Go to the U of M home page

Monday, April 28, 2014

"Yes They Can! Planning the Journey" Workshop on May 21-22, 2014

The Language Center and the Committee on Second Language Education (ComSLE) is pleased to announce an opportunity for all CLA second language instructors. A two-day workshop on May 21 & 22, 2014 will serve as a sequel to the "Yes They Can!" workshop that was held on February 28. Martha Bigelow will facilitate and lead the group in a discussion of how to implement the Can Do Statements were developed by each language department during the previous workshop.

Martha Bigelow is an Associate Professor with the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and Interim Director of the Educator Development and Research Center. She has worked with several universities around the globe, including Vietnam, Malaysia, and Costa Rica, and has applied the theory of "backwards design" to create new curricula and materials for their various language programs. We hope that Martha's presence at our May workshop will help us to move forward with the Can Do statements that we have developed.

Wednesday, May 21 & Thursday, May 22, 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Breakfast and lunch will be provided
Location: TBD

Feel free to bring a laptop or tablet (not required). If you have any questions, you can contact Caroline Vang at cevang@umn.edu.

Language Center Hiring for Summer: Several Undergraduate Positions Available

Students with an interest in language and technology are invited to apply to work at the Language Center this summer in one of three teams: Office, Multimedia Lab and Classroom Support.

Experience with administration or technology is preferred, but not required. Undergraduate student status and summer work study funding is required. Students can view the job descriptions and apply online for the Main Office, Multimedia Lab and Classroom Support positions.

Presentation: Classroom Internet Activities Made Easy

In this afternoon coffee break presentation, we'll explore how in-class internet activities can increase student engagement and bring the target culture into the classroom in a meaningful and interesting way. The presentation will include examples of successful internet based activities from both 1000- and 3000-level courses. There will also be some time to work on your own presentations and/or discuss how you could do similar activities in your own class. Although examples will be from Spanish, the information will be of interest to teachers of any language.

Monday, April 28, 2014
2:30-3:20 p.m.
Folwell 32

Presenter: Anne Hoffman-González is a Teaching Specialist in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese Studies. She has taught beginning level and intermediate hybrid and technology-enhanced Spanish courses for over 10 years. She incorporates these kinds of activities into her advanced courses as well. Anne is currently a PhD candidate in Applied Spanish Linguistics, UW-Madison.

This presentation is sponsored by the Spanish & Portuguese Instructor Sharing Hour.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Spring in to Annie's Parlour with TandemPlus

Spring (and Spring Jam) is almost here -- celebrate one day early with TandemPlus! On Wednesday, April 23, from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m., TandemPlus will hold its final event of the semester at Annie's Parlour in Dinkytown. All current TandemPlus participants are invited to come and enjoy fries, malts and more while conversing in their first and second languages. TandemPlus will cover the cost of the first round of appetizers; come early to get the free snacks. Participants who want to attend should email tandem@umn.edu to let us know you'll be there.

Congratulations to the 2014 SELPie Winners

Did you know that the Language Center employs approximately twice as many undergraduate student staff as continuing non-student staff? Our undergraduate student staff provide primary assistance to students and instructors in public areas like the Main Office and Multimedia Lab, and provide Classroom Support for our four classrooms. In addition, undergraduate students play a vital role on the following teams: Dev Studio, TandemPlus, Technical Support, Testing, Instructional (Moodle) and World Languages Day. The Language Center could not run without our dedicated and skilled undergraduate team members.

The Student Employee Leadership Program (SELP) provides an opportunity to recognize student employees who go above and beyond expectations in their work at the university through the annual SELPie awards for Outstanding Student Employees. Award winners will be honored Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 3:30 - 5:00 p.m. in McNamara Alumni Center, Memorial Hall.

The 2014 winners from the Language Center are:

Monday, April 14, 2014

TandemPlus Spring Partnership Highlight

For Katia Paz and Sangho Yun, meeting twice a week for coffee, Korean and English conversation is just a part of their routine. Every Monday and Friday, Paz, a freshman from St. Cloud studying nursing and Korean, and Yun, a PhD student from Seoul, South Korea studying electrical engineering, meet at a campus Starbucks for their TandemPlus language exchange.

At their meetings they speak half of the time in Korean and half of the time in English and both help each other to improve their language. Paz feels that she can comfortably ask Yun language questions and ask for clarifications on grammatical concepts, while Yun feels that Paz helps him by correcting mispronunciation of English words. They often talk about cultural, social, and political differences and both feel they have gained crucial cultural insight over the past few months. In addition, both participants feel that their confidence has greatly improved in speaking their second languages. Paz feels that due to her growing confidence she is "more vocal in class." Both students share the goal of using their second languages in a future career; Paz hopes to work at a base in Korea, and Yun hopes to use English regularly in a career for multinational technology company. Both participants feel that Tandem language exchanges are essential to improving their language.

The Enduring Spirit of Labor Featuring the Art of Anna Kaminski

TandemPlus and World Languages Day Assistant Anna Kaminski will exhibit and participate in a public lecture on April 23, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. at Regis Center for Art. The exhibition called The Enduring Spirit of Labor speaks to injustices rampant in labor industries and services and celebrates the struggle against systemic forces of injustice. Anna and other artists featured in the exhibition have worked collaboratively and individually on projects that speak to deeper dimensions of human rights violations in labor industries, challenging participants to consider elements of injustice existing beyond physical and explicit violence.

