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Monday, October 31, 2016

Visiting Scholars Presentations and Workshop: International Skype Communication and Web-Based Approaches

The University of Minnesota's Institute of Linguistics has partnered CARLA, the Language Center PACE Project and MELP to offer two short research talks and a hands-on workshop (light lunch provided) by visiting scholars Dr. Stefan Diemer and Dr. Marie-Louise Brunner from Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany. The presenters are co-founders of Teaching Solutions Brunner & Diemer partnership corporation, consulting with companies, educators, and government institutions on intercultural and educational issues, and offering a broad range of educational opportunities focused on intercultural and multilingual teaching methods and web-based learning.

Research Talks: Intercultural Skype Communication - Two Views from the Field

Thursday, November 10, 2016
12:20-1:10 p.m.
University International Center 101

Paralanguage and Gesture in a Corpus of Skype Conversations: 
“... Okay so good luck with that ((laughing))?”

This presentation illustrates the affordances of rich data, using examples from CASE, the Corpus of Academic Spoken English (Diemer et al., forthcoming) for paralinguistic (e.g. laughter) and non-verbal discourse features (e.g. gestures) and ways in which they add important information to the meaning-making process of conversations. CASE consists of Skype conversations between speakers of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) from eight European countries and allows research on a wide range of linguistic features of informal spoken computer mediated discourse. The interaction between verbal discourse and paralinguistic/non-verbal elements in CASE allows a differentiated view that has not yet been explored in other corpora. Two case studies (on laughter and gestures) are used to illustrate the benefits of including paralinguistic and non-verbal elements in the transcription of multimodal corpora. Though largely unexplored as part of spoken corpora, these elements are often indispensable for understanding the complexities involved in the negotiation of meaning. Laughter is an essential factor in rapport management, particularly in first contact encounters between previously unacquainted people, where it serves to reframe situations as non-serious, playful, or unproblematic, putting the partners at ease with each other. Gestures and other multimodal elements in CASE are an important element of meaning construction. As Kress (2011: 46) has stated, “[m]ultimodality, first and foremost, refuses the idea of the ‘priority’ of the linguistic modes; it regards them as partial means of making meaning.” Non-verbal elements thus further enhance our understanding of meaning creation in discourse. Both paralanguage and gesture are thus an important and indeed essential element of meaning construction, further enhancing our understanding of meaning creation in discourse.

Identity Negotiation Strategies in Intercultural Skype Communication:
“You know every region has its like ... stuff you know”

The presentation analyzes how identities are negotiated in English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) communication. The study is based on CASE, the Corpus of Academic Spoken English (forthcoming), in which participants from different European countries discuss academic and cultural topics in an informal online setting via Skype. I analyze identity negotiation processes in CASE; in particular, the presentation focuses on three key strategies that participants use in their conversations. I first examine how the discussion of culturally connoted and stereotypical terms is used to negotiate identities, for example by talking about cultural traditions, such as typical food, festivities, etc. Then, language choice is analyzed as a means of identity creation (cf. Auer 2005). In the data, code-switching is used to enhance cultural connotations (cf. also Vettorel 2014), e.g. as a means of emphasizing cultural identity and group membership (cf. Ochs 1993, Auer 2005, Cogo 2009), not only as part of a regional or national community but also as multilingual speakers. Finally, the data suggests that American stereotypes and perceived characteristics function as a convenient facilitator for the negotiation and construction of common transcultural or European identities in CASE. This is in line with research stating that European identities often constitute themselves only through imagined and observed differences from ‘America’ as the ‘Other,’ rather than perceived common features (cf. Neumann 1998, Morley and Robins 2002). To sum up, the paper examines various strategies used in multi-faceted identity negotiation processes in international ELF Skype communication.

