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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

PACE Workshop: Using Images as a Cultural Product and for Critical Analysis

October 30, 2015
1:30-4:30 p.m.
Location TBD
Register online by October 23, 2015

Presented by Gwen Barnes-Karol & Maggie Broner, St. Olaf College.

This workshop will include an overview of theoretical considerations that can guide foreign language instructors in curricular planning, as well as a selection of activities using images as a point of departure towards greater student understanding of the target culture. The presenters will share materials they have created and used successfully with their own students.

The PACE Project is funded by a grant from The Language Flagship.

Kate Clements to Plan PACE Professional Development Events

TandemPlus and Multimedia Lab Coordinator, Kate Clements, has assumed responsibility for the planning and implementation of PACE Professional Development events while the position held by Caroline Vang is open. Please welcome Kate to her new role. You can reach her at cleme050@umn.edu if you have any questions or ideas about upcoming events.

The PACE Project is funded by a grant from The Language Flagship.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Language Center Staff Changes

Professional Development and Classroom Support Specialist, Caroline Vang is leaving her position at the Language Center. Her last day will be Friday, September 25, 2015. Caroline has accepted a position at Minneapolis Public School’s District Office as a Training Specialist. She will work with instructors of all subjects and staff employees who work for Minneapolis Public Schools, developing and organizing workshops and conferences.

Caroline started at the Language Center as a graduate student in 2013, and moved to the continuing Professional Development and Classroom Support Specialist position less than a year later. She was instrumental to the success of the first year of the PACE Project. She was the primary coordinator of all of the professional development events associated with the grant. In fact, she will be facilitating a PACE workshop on her very last day! She also initiated a summer reading group called Pedagogical Innovations Reading Group (PIRG) to provide a free summer professional development opportunity for all language instructors.

Caroline will be remembered as an excellent recruiter of undergraduate staff and an advocate for students. We will also miss her friendly, empathetic and positive personality.

Caroline says that she will miss being at the cozy Language Center, as well as the staff and instructional team at the Language Center who supported her from the very beginning!

We are pleased to announce that Jonathan Prestrud has agreed to serve as an interim Classroom Support Coordinator while Caroline’s position is unfilled. Jonathan has experience working in many roles at the Language Center; he served as the TandemPlus Assistant, Classroom Support Staff, Multimedia Lab Attendant, and as a Test Proctor. He is excited to be back to step in, help out, and be part of the team again.

Language Center Hours Friday, September 25, 2015

On Friday, September 25, 2015 the Language Center will hold an all-staff orientation event from 1:30-3:30 p.m. On that day, the Multimedia Lab will close at 1:30 p.m. and users of the Office will be directed to Jones 10 for service. The Classrooms will be open for all scheduled classes.

Summary of Language Center Events Week of September 21-25, 2015

TandemPlus Kickoff Event and Fall Registration

Wednesday, September 23, 2015
4:00-6:00 p.m.
Nolte 140

The TandemPlus Orientation is our first event of the semester, and it is open to all TandemPlus registrants as well as interested students and community members. At the event, participants will be able to meet other Tandem folk (including officers and participants), play language-based board games, learn about TandemPlus, and enjoy free food and refreshments. It’s a great way to start the semester!

Remember, fall registration for TandemPlus is currently open. Anyone who wants a second-language partner can register at tandem.umn.edu. Interested parties should register early so they can get a partner soon and start conversing.

ACTFL Webinar: Words and Actions - Teaching Languages Through the Lens of Social Justice

Thursday, September 24, 2015
11:10 - 12:00 p.m.
Jones 35


Presented by the three authors of Words and Actions - Teaching Languages Through the Lens of Social Justice, Cassandra Glynn, Pam Wesely, and Beth Wassell.

This webinar will explore how the principles of social justice education can be incorporated into world language teacher education. They will review the basics of social justice education and then identify the “entry points” when social justice issues could be more deliberately incorporated into the language teacher methods course or inservice workshops. They will each give examples from their own teaching methods classes and workshops. Finally, they will address the importance of social justice education in the face of growing requirements in world language teacher education programs. There will be some time for questions at the end of the webinar.

The presentation of this webinar is co-sponsored by the Language Center and CARLA.

Monday, September 14, 2015

PACE Project Workshop: Registration Deadline

Friday, September 25, 2015
9:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Nicholson 35
Register Online by Friday, September 18, 2015

Presented by Erwin Tschirner, Professor at the Herder-Institut in Germany & ACTFL test developer. Dr. Tschirner is co-author of the beginning German textbook Kontakte: A Communicative Approach, and has been involved in proficiency-based test development and implementation. He is conducting a large scale study on ACTFL listening and reading tests in a variety of languages, and in this presentation/workshop will provide suggestions for addressing listening and reading in the language curriculum and helping students improve their proficiency in these modalities.