The Public Program for The Enduring Spirit of Labor will feature artist introductions and a discussion led by Anna Meteyer, Anna Kaminski, and Lindsay Keating. The discussion will highlight the role of artistic advocacy in social justice, the critical need to fuse art and political activism, and the advantages--and challenges--of incorporating interdisciplinary work into the fine arts. A Public Reception with the artists and curators will follow.

World Languages Day: Please Volunteer to Help on May 20, 2014

World Languages Day (WLD) is the largest outreach event at the University of Minnesota associated with language promotion. It is possible because of the efforts of our volunteers, who come from around the university. Some volunteer because they support K-12 outreach or language promotion, and others just think interacting with high school students is fun.

The event is scheduled for Tuesday, May 20, 2014 on the East Bank, and we need volunteers to help make it a success. Volunteers help with setup and check in, and support the classes that students attend.

If you are available on May 20, please consider signing as a volunteer at the WLD site.

While at the WLD website, you can look at the classes scheduled for 2014, and learn more about this year's event.

Volunteers will receive a light breakfast and lunch.

The World Languages Day planning group and the College of Liberal Arts sincerely thank everyone who is able to volunteer for this important outreach event for the University of Minnesota.

Monday, April 7, 2014

World Languages Day 2014: Class List now Available!

World Languages Day 2014 is fast approaching. Check out the classes available at this year's event!

Thanks to the University of Minnesota's creative and talented language instructors, we are able to offer almost sixty classes representing more than twenty different languages.

This year's event features several classes intend to expand students' knowledge of the language they currently study in high school. These options include a variety of Spanish immersion courses, such as ¡Wacala!/Yuck!, where students can learn about all things gross, and ¡Bienvenidos a Argentina!, which will immerse students in the history, geography and culture of Argentina. Students of Chinese can try practicing their conversation skills with native Chinese speakers in TandemPlus Chinese Language Exchange. Self-Assessment classes are offered for Chinese, French, German and Spanish students interested in learning more about their own language skills.

Students can also sample a brand new language or culture. We are offering a variety of introductory language courses, including Basic Ojibwe, Survival Finnish, and Introduction to Arabic!, as well as many culture classes. Students can learn some new dance moves in Come Enjoy Bhangra Dance!, or explore international art in The Art of Paperfolding 'Origami' and Bastelstunde! German Arts & Crafts.

This year's World Languages Day has something for everyone!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

New Staff in the Language Center Main Office

Who are the students working at the front desk in Jones Hall 110 this semester? Here are short self-introductions from the new Language Center Main Office student staff.


Alex Fox

My name is Alex Fox. I am a English Major here at the University with a Poli Sci minor. I am a senior at the U of M and transfer from a community college in Connecticut. I speak English and am currently taking Spanish 1004; I have a little experience with the language from my time in California. Otherwise I enjoy playing the drums and illustrating as well as discussing current trends in global politics.


Chloe Gansen

I'm a junior majoring in Journalism, specifically Public Relations, with a minor in Public Health. I'm from Janesville, Wisconsin, which is a city about 30 minutes south of Madison. After graduation I would like to work for a nonprofit in or around Minneapolis. In my spare time I enjoy swimming, running and cooking. I took some French in high school and I am currently in my final semester of French here at the U. I've really loved learning a new language and I hope in the future I will have an opportunity to travel to France or another French-speaking country.


Nick Ott

I'm a first year student here at the U with hopes to double major in Strategic Communications and Economics and to double minor in German and Spanish Studies. I've lived my whole life (until now) in Brown Deer, Wisconsin, a small town right outside of Milwaukee. I like to keep myself busy between my two jobs and school, but when I do have free time, I like to swim, hang out with friends, watch Netflix, buy things on Amazon, and tweet. After college, I hope to go into the Peace Corps, serving in a Spanish-speaking country.


Shoua Thao

I am new to the Language Center Main Office team this Spring semester of 2014. I am currently a sophomore majoring in Political Science, Mass Communication, and Design - in other words, I am pursuring a Bachelors of Individualized Studies Degree here at the Univeristy of Minnesota. I am from Brooklyn Center, so not too far. Whenever I have time, I love to go play flag football which I am currently active in my Hmong community and we go play in women's flag football leagues annually. I also enjoy playing volleyball as another hobby. I look forward to getting to know you guys and gals better!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

New Classroom Support Staff - Spring 2014

The Classroom Support Team has added two new hires this semester - Amber Davidson and Carissa Polo. They are both bright and eager to help with anything related to our classrooms and technology, and have many interests in language!


Amber Davidson

My name is Amber Davidson, and I'm a freshman here at the U. I grew up near a small town in northern Minnesota called Detroit Lakes. I'm majoring in history, and I'm working towards completing a minor in Spanish, as well. Perhaps not surprisingly, one of my passions is learning new languages, and I'm planning on taking as many language classes as I can in the future. Also, in my spare time I like to make music- I sing and play guitar, and I play trombone in the University Band, as well.


Carissa Polo

My name's Carissa! I'm a freshman from Huntley, Illinois, which is a small suburb just outside of Chicago. I'm currently taking Spanish at the U and I am trying to keep up with basic French and Portuguese when I can. In my spare time you can usually find me figure skating, writing for my blog, or filming for my youtube channel. Because music is one of my favorite things in the world, I love going to concerts and working with/for various musical artists.