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Friday, January 28, 2011

Fasten Seat Belts: Quick videos to learn about cultural differences

Are you looking for a quick, cultural conversation starter for your class? Consider playing one of the videos found on Fasten Seat Belts. These online videos, which range from 20 seconds to a little over a minute long, provide some quick tips and expressions about cultural differences for some countries in Europe and Asia. Here is a sample video about table manners:

In addition to these short videos, there are audio clips that cover some basic expressions such as hello, good-bye, and numbers.

The audio and videos on this site were funded by the European Commission's Socrates-Lingua department and by the European Commission's Life Long Learning Programme in an effort highlight cultural differences and break cultural and linguistic barriers.

Thanks to Ryan at Language Lab Unleased! and Richard Byrne at Free Technology for Teachers for the tip!

Jenise Rowekamp - P&A Audio Spotlight

Jenise Rowekamp, former director of the Language Center, and now a Teaching Specialist in the Minnesota English Language Program, was recently featured in the P&A Audio Spotlight. Listen to hear more about what Jenise is up to in her current role in MELP!

Monday, January 24, 2011

New at Tandem Plus Spring 2011

The new semester brings new excitement to the Tandem Plus Program.
We are pleased to announce the formation of Guided Conversation groups for Spanish, ESL, and Japanese. These groups, which meet weekly for 1 hour, are led by students who are either native speakers or are fluent in the target language, and include 2-3 participants who would like to practice their second language skills. The Guided Conversation Groups are theme-oriented, which means participants talk about topics that the group leader provides. It is a little more organized than having a "free conversation," but participants can still meet over coffee and relax. These groups will be formed and start meeting in the next few weeks.

Brand-new this semester is "Virtual Face-to-Face" pairings, which join U of M participants with conversation partners in different countries. The participants will meet virtually via Skype (or a similar platform) to practice their second-language skills with students at universities in Russia, Germany, Mexico, Honduras, and more. This is a great option for people who would like a conversation partner but don't get paired with one via our Face-to-Face program. To sign up for Virtual Face-to-Face, students need to register online for a Face-to-Face exchange through the Language Center.

Finally, Tandem Plus will be presenting at the Quality Fair on February 3 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Carlson School of Management. Stop by, say hello, and check out our poster presentation!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Beverages with lids now okay in all LC spaces

Beginning Spring 2011, beverages with lids or other covers will be permitted in all LC spaces, including classrooms, small rooms and the Multimedia Lab. Open beverages and food are still prohibited. Keep a lid on your coffee and water, and bring it with you.

Half-price printing for double-sided jobs at the the Multimedia Lab

The Multimedia Lab staff in Jones 135 are pleased to announce that they now offer a discount on double-sided printing. The cost of printing is $0.10 per page -- either single or double-sided. This means students who print double-sided documents save 50% over the cost of single-sided documents! Go green, save some green!

iTeach Workshops and other Professional Development at the U

Language Center iTeach Workshops
This spring semester, the Language Center is creating customized iTeach Workshops for your department. If you and your colleagues are interested in improving your current use of technology, or would like to incorporate a new activity or project that uses technology into your course, the Language Center staff are here to support you! Please contact your language liaison or Alyssa Ruesch to schedule a training on the topic(s) of your choice. We are happy to conduct individual or group trainings at a time that is convenient for you.
Asian Languages and Literature: Zhen Zou
French and Italian: Rick Treece
German, Scandinavian and Dutch: Beth Kautz
Spanish and Portuguese: Pablo Viedma

Professional Development Opportunities at the U of M
University Technology Training Center
If you are new to Moodle or need a refresher, the University Technology Training Center (UTTC) offers comprehensive hands-on training. They offer 4 sessions: Creating Basic Course Web Sites, Assignments and Quizzes, Grades and Collaboration.
For more information:

Courses through University Libraries
The University Libraries offers a wide variety of training opportunities,ranging from presentations to help you understand the ins and outs of copyright, to productivity and collaboration tips when using Google. One session that should be useful for many language instructors is titled Can I Use That? Fair Use in Everyday Life
To register and see a complete list of courses, go to:  https://www.lib.umn.edu/services/workshops/registration

Workshops through the Center for Teaching and Learning
Just in Time Teaching
The Center for Teaching and Learning offers a variety of workshops throughout the semester to help keep you and your students engaged.  Re-invigorate your courses and teaching by taking one of these workshops!  See http://www1.umn.edu/ohr/teachlearn/index.html for more details.

CARLA Presentations

Challenges of Teaching Pragmatics to Foreign Language Learners: The Korean Example
Tuesday, January 25

12:20-1:10 p.m.
Jones 35
Presenter: Dr. Sang-Seok Yoon

"Foreign Language Activities" in Japanese Public Elementary Schools: 
A Critical Analysis of the New Language Education Policy

Tuesday, Feb 8
12:20-1:10 p.m. 
Jones 35
Presenter: Sachiko Horii 

Looking at Student Work to Facilitate Articulation from High School to College in Arabic and Chinese
Tuesday, Feb 22
12:20-1:10 p.m. 
Jones 35
Presenters: Ursula Lentz and Gaelle Berg

The Pedagogy of Improvisation: Teaching Our Learners to Express Meaning
Wednesday, March 9
12:20-1:10 p.m. 
Jones 35
Presenter: Patrick Scully 

From Communicative Competence to Integrated Language and Cultural Competence: 
Bridging Proficiency Levels and Disciplines

Thursday, March 24
12:00-1:00 p.m. (note time difference)
Jones 15
Presenter: Patricia Mougel

Heritage Speakers of Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTL) in the United States
Wednesday, April 6
12:20-1:10 p.m.
Jones 35
Presenter: Vichet Chhuon

Deconstructing ESL: Exploring the Consequences of an Institutional Category
Wednesday, April 20
12:20-1:10 p.m.
Jones 35
Presenter: Adam Rambow