Workshop: Web-Based Approaches for the Modern Foreign Language Classroom

Friday, November 11, 2016
12:00 - 1:30 p.m.
Bruininks Hall 131B
Register Online (required)

This hands-on workshop will familiarize participants with the use of web-based resources in the language classroom, providing language teachers with extensive and applied examples they can use to prepare teaching materials, presenting ways to integrate them in their courses, and offering practical exercises on site. Participants will explore the use of Google Trends as a visualization tool for vocabulary, language variation and cultural concepts in a wide variety of languages. Marie-Louise Brunner and Stefan Diemer will present the most useful online language corpora and show applications of word nets, word clouds, and concordances in the area of grammar, lexis, dialect and register variation as tools for preparation and classroom activities.

Based on the Web as a Corpus approach (Hundt et al. 2007; Diemer 2009), Marie-Louise and Stefan will also introduce memes, blogs, and ads as teaching resources for the intercultural language classroom, with a particular focus on speaking skills and language variation (Brunner & Diemer 2014). Finally, they illustrate how, via the Awakening to Languages approach, similarities between various languages can be used to raise students’ language awareness and motivation, as well as to facilitate language learning.

Participants are highly encouraged to bring their own laptops in order to try out the tools presented.

This event is open to all languages and levels. A light lunch will be provided, so please register to ensure an accurate headcount. If you are not able to register, please email elsie@umn.edu or carri093@umn.edu to let us that you plan to attend.

This workshop is sponsored by the Institute of Linguistics. Cosponsored by the PACE Project and CARLA.

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

Stefan Diemer is professor of international communication and digital business at Trier University of Applied Sciences and associate professor of linguistics at Saarland University, Germany. He is head of the team compiling CASE, the Corpus of Academic Spoken English, a corpus of international Skype conversations. His research interests include language and the Web, English as a Lingua Franca, and the didactics of English in an online context. His corpus work and his interest in intercultural communication and special-purpose language have also led him to focus on interdisciplinary research fields such as intercomprehension, language and identity, and food discourse.

Marie-Louise Brunner is doctoral researcher and head of the intercultural communication programme at Trier University of Applied Sciences and lecturer in the department of English linguistics at Saarland University, Germany. Her Master's degree is in English, American, and Anglophone Studies (focus: English Linguistics), with a minor in Intercultural Communication. For her PhD thesis, she investigates the negotiation of intercultural communication, specifically discourse strategies in English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) Skype conversations. Her research interests are in the areas of discourse analysis, pragmatics, corpus linguistics, and intercomprehension. She is also interested in the use of online media and corpora, as well as intercultural and multilingual approaches in the foreign language classroom.

Monday, October 24, 2016

TandemPlus and MISA International Halloween Party

Friday, October 28, 2016
6:30 - 9:00 p.m.
Coffman Memorial Union: Mississippi Room
Online Information (registration not required)

TandemPlus, the Minnesota International Student Association (MISA), and ISSS’ International Buddy Program (IBP) are teaming up to bring you some traditional Halloween fun at the annual International Halloween Party! Participants of TandemPlus, MISA, IBP, and all who are interested in these programs, meeting international and American students, and looking for an eventful way to celebrate the spooky season are encouraged to come.

Attendees will be introduced to many different traditions of the Halloween holiday as celebrated in America, including a little history. Enjoy numerous activities including face and pumpkin painting, pumpkin ring-toss, movie/ghost trivia, the mystery box, Halloween bowling, a photobooth with props, and more. Delight in Halloween themed refreshments, including cupcakes, cookies, and drinks.

Don’t miss out! Questions? Email tandem@umn.edu.

Monday, October 17, 2016

PACE Workshop: ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines in the Korean Language Curriculum - Focus on Speaking

Friday, November 4, 2016
1:20 - 2:15 p.m.
Bruininks Hall 131A
Online information (registration not required)

The ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines provide descriptions of what language learners can do with language in the four skills in real-world situations, in a spontaneous and unrehearsed context. For years, language instructors have used these guidelines to frame curricular goals and to design lessons and individual activities that can promote language development toward achieving greater proficiency. In the case of Korean we noticed that oral proficiency was lower than expected after the third year of the curriculum. There are also some unique obstacles to teaching and learning Korean: it is an agglutinative language, it has a complex honorific system, and it is a High Context language.

