The NCLRC Language Resource
VOL. 13, NO. 3

Special Conference Issue

May 2009
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Each month this year we have examined a theme from the Language Teacher Education Conference. This month's theme is Teacher Assessment. The feature article is by Simon Borg on Teacher Cognition. Catch up on the conference buzz to find out what's new. Teacher's Diary addresses the implementation and successes of classroom routines. Read about theatrical adventures in Chile in the Study-abroad Blog, Érica En Sudamérica. Tech for Teachers reviews resources for language teachers and teacher educators. We also preview the LTE Tech for Teachers Portal.


redstar_white_bg Announcements:

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redstar_white_bg Feature article

Introducing Language Teacher Cognition
Simon Borg, Centre for Language Education Research, School of Education, University of LeedsEditor’s note: Hear Simon Borg discuss results from the latest research on Teacher Cognition at the Language Teacher Education Conference on May 30, from 3:45 – 5:00 pm. See for details.

Teacher cognition research is concerned with understanding what teachers think, know and believe. Its primary concern, therefore, lies with the unobservable dimension of teaching - teachers’ mental lives... In the 1960s, research on teaching focused on the search for effective teaching behaviours – i.e. behaviours that would result in greater learning (typically measured through achievement tests). In the 1970s, though, this view of teaching started to be questioned. The questions being addressed now were not simply ‘what do teachers do?’ but also ‘what do they think?’, ‘what decisions do they make?’ and ‘why?’. The notion of universally applicable teaching behaviours was viewed increasingly critically as the uniqueness of different educational contexts – and particularly the uniqueness of teachers and learners as human beings – was acknowledged.

redstar_white_bg Teacher's Diary

Anita is a first year Spanish teacher in a suburban school near Chicago. She is sharing her thoughts and experiences all this year with our readers.

Dear Diary,
Oh how I adore my classroom routines! My last entry was about how much my upper-level Spanish students drove me slightly crazy. It is a large, talkative class, and I was new to the majority of them who had another teacher first semester. The difference however, from the beginning of the semester to now is quite impressive. Although the students remain chatty, they know what to do, when to do it, and how long to spend settling down when they are finished. Per usual, they were testing me, their new teacher, to see what they could get away with. The routines were set from the beginning of the semester, but it took the students awhile to realize that they were routines and get used to following them. They have learned, and so have I. Read more...

redstar_white_bg Heritage Learners
The International Baccalaureate Approach to Native Language Study
by Belinda A. Sauret
BsauretAlthough a college astronomy professor first showed me the Flammerion wood engraving* as a metaphor for how drastically the study of astronomy changed during the Renaissance, the image conjures up other worldview-shattering experiences as well. A traveler seems to have ventured away from the town in the distance beside a lakeshore...Outside the dome he finds another heaven with other celestial engines. In the moment the artist captured, the traveler has come to the edge of the dome, and has, according to the caption, just found the point where the sky and earth touch.... A recent conversation with Andrew Flory of the International Baccalaureate Organization made me rethink how I look at and think about the Flammarion woodcut; more specifically, his remarks have made me reconsider the position the walker is in, absolutely in-between, neither here nor there, more knowledgeable than the others in the village, but still part of them. Read more...
redstar_white_bg Readers' Corner

Monthly Question
Last month we asked about observations. What have you learned from the experience of being observed? Who observed you in what context? Read responses here.
How would you improve your school's method of teacher assessment? Click here to answer the Question.
How does your school assess your performance as a teacher? Click here to answer the Poll.
We would love to hear your thoughts and feelings regarding this month's questions! All insights are welcome!

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

This month's question:

  • I teach third and fourth level classes and would like to have my students participate in debates in class on topics that will use the vocabulary of the text. I need some advice and guidance in how to prepare my students to do a debate, including why it is an important exercise. I work in a public high school. Read YANA's answer...
redstar_white_bgCritical Languages

As we transition into summer, the NCLRC is thrilled to announce our 2009 NCLRC Arabic Summer Institutes! We are offering "Writing & Implementing an Arabic Curriculum K-12" and "Arabic Hands On" continuing our tradition of conducting quality Arabic teacher training during the summers. Limited stipends are available.

June 29 - July 3
Iman Hashem (Occidental College), Muhammad Eissa (University of Chicago), and Christine Brown (Glastonbury Public Schools); tuition: $500

This workshop is for participants who are interested in developing and/or improving their Arabic curriculum. Beginning, and more experienced, teachers and curriculum developers can participate and share curricular materials. Basic concepts of curriculum development are reviewed and leaders work with small groups to help develop and refine participants' curricula. Participants are expected to complete their own curriculum unit during and after the workshop.
Location: In/near Washington, DC

July 6 - 10
Iman Hashem (Occidental College) & Muhammad Eissa (University of Chicago); tuition: $500
Focuses on how to teach Arabic at beginning and intermediate levels to K-12 American students using Arabic as the classroom language. Teachers are guided in developing objectives; planning presentation and practice activities; developing, adapting or choosing materials; planning an evaluation activity; and developing and teaching a lesson in Arabic. Teachers will observe and conduct Arabic lessons with students throughout the institute. (Conducted in Arabic)
Location: In/near Washington, DC
To learn more about these Institutes and to register, visit the website.

