The NCLRC Language Resource
VOL. 14, NO.7

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September 2010
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redstar_white_bg Announcement:

The National Capital Language Resource Center is pleased to announce that it has been refunded by the U.S. Department of Education as a Title VI Language Resource Center for an additional four years, from 2010 to 2014. There are currently 15 LRC's around the country whose mission is to improve language teaching and learning in the U.S. We are all delighted to be able to continue serving foreign language educators around the country.

We have listened to you, our readers, and to our National Advisory Board to determine new initiatives and continuing activities. Your thoughtful advice has helped us decide on the following activities for the next four years:

1. Materials Development and Dissemination to Strengthen Teacher Expertise. Activities will build on the NCLRC's effective dissemination network by continuing the monthly e-newsletter and increasing its current circulation of 30,000 educators; maintaining and updating the Essentials, a highly popular web-based resource on methodology; developing articles on research and implications; expanding the NCLRC website resources and materials; and updating on-line guides on learning strategies.

2. Strengthening Teacher Expertise in the Uses of Assessment. The NCLRC will provide professional development to in-service teachers on the basics of assessment with an emphasis on LCTLs; conduct and disseminate an online course on oral proficiency assessment; provide training to teachers on how to use and rate the SOPI (Simulated Oral Proficiency Interview); support the East Coast Organization of Language Testers; revise and update CAL's 1996 Oral Performance and Proficiency Task Handbook; and update the Foreign Language Assessment Directory biannually.

3. Focus on Less Commonly Taught Languages. The NCLRC will continue to carry out the Arabic K-12 schools survey and maintain the Arabic K-12 Teachers' Network website and newsletter; develop a network with a website and newsletter for teachers of K-12 and heritage South Asian language programs; continue producing webcasts in Russian, Arabic, and Chinese; maintain and update the Arabic Essentials and develop adaptations of the Essentials for teachers of Chinese and South Asian Languages. These activities directly address critical needs in 18 of the priority languages identified by the U.S. Department of Education.

4. Teacher and Teacher Educator Professional Development. We will host the 2013 Eighth International Language Teacher Educators Conference; continue to offer the highly successful annual Summer Institutes; present at major regional, national, and international conferences; offer special summer institutes for teachers of Chinese; and develop language-specific credit-bearing courses on Arabic and Chinese language teaching methodology for pre-service and in-service Arabic and Chinese teachers.

For more information about the people at NCLRC who make these projects happen, click here.

If your email client does not recognize the links in this webzine, or the links do not work, you can go straight to the NCLRC newsletter online page by clicking this link or copying and pasting the link into your browser address bar.
redstar_white_bg Feature article

A Classroom Teacher's Thoughts on the Policy Briefing: Language Learning For a Global Age
by Robin McMahon

I attended the July policy briefing at the US Capitol in Washington, DC in order to understand the objective and goals of global education as expressed by the education, business, security and intelligence communities. The message was clear from everyone: in order to compete in a "flat," interconnected and diverse world it is critical that we graduate students who are competent in 21st century skills (international awareness, appreciation and knowledge of diverse cultures, proficient in at least one world language, and high-level thinking skills coupled with extensive knowledge of international issues).

111th Congress and Languages
by Ashley Lenker & J. David Edwards, JNCL-NCLIS

As the 111th Congress enters its August recess, the press of legislative business has even required the House to come back into session to pass a $26 billion bill to preserve teachers and government workers' jobs. When Congress officially returns from recess after Labor Day, they will have a very full plate considering climate change, national security, Afghanistan, the economy, omnibus and supplemental spending bills, and reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), among other concerns. With partisanship greater than ever and mid-term elections approaching, accomplishing anything may be difficult and a lame duck session seems possible.

redstar_white_bg Classroom Solutions: YANA

Edited by Sheila Cockey. YANA stands for 'You are Not Alone.' Your questions on challenges in your classrooms are answered by an expert on languages and culture teaching.