In this workshop, third-year Korean instructor Bryce Johnson describes changes he made to the fifth-semester Advanced Korean curriculum (KOR 3031) to move speaking proficiency towards Intermediate-High/Advanced-Low. Bryce will explain how he uses the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines to set curricular goals, and how backward design principles are used to modify existing units and to develop lessons and activities that provide scaffolding for learners. He will also provide some examples of specific activities that invite learners to use the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines as a tool to inform their own proficiency development. Participants will discuss how the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines correlate with the level they are currently teaching and then consider how changes to activities, lessons, units, or their entire curriculum might be informed by the Guidelines.

Refreshments will be served. This workshop is cosponsored by CARLA and open to all languages and levels.

Presenter: Bryce Johnson, Department of Asian Languages and Literatures

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

CARLA and Language Center Presentation at the 2016 CLAC Conference

Consortium for Cultures and Languages Across the Curriculum (CLAC) 2016 Conference
Friday, October 21, 2016
Drake University, Des Moines, IA
Register online

Introducing the CLAC Materials Clearinghouse
Over the past several years there has been a repeated call for access to current CLAC-oriented syllabus materials. Through discussions at the CLAC conference in 2016 and through an online survey of CLAC members, the scope of the project was broadened to include other supporting materials, such as training materials for instructors, specific activities for students, descriptions of CLAC programs and implemented models. In addition, to encourage a living presence, the Clearinghouse will provide a means of ongoing conversation, both in general as well as specifically tied to each resource in the collection. A board of volunteers screens submissions to ensure compliance with CLAC principles and appropriateness for the collection. This session will present the finished product, developed with support from CARLA. It will include a demonstration of how to navigate the site and a presentation of the process of materials submission.

Presenters: Dan Soneson and Caleb Zilmer, CLA Language Center at the University of Minnesota

Harry Potter, The Kite Runner, and Much More in Arabic

The Arabic program has donated a printed materials library to the Language Center for students. The authentic-language materials include books, magazines, comics and much more. There are options for beginning through advanced students. You can browse the materials in Elevator. Arabic students may come to Jones 110 to check out one item at a time for up to two weeks.

Monday, October 10, 2016

PACE Proficiency Data Included in Foreign Language Annals Article

Through a partnership between the PACE Project, two other institutions participating in similar Flagship-funded projects, the University of Utah and Michigan State University, as well as other national universities, Erwin Tschirner from the Universitat at Leipzig has published a publicly available article examining the reading and listening proficiency of U.S. college students. The University of Minnesota assessment data included in this article derives from the first two years of the PACE Project.

Listening and Reading Proficiency Levels of College Students
Erwin Tschirner
Universitat at Leipzig
Read Online

Abstract: This article examines listening and reading proficiency levels of U.S. college foreign language students at major milestones throughout their undergraduate career. Data were collected from more than 3,000 participants studying seven languages at 21 universities and colleges across the United States. The results show that while listening proficiency appears to develop more slowly, Advanced levels of reading proficiency appear to be attainable for college majors at graduation. The article examines the relationship between listening and reading proficiency and suggests reasons for the apparent disconnect between listening and reading, particularly for some languages and at lower proficiency levels.

Foreign Language Annals, Vol. 49, Iss. 2, pp. 201–223. © 2016. Published by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL).

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

Dissertation Defense Presentation: Lesson Study in Higher Education - Mediating Language Teacher Conceptual Development Through Shared Inquiry

Tuesday, October 11, 2016
3:00 - 3:30 p.m.
Education Sciences Building 325

Targeted research is needed to better understand the key elements and practices that can promote the learning of tertiary-level language teachers participating in inquiry-based groups, particularly teachers of the less commonly taught languages. This study examines one such inquiry group, composed of four instructors of Arabic, Japanese, and Korean.

