good topic for conversation, or opened a new door for you.

We're looking for your feedback!

As a subscriber to our bi-monthly newsletter, you get a lot of information from us. Also, as a Language Resource Center, we create a lot of content -- from materials and information to tips and tools we feature on our website -- and we want to make sure it's as interesting and informative as possible.

Today, we want to hear from you. Please take a few minutes to complete our short survey regarding the NCLRC's website and newsletter.

Thank you so much for your time, and we're looking forward to seeing your responses.

National Capital Language Resource Center (NCLRC)
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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 Feature

Internationalizing Schools to Build Global Competence:
Some Considerations for Teachers
Laura C. Engel, The George Washington University

In the U.S. there has been a recent and growing focus on educating for global competence (see, e.g., here and here). The U.S. Department of Education launched its first ever U.S. international strategy in 2012 intended to strengthen the U.S. education system and advance U.S. international priorities. The three specific objectives include increasing global competences, learning from other countries, and engaging in education diplomacy. Despite the increased focus on enhancing international perspectives in education, it is not always clear to practitioners what internationalization of education or educating for global competence means at the school level, and how it can be built into current school practice. This article focuses on three questions:

  1. Why is fostering global competence through education important?
  2. What does internationalization of education or educating for global competence mean?
  3. How might practitioners build internationalization at the school level?

An examination of these three questions will introduce comprehensive internationalization as a powerful mechanism for enriching students' global competence and cultural proficiency. Read more... (PDF)

redstar_white_bg Crossroads: Heritage Learning

Attitudes and Activities for the Heritage Speaker Classroom
Jeremy Aldrich and Phil Yutzy, Harrisonburg City VA Public Schools

What does a good class for heritage speakers look like? How is it different from other World Language classrooms? What are the particular challenges these students face, and how can teachers and students use class time well? In short, what are some of the best practices for courses focusing on heritage speakers? In Harrisonburg City Schools, we recognize that we still have much to learn and our experience with heritage classes so far is limited to Spanish speakers. But we offer the following ideas based on several years of work in this field.

redstar_white_bg Testing Tips

Will My Assessment Work?
Victoria Nier, Center for Applied Linguistics

This month's Testing Tips answers a question from a university-level Arabic teacher. She recently attended a workshop on designing assessments for her students and left the workshop feeling confident in the assessment tasks she'd developed and excited to implement them. Back in the classroom, however, she was beginning to have some doubts. Would her assessments actually work?

redstar_white_bg Using Technology for Language Learning

Using Edmodo to Increase Relevance in FL Instruction
Carol Marcolini, Hampton City VA Public Schools
Laurie Smith, Hampton City VA Public Schools, Retired

Edmodo provides a base to create excitement for your class through authentic engagement. It is 24 hour access to your teacher and your students. It is social learning. Edmodo is a great way to get students engaged and organized. It is free..... If you are new to Edmodo, it looks like Facebook so is easy to navigate and appealing. The website is

A few advantages.....a teacher can post the agenda and handouts on the class page, with links to the wiki and other resources. Students can also post files or videos to share. It's a great help when students are absent, as they can still access the class, get the agenda, and download any handouts. It becomes a paperless classroom. Read more... (PDF)

redstar_white_bg YANA (Classroom Solutions)

Achieving Success when Entering a Contest
YANA: Sheila W. Cockey

My school encourages participation in state and national contests of one sort or another. Sometimes they are forensic in nature, sometimes test-based, sometimes written or performed, and other times they are multi-media in format. Other times it is just applying to participate in a camp. The problem is that not as many of the students as I would like actually succeed in being selected. This is true for both our school and my students. Do you have any suggestions about how I might help my students become more competitive and therefore more successful?

Entering a competition of one sort or another takes gumption and a certain amount of confidence in one's abilities. It also requires preparation, organization, attention to details, and an eye to the way in which the content is presented.

redstar_white_bg Sound Bites for Better Teaching

Is This Going To Be On The Test?
Marcel LaVergne, Ed.D.

Assessment and evaluation are important parts of every teacher's lessons and can be excellent indicators of student progress if done correctly. Often, though, the test sends a clear message to the students about what is important and what is not: if there are no speaking portions to the test, then the students will pay no attention to the need to speak in L2. If the four language skills are equally important, then they should be evaluated regularly. The ideal curriculum includes both what students know and what they can do with the language. The ideal evaluation schedule includes achievement, prochievement, and proficiency tasks. The first are the regular vocabulary and grammar tests so prevalent in classrooms. The second contains both achievement and proficiency tasks. The latter asks the student to demonstrate what they can do in the foreign language. Read more... (PDF)

redstar_white_bg Business Language in Focus

Linking Language Directly to the Workplace: Spanish for Healthcare
Margaret Gonglewski, The George Washington University

A top concern to those teaching language for the professions is making the content and skills that students acquire in our classes directly and immediately applicable in the real world. Arguably more than with the traditional language course, students in a business language course see a direct link between the language and their current or future job. More specific content courses, such as Spanish for Healthcare, forge an even tighter bond to students' careers. This month's column focuses on an example of such a course, taught at both the secondary and post-secondary levels. Read more... (PDF)

redstar_white_bg Reflections of a Classroom Teacher

Ingredient 5: Collaboratively Reflect to Grow
Sylvia Lillehoj, Howard County MD Public Schools

This school year, I find myself reflecting on my teaching practices more often than before. At the end of each week, I take a moment to reflect on the past week, asking myself the following questions:

  1. Did my students learn what I intended?
  2. How did my instructional decisions impact student outcomes?
  3. What could I have done differently to be more effective?
  4. How can the insights from Questions 1-3 inform my future decisions?

In addition to weekly self-reflection, my bi-monthly NCLRC newsletter submissions provide me with the opportunity to synthesize my reflective insights in order to provide you, the reader, with a more comprehensive understanding of teacher self-reflection. These experiences have strengthened my determination to believe in a positive relationship between teacher reflection and professional development.

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