Yale CLS Blog

Subscribe to Yale CLS Blog feed
Conversations about language teaching and learning at Yale and beyond, hosted by the Center for Language Study
Updated: 18 hours 15 min ago

Learning from the languages of New Haven

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

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

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

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!

Heritage Meets Heritage at ACTFL 2016

December 3, 2016 - 7:48am

Students from Korean, Greek, Russian and Spanish talk about their heritage language experience.

The Heritage Meets Heritage project made its off-campus debut at a round-table discussion at ACTFL 2016.  This project, a study of identity, motivation and inter-language relationships among heritage speakers of Greek, Korean, Russian and Spanish, has been an adventure in learning for all involved.  Having students articulate and share their thoughts on aspects of their heritage experience allows us, as instructors, to reach a better understanding of the HL affective filter, but more importantly, it gives students a sense of belonging, a place in the greater HL community.  Our trial-run at ACTFL has been very useful in shaping the future of this project.

I am grateful to my colleagues, Maria Kaliambou, Angela Lee-Smith and Julia Titus for their willingness to embark on this journey before the ship was built and for their valuable contributions, which allowed us to set sail.  I look forward to having other colleagues join us next semester for the next iteration of Heritage Meets Heritage!

Heritage Meets Heritage on the red carpet!

Yale presentations at ACTFL 2016

November 16, 2016 - 7:02pm

The time has come for the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) 2016 Annual Convention and World Languages Expo, and Yale’s language teaching and research community is well represented. Below are relevant titles and abstracts copied from the online convention program. If you’re not traveling to Boston for the conference this year, you can follow tweets using the #ACTFL16 hashtag; check back on our blog for links and updates.

Heritage Meets Heritage: Empowering and Supporting HL Learners
Sybil Alexandrov; Maria Kaliambou, Angela Lee-Smith, and Julia Titus, Yale University

This roundtable presents a collaborative project in which college-level Greek, Korean, Russian and Spanish heritage learners discuss with each other issues of heritage language learner identity and the benefits and challenges of studying their heritage language in an academic environment. Friday, 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. ACTFL Confer-sation Corner, Exhibit Halls A&B1–BCEC 070 ACTFL Roundtable Presentations I)

Multiculturalism in Germany: Teaching Cultural Diversity
Kyung Lee Gagum, University of Arizona; Joshua Brown, University of WisconsinEau Claire; Kristin Lange, University of Arizona; Theresa Schenker, Yale University 

Despite Chancellor Angela Merkel’s infamous declaration in 2010 that multiculturalism had failed in Germany, German society has grown increasingly diverse in the last five years. The presentations in this session explore ways in which instructors can bring more cultural diversity to the German classroom. Friday, 1:15 p.m.–2:15 p.m., Room 157A–BCEC 112.

The Human Connection: Telecollaboration in the 21st-Century Classroom
Candace Skorupa

Highlighting the unique potential for human connection while using new classroom technologies, this paper will focus on the pedagogical methods and outcomes from four semesters of cross-cultural telecollaborations between an intermediate French-language classroom at Yale University and an English-language classroom at a Parisian grande école. Friday 1:15 p.m.–2:15 p.m., Room 158–BCEC 115

Pedagogical Issues in Teaching Chinese Heritage Language Learners
Zhiqiang Li; Licheng Gu, Northwestern University; Xia Liang, Washington University; Yu-lin Wang, Yale University

This session aims to discuss the key issues in Chinese heritage language teaching, such as profiles of heritage learners, attitudes and motivations, placement/ assessment and materials development, and to explore instructional goals and models of instructions. A historical account of teaching Chinese as a heritage language will also be provided. Friday 2:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m., Room 152–BCEC 168

Introducing Seniors and Youth (SAY): Language Learning with Communities 
Joowon Suh and Yongmin Cho, Princeton University; Angela Lee-Smith, Yale University

This session introduces a community-based language learning project called Senior and Youth (SAY), which enables learners of Korean to practice conversational Korean with Korean seniors through weekly one-on-one Skype calls. Presenters will discuss its development, pedagogical implications, and possible applications to other foreign languages. Friday 2:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m., Hancock–Westin 218

Creating Impact with iPads 
Theresa Schenker, Yale University; Angelika Kraemer, Michigan State University

This session shares best practices on using iPads to impact students’ confidence and competence in the target language. Free and paid iPad apps are presented that can be used for all languages at all levels both inside and outside of class. The session also outlines technological and pedagogical strengths and challenges of using iPads for learning. Friday 3:45 p.m.–4:45 p.m., Room 258A–BCEC 267

Designing a Successful Inter-Institutional Distance Learning Collaboration 
Chris Kaiser, Columbia University; David Malinowski, Yale University

To address the challenges of sustaining LCTL programs, many institutions are exploring possible models for course sharing. This presentation will explore some administrative, pedagogical, and technological aspects of a course sharing initiative between Columbia, Cornell, and Yale, and identify some best practices for similar consortia to consider. Saturday 9:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m. ACTFL Confer-sation Corner, Exhibit Halls A&B1–BCEC 413 ACTFL Roundtable Presentations IV

Greater Learner Autonomy in Teaching Advanced Chinese Courses
William Zhou, Yale University

The presenter of this paper will present a case study to show how unconventional approaches are used in teaching an Advanced modern Chinese course at Yale University and discuss their implications in teaching and learning. These unconventional approaches allow much greater learner autonomy in teaching and learning. Saturday 10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m. Room 151A–BCEC

Teaching the Syrian Refugee Crisis in the DACHL Curriculum (I)
Scott Denham, Davidson College; Marion Gehlker, Yale University; Wendy Westphal, Marian University

Thousands of Syrian refugees are making the perilous journey across the Balkan to Germany. While other European Union countries have closed their doors to these refugees, Germany has welcomed these migrants. The panel invites presentations that explore the media coverage of the refugee crisis in the DACHL countries. Saturday 4:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Room 157B–BCEC 622

Fostering Intercultural Competence Through Language Partner and Community
Yan Liu and Kun-shan Lee, Duke University; Fan Liu, Yale University

The session will present three studies investigating how language partner in a study-abroad program and community-based activities on a U.S. campus foster intercultural competence among learners of Chinese as a foreign language (CFL). Implications for future study-abroad program design and CFL curriculum development will be discussed as well. Saturday 5:15 p.m.–6:15 p.m. Room 151B–BCEC 668

Linguistic Landscape in Chinese Heritage Classes
Hsiu-Hsien Chan

Linguistic Landscape is essential in learning language and culture. Heritage language (HL) learners have to identify, interpret and make it meaningful to their life experiences. Through organized activities, teachers can facilitate HL students to explore Linguistic Landscape in their language learning.