Conceptually, this study is grounded in sociocultural theory broadly, and cultural historical activity theory (CHAT) more specifically. Methodologically, it takes an interventionist approach and uses a methodology inspired by CHAT: Developmental Work Research (Engeström, 2009). Participants first used video recordings and classroom observations to focus their attention on student learning; subsequently, transcripts of group conversations about classroom observations served to stimulate awareness of moments of teacher learning.

This study focuses on the interaction and learning of two Japanese language instructors as they participated in this inquiry group, in the context of recent radical change to the curriculum and instructional practices of the Japanese language program. In particular, it explores how elements of a diverse language instructor inquiry group serve to mediate language teacher conceptual development within the broader sociocultural context. Data were gathered as the researcher facilitated a small teacher inquiry group comprised of four college instructors of Arabic, Japanese, and Korean. Drawing from both the exploratory practice model (Allwright, 2009) and the jugyou kenkyuu "lesson study" framework (Yoshida, 1999; Lewis, 2004), an inquiry cycle was designed to engage the participants in collaborative investigation of collective problems of practice.

A combination of activity theoretical and micro-interactional analysis reveals multiple and interacting mediating means which afforded language teacher learning in this study. The findings include the following. Observing each other’s teaching serves to introduce a new – and disruptive – mediating means into the instructors’ existing, socio-culturally-historically created system. In response to this disruption, the content of the inquiry group’s conversations shows that they wrestle with contradictory ideas and evidence, and consider different perspectives to address core questions. Analysis of the conversational structure of the meetings shows that the instructors carefully negotiate face-threatening and face-saving comments in ways that allow them to discuss these contradictions in productive ways. Finally, and importantly, a shift toward freedom and openness in the Japanese Program has allowed a new and recursive relationship to develop where instructor agency, regarding issues of pedagogy, curriculum, and professional learning, mediates further opportunities for instructor agency, self-growth, and program climate shift.

Presenter: Beth Dillard, Assistant Professor of Second Language Acquisition in the College of Education at Western Washington University. Beth is a former CARLA Fellow and PACE Communications Coordinator. Her dissertation stems in part from her 2015-2016 work with the PACE Professional Development Peer Team.

Monday, October 3, 2016

New Language Center Resources for Instructors

  • The Main Office now has a wireless presenter remote available for check out. This can be used to advance presentation slides.
  • The LC film database now includes a PDF attachment field for instructional materials related to the film or instructional video. As an example, see Sugar Cane Alley, which offers 50 pages of materials created by Rick Treece that are available for download by instructors or students. Instructors can add their own materials to film records by emailing a file to elsie@umn.edu or bringing the paper documents to Jones 110.

TandemPlus Kick-Off Event and Upcoming Events

On September 20, 2016 TandemPlus hosted its fall semester Kick-Off and Orientation Event, held in the Mississippi room at Coffman Memorial Union. The event, hosted at the beginning of each semester, is an opportunity for Tandem participants to learn more about the program, ask questions, hang out, eat some good food, and search for a second language partner. Nearly 80 attendees situated themselves in many conversation circles, all together speaking English, Chinese, Arabic, Hmong, Russian, French, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Everyone had the chance to meet new people and listen to the multilingual-multicultural conversing while enjoying pizza from Mesa and being entertained by a game of Kahoot. Computers were available at the event for new participants to sign in, and for those looking for a partner to have a chance to search for one with a staff member. Many new and returning participants were paired.

TandemPlus will host monthly events this semester, beginning with:
  • Halloween Event -- October 28
  • Korean Thanksgiving -- November 17

PACE Workshop: Laying the Textbook to Rest - How we took the curriculum into our own hands

Friday, October 14, 2016
11:00 - 12:00 p.m.
Bruininks Hall 131A
Online Information (registration not required)

Learner-centered methodologies seek to engage students as active participants in learning and co-constructors of knowledge. In the beginning-level language classroom, there must be a balance between content worthy of inquiry and interpretation and attention to the development of language skills, and there must be time allowed for both in the syllabus. In this workshop, Cecily Brown and Stephanie Hernández describe curricular changes they made to beginning Spanish courses (1001-1002), starting with using the textbook as a resource and not as the defining curriculum.