Setting Goals, Reflecting, and Succeeding

The school season is hard upon us! Our restful days of summer have rejuvenated us and we're ready to step into the fray, eager and anxious to share our love of language to the new crop of students awaiting us. But, what do we want to accomplish this year? Of course, we want our students to succeed, to develop an understanding of language and cultures, and to get through the curriculum our district has established for us. Is that all?


redstar_white_bg Readers' Corner

Monthly Question
This month's question is: "How do you inform students about and get them interested in study abroad opportunities?" Click here to answer the Question.

Last month we asked "If your school would pay for it what would you most like to do to improve your language teaching ability during the summer vacation?" Read responses here.

This month's poll asks about: "Do you take your students on a trip to a country where the target language is spoken?" Click here to participate in the poll.

Last month, we asked, "What do you do in the summer that contributes to your language teaching practice?" Click here to see the responses

We would love to hear your thoughts and feelings regarding this month's questions! All insights are welcome!

NCLRC announces new podcasts in Chinese, Russian and Arabic. These are drawn from twice-monthly webcasts with student activities. See Chinese, Russian and Arabic home pages.
Chinese Webcasts
Arabic Webcasts
Russian Webcasts
redstar_white_bg Culture Club

edited by Christine Meloni

The Culture Club is an online environment that provides instructors with materials and articles to assist them in teaching culture in their foreign language classrooms. New lesson plans, reviews of films and books, mystery photos, teen interviews, and articles on various aspects of culture will be added regularly. Visit the Culture Club at

The next new edition of the Culture Club will be available on October 15th. It will include four Scavenger Hunts (French, German, Italian, and Spanish). In the meantime, a new Where in the World? Mystery Photo Contest will be launched on September 15th.

redstar_white_bg Critical Languages
  • American Councils for International Education is now accepting applications for its 2011-2012 Title VIII Grants for Research and Advanced Language Training programs in Central Asia, the South Caucasus, Russia, Southeast Europe, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine.
    Application deadline: October 1, 2010.

  • 2011 STARTALK Request for Proposals will be posted online on October 4th. Deadline to submit: October 31, 2010.

  • The STARTALK Multimedia Teacher Workshop Collection is Now Available. This collection of twelve on-line, multimedia workshops was developed by staff of STARTALK-funded teacher preparation programs to enable teachers to improve their skills in critical areas.


redstar_white_bgTech for Teachers

Choosing the Right Technology to Support Online Learning
by John Ross

It still feels like summer outside my window today, but I know schools are back in action and the traditional end of summer for me—that first school bell—has already rung across much of the nation. I hope the summer has been relaxing and productive for you. Yes, productive, because I find my downtime is the time when my creative juices seem to get going and I come up with some of my wildest ideas! My students never knew what hit them in September after I had a little time of my own.
Read more ...

redstar_white_bgTesting Tips

Back to School: Sequencing and Prioritization
by Annie Donovan

A new school year presents an opportunity for a fresh start to design and implement an assessment strategy that will inform instruction and provide feedback to the instructor and the program. An assessment plan should mirror the instructional curriculum and what is happening in the classroom. Every classroom has instructional goals; assessment can measure student attainment of those goals and benchmark students' progress along the way. Read more...

East Coast Organization of Language Testers conference will be held on October 29-30 at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

redstar_white_bg Professional Development, Conferences and Funding Opportunities

Find out about all of the upcoming local and national conferences in one easy-to-access place, the Teachers' Calendar. We also list fellowship and grant opportunities and teacher exchange and study programs, along with student scholarships for foreign language study.

NCLRC will be presenting at the following conferences this fall:


The Language Resource is a monthly publication of the National Capital Language Resource Center to provide 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 Elementary Immersion Learning Strategies Resource Guide
Arabic K-12 Teachers' newsletter The Essentials of Language Teaching
Sailing the 5 Cs with Learning Strategies:
A Resource Guide for Secondary Foreign Language Educators
Developing Autonomy in Language Learners: Learning Strategies Instruction in Higher Education
Portfolio Assessment in the Foreign Language Classroom Russian for Russians
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