Podcast: Summer Institute Highlights
Teaching Reading in Arabic
Mahmoud Al-Batal Ph.D., coauthor of the Al-Kitaab textbook series and Martha Schulte-Nafeh Ph.D. conduct a teacher workshop focused on developing reading strategies for college students of Arabic. This workshop was part of the 2007 NCLRC Arabic Teacher Training Institutes.
See the podcast here

News: Many LRCs are announcing their summer events for critical languages. Among them are a Symposium on Himalayan, an institute on Languages of the Muslim World, and a new Gateway for K-12 in LCTLs. Read more...

redstar_white_bg Language Teacher Education Conference Buzz
What's new at the Preparing Language Teachers for the 21st Century: Sixth International Conference on Language Teacher Education?
  • Lunch with Authors - Take a box lunch and sit with your favorite language teacher education textbook author to discuss how to best utilize their work in your course
  • Learn about new technologies for language teaching and teacher education in our Tech for Teachers room.
  • Hear the experts in language teacher education in and discuss their work in the intimate setting of our Pre-Conference Workshops.

Some workshops you definitely do not want to miss:

A Reflective European Portfolio for Student Teachers of Languages
Cecilia Nihlén, University of Gothenburg, Sweden & Anne-Brit Fenner, University of Bergen, Norway
The European Portfolio for Student Teachers of Languages: a reflection tool for student teachers of languages (EPOSTL) was developed for the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe. It is a self-assessment portfolio intended for students undergoing teacher education which encourages them to reflect on the didactic knowledge and skills necessary to teach languages and helps them to assess their own didactic competences and monitor their progress. Participants become familiar with EPOSTL and discuss how mentoring and teacher development can be supported through its use.

Learning Advocacy: Teacher Education Practices and Teacher Knowledge
Martha Bigelow, University of Minnesota & Lisa Morgan, Aquinas College
Participants explore activities which prepare ESOL teachers for advocacy and school leadership roles, share their own practices, and generate ideas for research on preparing teachers for advocacy using a variety of research methods.

Developing teacher Expertise in Backward Design and Performance Assessment
Jennifer Eddy, Queens College
This institute provides teacher educators with a model protocol they can use with their pre- or in-service teachers to help them learn how to use backward design to align curriculum with standards. Participants learn how to guide teachers in designing articulated, thematic curricula;developing transfer tasks within the communicative modes; and planning instruction with performance in mind.

All workshops take place on Thursday, May 28, 2009 and the registration fee is $75. For more information about these and other Pre-Conference Workshops and how to register.... click here.

See more details here...

redstar_white_bg Culture Club

edited by Christine Meloni
Visit the Culture Club! Updates coming soon!

Explore more here....

Tech for Teachers

Tech for Teachers Technology Review: LINGT Editor
by Tom Braslavsky, George Washington Universitylinq

Many teachers have encountered challenges in assigning oral homework. Some have difficulty ensuring that students indeed practice, while others find they have trouble evaluating students’ progress. Having students use tape recorders to record their pronunciations can get bulky and inefficient to grade, and few easy-to-use alternatives exist in aiding the process. Enter MIT graduates Scot Frank, Chris Varenhorst and Justin Cannon, who formed the company Lingt Language in order to create online tools for language teachers and improve the classroom dynamic. Their first project, Lingt Editor, is an online program found on their website ( that tries to make it easier to assign, complete and grade oral homework.  



If you're coming to LTE 2009, visit our Tech for Teachers room there; if you can't attend, tech presentations can be viewed online, too, via the LTE Web Portal. We're collaborating with MERLOT's World Languages Web Portal to publicize this information, so you can see us there, too.

redstar_white_bg Professional Development, Conferences and Funding Opportunities
Summer's almost here and conferences are still in full swing. Find out about all of the 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.
redstar_white_bg Study-Abroad Blog

Erica In South America [Érica En Sudamérica]
by Erica MantaErica's photo

What do Jesus Christ Superstar and Othello have in common?

I've seen them both in Spanish! What, did you think that just because I'm speaking a different language I'd go 5 months without seeing some theater?

I celebrated Easter Sunday by going to see Jesu Christo Superstar with some friends and had a blast. I absolutely love that musical and its soundtrack, so I was pumped to see it in Spanish. Apparently it's kind of a tradition here to put on around Easter, and you could tell because the crowd was really into it. Personally, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, singing along (under my breath ... mostly) to all the songs in English. The lyrics were translated pretty literally, so there were often times I could sing all or part of a line in Spanish. Now I want the soundtrack in Spanish too.


NCLRC announces new podcasts in Russian and Arabic. These are drawn from twice-monthly webcasts with student activities. See Russian and Arabic home pages.

Arabic Webcasts


Russian Webcasts


redstar_white_bgNCLRC Staff

Congratulations to our 2009 graduates: Candice Michalowicz from George Washington University and Jared Koch from Georgetown University! We wish them the best in their language careers! This week we're hosting the Sixth International Conference on Language Teacher Education. Hope to see you there!

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
backtotop   website

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