The PACE Project is funded by a grant from The Language Flagship.

PACE Project: Fall 2014 Final Report Available

Each semester, data from the PACE Project is sent to the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) in Washington, DC, for analysis. For each individual student tested, the data includes the ratings on the three ACTFL tests (Speaking, Reading, and Listening), Self-Assessment responses and ratings, and information on language background and use culled from the PACE survey and PeopleSoft.

The research questions the report seeks to answer:
  1. What levels of proficiency do students demonstrate at which course levels in which languages?
  2. Do students in higher level courses demonstrate higher levels of proficiency than students in lower levels?
  3. Are there patterns in responses on surveys and proficiency scores?
  4. Are there correlations between self-assessments and actual ratings?
  5. What factors contribute to advanced proficiency in study abroad experiences (given a sufficiently robust sample)?

The final report on assessments conducted during Fall 2014 is now available.

The PACE Project is funded by a grant from The Language Flagship.

TandemPlus Kickoff Event and Fall Registration

Wednesday, September 23, 2015
4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Nolte 140

The TandemPlus Orientation is our first event of the semester, and it is open to all TandemPlus registrants as well as interested students and community members. At the event, participants will be able to meet other Tandem folk (including officers and participants), play language-based board games, learn about TandemPlus, and enjoy free food and refreshments. It’s a great way to start the semester!

Remember, fall registration for TandemPlus is currently open. Anyone who wants a second-language partner can register at tandem.umn.edu. Interested parties should register early so they can get a partner soon, and start conversing.

TandemPlus is now a Student Group!

It’s officially official: TandemPlus is now a student group! This means that TandemPlus is recognized and listed among the University of Minnesota Student Union and Activities (SUA)’s many Student Groups. We have adopted a constitution and have elected five student officers who will help with all facets of Tandem, including event planning, budgeting, and outreach across campus and beyond. Tandem is still housed at the Language Center, and has a coordinator and assistant who are staff of the Language Center. Becoming an official student group simply means that more people will know about Tandem through SUA, and Tandem can collaborate with different groups in an increased capacity.

The 2015-2016 TandemPlus officers are:
  • Lucas Van: President
  • Beatriz Fusco Nogueira Simoes: Vice President
  • Ashley Lynch: Events Coordinator
  • Yu Yan: Secretary
  • So Eun Shin: Treasurer

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Language Center Staff Changes

The Language Center is pleased to welcome the following staff who are either working in a new role or are brand new to the department:

  • Shannon Roach is the new Graduate Assistant Coordinator. Shannon is originally from New York, and has come to the University of Minnesota to pursue the MA degree in Second Languages and Cultures with a specialization in English as a Second Language for Higher Education. Her academic background includes BA degrees in Music, and French. In her spare time, she enjoys playing piano, rock climbing, running, and yoga. 
  • Anna Olivero-Agney has a new role as the Language Assessment Specialist. She works with all language programs to facilitate the process of language assessment, including traditional, alternative and self-assessment. She is now the best first contact for instructors interested in developing a new assessment or refining an existing assessment.
  • Andie Wang, a CEHD PhD. candidate who has worked on several test development projects at the Language Center, will serve this year as an Intercultural Competence Specialist. She will advise and collaborate with language instructors to articulate the role that intercultural competence plays in language classes, and help instructors and staff integrate areas of cultural competence into existing assessment projects.
We also wish bon voyage to Rick Treece, who is leaving the Language Center after eighteen years as the liaison to French and Italian. The multi-talented Rick was the most fun, interesting and warm-hearted colleague imaginable. Rick always put students first. He attended almost every TandemPlus event and worked one-on-one with any student who requested his help. Rick would also collaborate on any project. If you asked Rick for his advice, he would always come up with a creative solution. Rick leaves us with many memories, and also his collection of cow-themed memorabilia.

PACE Project: Teaching Listening and Reading Workshop

Friday, September 25, 2015
9:00-11:00 a.m.
Location TBA
Register Online by Friday, September 18, 2015

Presented by Erwin Tschirner, Professor at the Herder-Institut in Germany & ACTFL test developer. Dr. Tschirner is co-author of the beginning German textbook Kontakte: A Communicative Approach, and has been involved in proficiency-based test development and implementation. He is conducting a large scale study on ACTFL listening and reading tests in a variety of languages, and in this presentation/workshop will provide suggestions for addressing listening and reading in the language curriculum and helping students improve their proficiency in these modalities.

The PACE Project is funded by a grant from The Language Flagship.