Feed aggregator

Learning from the languages of New Haven

Yale CLS Blog - February 23, 2017 - 3:08pm

On Thursday, March 2, the CLS Brown Bag lunchtime series will feature a discussion about how Yale language students and instructors can learn from and interact with the diverse language resources of the New Haven area (details and RSVP here). This topic builds off several initiatives underway on the Yale campus already, including the 2016-2017 Instructional Innovation Workshop group’s projects on community-based language learning, continuing initiatives on heritage language learning, and a series of events on language teaching with the linguistic landscape.

There’s a page on the CLS website (“The languages of New Haven“) that’s a starting point for thinking about where, and by whom, over 100 (!!!) languages are spoken, written, and taught in the New Haven area. You can also find inspiring examples of initiatives to showcase the rich linguistic diversity of cities larger than New Haven, but smaller than the megalopolises like New York and London already so well known for their languages–places where Tucson, Arizona, and Manchester, England.

But instead of focusing just on what’s already ‘out there,’ we’d like to invite anyone attending the March 2 discussion–and anyone else who’s interested beforehand and afterwards–to contribute your ideas here, so we can build resources and opportunities together:

  • If you’re teaching or learning a language in New Haven, how can or does New Haven serve as a resource for you? How can learning happen outside the classroom? What resources are available, and what local partnerships can be made? How can Yale language classes contribute to the community? Please leave a comment below (note: first-time comments are held a short time for moderation)
  • Do you know a place in or near New Haven where a language other than English is spoken or visible, or where it is taught or learned? You can add to the map below by submitting information on this form

We look forward to seeing you on the 2nd!

Community-based language learning poster showcase 2/9/2017

Yale CLS Blog - February 14, 2017 - 4:33pm

On Friday, February 9, faculty participants in the May 2016 Instructional Innovation Workshop held a poster presentation event at the CLS. Their posters illustrated innovative language teaching and learning projects in various community-based contexts, including heritage schools, public libraries, Yale campus tours and more. Enjoy the photos from the event, and stay tuned for more on this topic! (click pictures to enlarge, and use the back button on your browser to return to the gallery)

ACTFL 2016 Ideas for the Classroom

Yale CLS Blog - December 11, 2016 - 8:46am

ACTFL November 2016 Ideas for the Classroom

Marion Gehlker

Community Ideas
At the AATG Presidents Meeting, which I attended as AATG-CT vice-president, we learnt about three successful inter-disciplinary projects that involved students and teachers.
The Maine chapter presented “Deutsche Woche in Bar Harbor”, a one week immersion project with changing topics and sustainable food. Next year’s topic will be on backwards design, July 30-Aug 5, 2017.
It was suggested that other chapters support German week through a $100 travel fund for teachers.

The Maryland chapter organized an immersion day, called “German Means Green”, for various disciplines, technology, STEM fields, etc. German engineers not only talked about their work, the necessity to learn a foreign language, but also helped students build solar powered cars and robots.
The project KunstWERK16 involved a museum tour in D.C., where students learnt about German expressionism, German wall as a piece of art, and visited the German-American heritage museum.

The Michigan Chapter organized a very successful German Career Day at Aquinus College with
350 high-school students attending, and sessions with business leaders who talked on importance of learning FL and work with international teams. Comics in FLT:
During a session on “Literacy Development Through Guided Reading of Popular German Literature”
I learnt about the use of comics in teaching literature, such as Brecht’s famous short story collections, Geschichten von Herrn Keuner, and picture books, such as Soham: Eine Geschichte vom Fremdsein (A Story About Feeling Foreign/Different/Strange) by Elizabeth Reuter, which the presenter suggested using alongside the Spiegel article series Home life/Trautes Heim (Home, Sweet Home). Both comics and picture books allow students with limited linguistic skills to access literary texts more easily.

The session on “STEM, STEAM and Sustainability” provided ample suggestions for texts and classroom ideas:
One presenter in a class on “Green Germany” used podcasts on “Agriculture and Urban Farming”, and the analysis of the Twinkie {“Do you know what’s in your Twinkie?”}, plus tours of solar and recycling facilities, full-day hiking trips, while discussing the following readings students had prepared at home: Heidegger: Building Dwelling Thinking, Basso: Wisdom Sits in Places, and Karen Till: Places of Memory.

The second presenter augmented the food topics in beginning textbooks, with such questions as “How green is my food? How far did my food travel?” to determine their environmental foot print. What a great idea to get beyond the usual (boring) food topics in beginning, and sometimes even intermediate classes.
Another great suggestion was to have students take pix of food with their cell phones and describe what they eat, post the pix and have others comment on the food. In addition, they had to take two products and compare them while answering these questions: Which company produced this food? Where did the ingredients and packaging come from?
On the intermediate level, students were asked to work with packaging and logos: Students were asked to describe what information about food we get, and which information we don’t get. The presenter introduces an Austrian documentary on industrial food production, Our Daily Bread (which I successfully used and will use myself). Interesting logos, such as “SUN MAD raisins” alerted students to the unnatural ingredients in those raisins. A very topical reference, was the documentary by D.Meier: “Flüchtlinge als Erntehelfer” (refugees as harvest helpers) 10.12.2015 SRF.
On the advanced level, the emphasis was on Eco-Pedagogy & the Literary Canon: Students were asked to identify food in a Baroque portrait of Habsburg Emperor Rudolf II, and research its meaning in Baroque times. They collected their findings ins thinglink.