Cecily and Stephanie propose a bottom-up approach to curricular changes that empowers instructors to treat the textbook as a reference. First, they propose an examination of the textbook to identify the most important language tasks and student outcomes for each chapter. Second, they propose a reframing of the textbook chapters to enable the addition of related “authentic” content. Finally, they will demonstrate some sample activities developed to provide students with opportunities for inquiry and interpretation. Participants at the workshop will have time to work individually or in groups to think and discuss ways that one lesson or unit might be modified to use the textbook more as a reference and encourage students to be more active learners. Furthermore, participants will discuss how in-class strategies may result in curricular changes.

This event is open to all languages and levels. Registration is not required. Refreshments will be served.

Presenters: Cecily Brown and Stephanie Hernandez, Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies.
The PACE Project is funded by a grant from The Language Flagship.

PACE and Language Center Presentations at the 2016 MWALLT Conference

MidWest Association for Language Learning & Technology (MWALLT) 2016 Conference
Saturday, October 8, 2016
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Register online

Scaling up self assessment while managing technology overload: The one-touch BOSSA Protocol
An emerging body of research in language assessment (Dolosic et al, 2016; Ziegler, 2014) shows that self assessment is a tool that can increase learners’ active engagement and agency. At the University of Minnesota delivery of the Basic Outcomes Student Self-Assessment protocol has reached over 6,000 students in ten languages at seven instructional levels in the past two years. Through self assessment, students take charge of their learning as awareness of the language-learning process grows. The 50-minute protocol takes place in a computer classroom and utilizes multiple technologies. While instructors and students attest to the protocol’s benefit, managing the disparate technologies that link the components has become problematic, especially as we expand the protocol to additional language programs. As the protocol has developed and expanded to more language programs, instructors who conduct the session have had to focus both on the pedagogical aspects of the process as well as on managing the technology, which can result in cognitive overload. To meet this challenge, we built an application that regulates the process and timing of articulated components. The application provides a seamless presentation of tasks, automatic recording of student speech, and archival of students’ production. In this presentation, we describe the process for developing the application and the iterative process of revisions, and recount lessons learned from usability tests. Furthermore, we report on how instructors use and perceive the delivery of the protocol in the new system based on pilot implementation in nine courses in multiple languages.

Presenters: Dan Soneson, Adolfo Carrillo Cabello and Gabriela Sweet from the CLA Language Center at the University of Minnesota

Leadership Challenges of and Opportunities for Today's Language Centers
Language Centers may vary in terms of their mission, size, scope and resources but they all face a common set of existential challenges in today’s academic environment. In this day of cloud computing, smart phone apps and wireless technologies, what role does a physical space play? Should language labs evolve into all-purpose university computer labs? How do language centers retain their uniqueness while at the same time increase their relevance in the larger institutional context? Given the incorporation of multimedia elements into course textbooks, should language centers continue in their efforts to motivate and train faculty to develop their own instructional technology interventions? In light of shrinking budgets, reduced staff and ubiquitous technologies, how do language centers remain relevant while also renewing and advancing their mission? The panelists represent different institutional sizes and control, public and private; the language centers they serve vary in mission, resources and scope. In this panel presentation we will discuss the unique challenges and threats that we each face in our individual context, as well as shared approaches for addressing the most pressing issues that apply across institutional settings. We hope to highlight strategies we have found successful in dealing with various challenges, and will invite session participants to contribute to the conversation with the goal of establishing common ground that helps us all move forward. This session will be of interest to language center directors, faculty, and staff.

Presenters: Sangeetha Gopalakrishnan is the director of the Foreign Language Technology Center at Wayne State University (WSU). Carol Goss directs the Language Resource Center at Valparaiso University. Dan Soneson directs the CLA Language Center at the University of Minnesota.