Volume 02 - Issue 1

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    Using Instagram for language learning
    (University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center, 2021-10-01) Wagner, Keith
    As a corpus of multimodal microblogs, Instagram is a useful language learning tool. The app abounds with authentic L2 content and allows for language learning outside of the classroom. This report proposes systematic methods for learners to cultivate multilingualism on Instagram. The multimodal literacy techniques I outline cater to Instagram posts as a specific genre, and I use example posts in a variety of languages to illustrate different learning processes, relying on multiliteracies pedagogy as a theoretical lens. My discussion also makes use of Instagram’s hashtag and geotag search functions as well as its automatic translation feature to demonstrate ways of finding L2 content and critically assessing machine translation output. This report is intended both for L2 learners who want to advance language goals using social media and for specialists in postsecondary language teaching, research, and program direction who are interested in Instagram’s offerings as a mobile-assisted language learning (MALL) resource. Language educators can use the ideas I present as groundwork for introducing students to MALL and multimodal literacy simultaneously. From there, educators can either create in-class activities with pedagogical scaffolding or encourage students to work independently with Instagram outside the classroom.
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    Developing transferable writing skills through manga
    (University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center, 2021-10-01) Yasuta, Takako ; Blake, John
    This article describes how Japanese undergraduates developed transferable writing skills using manga, or Japanese comics. All learners in Japan have some familiarity with manga. In this project, learners created a manga for a local business to promote their product or service to non-Japanese customers. This project therefore not only benefits the learners but may also benefit the local community. Learners gathered or created information, sequenced the information, developed a story, and conformed to strict guidelines regarding copyright, content, layout, and format. The language features of manga were explored using guided discourse analysis, enabling learners to identify role language—that is, the linguistic features associated with a particular character. Learners then established role language for their manga characters and used the best matching expressions and sentence patterns in their speech. This novel approach is enjoyable, motivating and produces tangible outputs that can be shared online or in print. A critical reflection on the theoretical underpinnings provides evidence in support of this approach. Through writing manga, learners improved their awareness of register. Samples of student-created work show how learners co-constructed their text with envisaged audiences and created persuasive narratives. In the present report, we share practical tips on adopting this approach and avoiding potential problems.
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    Fulfilling a wish list: Creating an OER beginning Spanish textbook and curriculum
    (University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center, 2021-10-01) Ceciliano, Jenny ; Notman, Lisa
    This report discusses the experience of creating and implementing a new open educational resource (OER) first-year Spanish textbook and curriculum at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. The project began with a long wish list of features. We hoped for a program that would be structured enough to support graduate teaching assistants with little teaching experience, but flexible enough for experienced instructors to make adjustments based on their own expertise, current events, or their unique group of students. We wanted the program to be inclusive and centered on diverse, authentic voices. We wanted to focus on topics that would be interesting and motivating to adult students living in and around Portland, Oregon. We wanted the program to be attentive to theories of second language acquisition and adult education, and we needed it to be free for students. Research, preparation, and writing of the textbook began in late 2018, and implementation began at Portland State University in the fall term of 2019. As we prepare for wider release, we would like to share our experiences with developing our OER textbook and program, the challenges and successes we have encountered, and our continuing goals for the project.
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    Toward inclusive and relevant second language education for Black students
    (University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center, 2021-10-01) Zárate-Sández, Germán
    In this report, I describe the research and curricular changes I am implementing to deal with issues of inequity encountered by Black students in the Spanish program I direct at Western Michigan University. In the first stage, a comprehensive analysis of student demographics, enrollment, and academic performance over six years revealed that Black and African American students begin Spanish education at high rates but are less likely to advance to courses beyond second-year Spanish and more likely to obtain lower final grades than other groups. These findings are consistent with literature showing similar patterns of participation and achievement among Black students in language learning across secondary and higher education. Following methodologies used in previous studies, the second phase of the project consists of a comprehensive needs analysis composed of surveys, interviews, and class observations aimed at better understanding Black students’ experiences and needs in my department’s Spanish program. Based on results from the needs analysis, the last part of the project will educate personnel in the program on issues of equity and diversity and will implement changes in the curriculum to make our Spanish courses more relevant for Black students.
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    Down the rabbit hole: Machine translation, metaphor, and instructor identity and agency
    (University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center, 2021-10-01) Vinall, Kimberly ; Hellmich, Emily A.
    While machine translation (MT) technologies have improved in profile and performance in recent years, there is still much to learn about the broad impact of these technologies on language educators. In this article, we investigate interactions between instructors’ beliefs about MT and their identity and agency in the language classroom through the lens of metaphor. Anchored in an ecological theoretical frame, the study examines in-depth interviews with 11 participants using open and inductive qualitative coding. Findings reveal that, to varying degrees and with differing outcomes, all the participants reported that MT had altered their roles and practices in the classroom. These were expressed through a range of metaphors (e.g., MT as a “crutch,” MT as a “bridge,” MT as a “prosthetic hand”). The cross-case analysis of these metaphors revealed three primary relationships between instructors, MT, and FL teaching/learning across participants: a) MT as destructive, b) MT as supportive, and c) MT as transformative. After chronicling these metaphors and relationships in detail, the article concludes with a discussion of major tensions evoked by the findings and their implications for language education at the postsecondary level.