The third presenter, of Goethe Institute Chicago, discussed an exciting inter-cultural project on sustainability, “aqua agents”, which involved middle and high-school students in German and other fields of study, such as biology, art, and geography, both in the US and Germany. Free materials, e.g. on “How much water is used in a T-shirt” can be found online at www.teachingsustainability.org, http://www.stemintegrate.com.

Syrian Refugee Crisis in the German Classroom:
I attended two sessions on the Syrian refugee crisis in Germany (in one I presented myself). The various approaches were very impressive, all of which emphasized the importance of social justice issues in class, in particular in view of the recent political developments during and after the last elections.

Time for technology in the winter break

Yale CLS Blog - December 8, 2016 - 4:01pm

With the end of the semester upon us, it’s a great time to take stock of teaching and technology accomplishments in 2016, and to look forward to goals and projects for next year. I’ve put a few resources together here with the thought that winter vacation might present some good opportunities for exploration and discovery.

First off, congratulations to a few faculty members who’ve been in the spotlight recently in teaching and technology news: Julia Titus has recently appeared in the Center for Teaching and Learning’s Spotlight series, on the topic “Low Stakes Quizzing in Canvas;” Theresa Schenker has a new article in the journal System, ”Syntactic Complexity in a Cross-Cultural E-mail Exchange;” the summary is still accessible from Sarab Al Ani’s poster session at the 2016 Yale Technology Summit, “Creating Interactive Maps to Fulfill Language Learning Goals“. Please also be sure not to miss other new posts on our blog: Sybil Alexandrov, Angela Lee-Smith, Maria Kaliambou, and Julia Titus have shared some reflections on their ACTFL roundtable session “Heritage Meets Heritage at ACTFL 2016” (and catch September’s Teach Better Podcast episode with Sybil here). Please comment to this post or email Dave if you know of others who might like to be featured here.

Secondly, a big thank you again to everyone who participated in our CLS Technology Mini-Summit on November 3. Many materials from the event, including notes on telecollaboration from our keynote speaker Sarah Guth, are still available on this Google document.

On our campus, there’s more and more support available to help you with the transition from Classes*v2 to Canvas, and to the new Media Library (Panopto). If you’re looking to orient yourself to Canvas, or to build upon what you’ve already started this year, a good place to start is the Canvas @ Yale Frequently Asked Questions page. Help and feature introductions for the Media Library can be found here. Upcoming workshops, where you can learn more in person about how to use these tools, are announced on the Canvas @ Yale News page. Oh, and speaking of media for your classes–if you haven’t checked out the new streaming video service with lots of feature-length films and documentaries (in many languages, too), make a nice hot cup of tea or coffee and plan to sit for a while in front of Kanopy, which is now available to everyone with a Yale NetID. 

A few other significant resources at Yale to keep an eye on as you plan projects for the coming year: the CTL’s technology-focused Rosenkranz Grants for Pedagogical Advancement, and grants from the Annual Instructional Enhancement Fund. More on these coming soon through other channels…(and a big hat tip to Christine Costantino @ CTL for the links in these paragraphs!)

Beyond Yale, there are several learning opportunities related to technology and teaching available online, ranging from the short and small to the longer and more involved. The next in the IALLT free webinar series, “Optimizing Tech Options for Study Abroad,” is next Tuesday, December 13th at 1pm ET. There are a number of (open, free) online courses related to technology and teaching that have either just started or are starting soon on the MOOC platform Coursera: “Performance Assessment in the Virtual Classroom” (UC Irvine, started Dec. 5), “Blended Learning: Personalizing Education for Students” (Clayton Christensen Institute, Dec. 5), “e-Learning Ecologies: Innovative Approaches to Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age” (U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Dec. 12), “What Future for Education?” (U of London, Dec. 19) are just a few. After the New Year, you might also like to consider joining the National Foreign Language Resource Center’s Project-Based Language Learning (PBLL) Symposium from January 11-12 (did we mention it’s free?).

Lastly, a few invitations to write: here at Multilingual Commons at the CLS, we welcome your perspectives on questions and projects of language pedagogy and research including, but not limited to, technology. Other venues to write about language teaching and technology-related issues include several academic journals, of course (Language Learning and Technology, the CALICO Journal, and Computer-Assisted Language Learning are among the many) but also places like the University of Colorado at Boulder ALTEC’s Foreign Language Technology Magazine (FLTMAG), where articles are now being solicited for the March issue (see the submission guidelines). 

Please let us know about other opportunities or ideas for developing your approaches to technology use for language teaching and learning in the comments, and have a great winter break!

Subscribe to Yale Center for Language Study aggregator