CornellLRC

Critical Thinking in World Language Teaching

Critical thinking, an essential element across academic fields, has been at the heart of education for decades. While research on language education and critical thinking remains somewhat timid, it continues to gain ground among academic communities.  Available studies strongly suggest that pedagogical practices that wed world language teaching and critical thinking can facilitate language acquisition and enhance general proficiency. Despite this progress in the research field, there is nonetheless a general reluctance to integrate critical thinking in language teaching practices (Li, 2011; Pica, 2000) because, arguably, its integration presents more challenges for language educators than for teachers in other fields ...

Acquisition vs. Learning in 2021

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Stephen Krashen put forward a model of language learning distinguishing between language acquisition (acquiring a language by listening or reading and understanding) and language learning (conscious, effortful study and practice of language). Today, many people look at Krashen’s monitor model as just a “method from the past.” However, most of these ideas are still very much present in contemporary research — just under different names, such as implicit vs. explicit language teaching and learning. This talk will share three of my studies using the acquisition/learning, or implicit/explicit, framework: one on elementary students learning Spanish, ...

“How Can I Learn All These Words?” Research-Based Strategies for Teaching and Learning L2 Vocabulary

Second language (L2) classrooms have undergone radical changes during the past 50 years, moving away from formal linguistic structures to drills and habit formation, then to comprehensible input, focus on form, cultural integration, sociocultural perspectives, and social networking. Throughout all of these shifts there has been surprisingly little emphasis on one aspect of L2 learning that all teachers and all students acknowledge as a critical factor in L2 communicative proficiency and literacy: Vocabulary. As someone once quipped: “If you don’t know any grammar, you can’t say much; if you don’t know any vocabulary, you can’t say anything.” This applies to ...

Designing (Indigenous) Language Classes Rooted in ACTFL Standards to Promote Spoken Proficiency

Unlike commonly taught languages, most Indigenous ones share a particular characteristic: The lack of material for language instruction and the challenge of identifying abundant sources of input for their classes. In many cases, it is necessary to adapt existing materials from other languages to achieve language learning goals, but in doing so, we usually find materials lacking the cultural knowledge of Indigenous people. In addition, many major languages have established proficiency standards (e.g., CEFR and ACTFL). Are these standards applicable to Indigenous languages? While Indigenous language courses may be similarly designed to those of major languages in their application of ...

Developing an Open and Inclusionary Language Textbook for Portuguese

This presentation describes the development of an e-textbook for first-year Portuguese classes. This pedagogical initiative strives to provide an inclusionary and open textbook for Portuguese, including the collaboration and feedback from Portuguese speakers of several economic and cultural backgrounds. In this context, “openness” means listening to the language of a given community and the commitment to reproduce it in a textbook format. Inclusion of minority groups in the textbook is perceived not as “curiosities,” but as an integral part of the cultures being represented so that a wider range of communities and language registers (from formal to informal) is portrayed. ...

Barriers to Innovation in Language Teaching

We have all heard about revolutions in language teaching – big leaps in thinking that offer insights and new methods for the classroom (e.g., The Direct Method, ALM, Communicative Language Teaching). Yet, such revolutions wither quickly and never really take root. It seems that innovation in language teaching is difficult if not impossible. Why is this? In this talk, I will first differentiate between what I call “real innovation” and “pseudo-innovation,” suggesting that the vast majority of what people call innovation in language teaching is actually pseudo-innovation. I will then outline five interrelated barriers to real innovation: knowledge, personnel, institutionalized education, power, ...

Social Justice and the University Language Learner

Teaching for and about social justice positively influences all students, yet integrating social justice education into the college language curriculum can be challenging. In this talk, Drs. Cassandra Glynn, Pamela Wesely, and Beth Wassell, the co-authors of Words and Actions: Teaching Languages Through the Lens of Social Justice (Glynn, Wesely & Wassell, 2018), will address the principles of social justice education, looking specifically at how those principles connect with the guidelines and standards in world language teaching and common instructional practices in language programs. Attendees will be provided with illustrations, examples, and models of how social justice can be integrated in the ...

Addressing Speech Comprehensibility in the Second Language Classroom: What 25 Years of Research Might Tell Us About Classroom Pedagogy

In his 2005 publication, John Levis highlighted the importance of promoting intelligible rather than nativelike speech as a target for second language (L2) pronunciation learning (and, more broadly, L2 speaking development). Broadly speaking, intelligibility refers to how well listeners understand L2 speech (Levis, 2006). However, “understanding” has frequently been operationalized via two dimensions, firmly established in Munro and Derwing (1995). Intelligibility (here used in a narrow sense) refers to listeners’ accuracy of understanding, frequently measured through learners’ word- and sentence-level transcriptions. Comprehensibility refers to the effort required by listeners to understand L2 speech, primarily measured using Likert scale ratings. Though a focus on ...

Inclusive by Design: Universal Design for Learning and the World Language Classroom

Speaking of Language, the Cornell University LRC Podcast Season 6 Episode 10 Christopher Hromalik follows up his talk, “Inclusive by Design: Universal Design for Learning and the World Language Classroom,” with a conversation about Universal Design for Learning and what it means for the language classroom. To watch Chris’s talk and see his presentation slides, please visit our Speaker Series archive at https://lrc.cornell.edu/speaker-series. #family

AMPLIFY: Professional Learning Experiences for World Language Education

Speaking of Language, the Cornell University LRC Podcast Season 6 Episode 9 Julio Rodríguez joins us to discuss AMPLIFY, a resource aggregator of professional learning experiences for world language education. https://thelanguageflagship.tech/pl/ #Gemütlichkeit #itdepends

Inclusive by Design: Universal Design for Learning and the World Language Classroom

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a research-based framework for designing instruction to be more accessible to all learners. By following the principles and guidelines of the UDL framework, instructors can design a more inclusive learning environment that will provide an improved experience for all students. This talk will provide both a theoretical introduction to the UDL framework and practical suggestions for applying it to the language classroom. First, a brief introduction to UDL and information on learner variability (i.e., the diversity in how everyone learns) will be provided. Next, results of research that has investigated the effects of an ...