Cornell University Language Resource Center Speaker Series

Creating Pathways of Perspective-Shifting through Structured Critical Reflection

Providing second language learners with space and guidance to critically reflect on their past and current learning experiences can set them up to better understand and evolve their own worldviews as they learn about and engage with ones different from their own (Crane & Sosulski, 2020; Cranton, 2016; Johnson, 2015). While reflection is often acknowledged as playing an important role in leading language pedagogies such as literacy-based approaches and intercultural language learning, it is rarely theorized from a pedagogical perspective, let alone integrated into formal language assessment. As reflective practice in language instruction has become more mainstream, it is important ...

Problem-Based Models for Language and Culture Instruction

A problem-based approach to language instruction infuses the communicative classroom with current events, critical thinking, and interdisciplinary connections. Through a process of identifying a problem, gathering resources to understand the problem, and then working with a group to process and report on what they have learned, students acquire language as they learn about the world around them and engage deeply with others’ perspectives. Although problem-based language learning can be used as the foundation of an entire course or program of study, this talk will emphasize how and why instructors can implement problem-based language learning right away through intentional, research-informed modifications ...

Black Feminist Poetics and Language Teaching

This talk discusses the inclusion of Black feminist poetic texts in language teaching. The objective is to rethink the roles of students and teachers in the classroom environment and contribute to inspiring new ideas and teaching practices. Black women’s voices in poetry may promote the development of pedagogical proposals that encourage a critical reading of the world in educational practices. Bio: Luana Reis is a poet, educator, and Black feminist scholar. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Literature at the University of Pittsburgh, where she teaches Portuguese and conducts research on Contemporary Black Women Literature and Quilombismo/Maroonage. As founder ...

Cultures and Languages Across the Curriculum on the College Campus: Challenges and Opportunities

The Mellon Central New York Humanities Corridor Working Group on Cultures and Languages Across the Curriculum (CLAC) invites you to attend a panel discussion on starting or growing a CLAC program. Dr. Stephen Straight and Dr. Suronda Gonzalez will discuss administrative, logistical, and cultural challenges and opportunities that affect CLAC programs. CLAC is a curricular framework that provides opportunities to develop and apply language and intercultural competence within all academic disciplines through the use of multilingual resources and the inclusion of multiple cultural perspectives. Dr. Stephen Straight is Professor Emeritus at Binghamton University and one of the original promoters and ...

What Everyone Should Know about ASL and American Deaf Culture

ASL (American Sign Language) is experiencing a pop-culture moment. In the past few years, ASL has been visible in TV-shows, movies, commercials, and in sports and news broadcasts. ASL programs are popping up in schools and colleges all over the U.S. Despite dips in enrollment for many college programs, student enrollment in ASL classes is at an all-time high, as it has quickly become one of the most popular languages to take on college campuses. But despite its growing popularity, the hearing world knows little about ASL, its role in Deaf culture, its status as a real, human language, or ...

Bilingual Community-Based Language Pedagogy: An Arab-Jewish Language Café in Jerusalem

The Good Neighbors – Abu Tor/Al-Thuri project is a grassroots, volunteer-based initiative that started in 2014 in order to promote a shared life approach and to build a joint community between Jews and Palestinians who live side by side in Abu Tor, a binational neighborhood, which is located on the seam between East and West Jerusalem. This unique project, which is extraordinary given the long geopolitical and national conflict and the explosive daily tension between Arabs and Jews, includes initiatives such as language courses in Arabic and in Hebrew; a community organic garden; “Abu-Job” – a job placement project; a bilingual ...

Inquiry-Based Language Learning

This talk will focus on inquiry-based learning within the language classroom, more specifically WHY it is important as well as HOW we can successfully engage our students to ask more questions, sparking their curiosity and motivation to learn more about the language, culture, and people we teach about. Inquiry-based learning helps build intercultural communicative awareness and competence while fostering student agency and a sense of connection to our community through conscious global citizenship.

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

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 ...