Volume 03 - Issue 1

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    Toward systematic diversification of collegiate U.S. Arabic language curricula
    (University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center, 2022-11-01) Vanpee, Katrien
    Growing recognition of the importance of instruction in colloquial Arabic has led to increased incorporation of colloquials into collegiate Arabic programs, whether taught separately from Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), or in an integrated fashion. Nevertheless, collegiate U.S. Arabic programs have, overall, not yet succeeded in foregrounding the Arab world’s tremendously rich linguistic and cultural diversity. In many programs, both those that teach MSA and colloquial Arabic separately and those that follow an integrated approach, the lived experience of a great number of communities in the Arab world remains invisible. This report examines how the push for colloquial instruction has inadvertently sustained the practices of erasure that increased instruction in informal Arabic had sought to address, and calls into question existing center-versus-periphery schemata that inform the work of Arabic curriculum designers. Instead, it proposes an approach to Arabic curriculum design that centralizes the Arab world’s diversity and heterogeneity, rather than presenting it as a “tokenized side note” (Randall, 2017). This means offering alternatives to dominant narratives about Arab culture in the classroom and diversifying the Arabic colloquials taught. The report concludes with steps that Arabic program leaders, and curriculum and material designers, might take toward profound diversification of our Arabic curricula.
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    (Co)constructing critical pedagogies: Expanding on our department’s approach to language teaching
    (University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center, 2022-11-01) Piotti, Anna ; Matangos, Hannah A. ; Wilt, Alexis C. ; Goetze, Julia ; Keppenne, Valérie ; Kerschen, Katherine
    In this report, we—the members of a curriculum working group (CWG) in Penn State’s German department—describe our efforts to decenter our German language sequence by integrating critical pedagogies into our department’s existing communicative language teaching (CLT) approach. We trace our process towards this goal, beginning with an exploration into and analysis of two critical pedagogies, namely Antiracist Pedagogy (ARP) and Social Justice Pedagogy (SJP). We ultimately adopt SJP because we find it to be a better fit for our purposes in German language instruction. We offer a framework to evaluate and didacticize existing as well as newly created course materials, guided by social justice (SJ) learning objectives. To illustrate our work, we describe the creation and implementation of an instructional unit in an intermediate German language course. Reflections from this course’s instructor and student reactions concerning this unit’s instruction—as well as SJP in the language classroom in general—make evident the importance of critical perspectives regarding curricular development in fostering equitable classrooms.
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    Exploring a compassionate approach to student placement in language classes
    (University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center, 2022-11-01) Lord, Gillian
    The issue of how to place students into appropriate class levels in languages other than English is one that most higher education institutions struggle with in one way or another, often from both a pedagogical perspective as well as an administrative one. Many programs use a placement test of some sort, although their ability to place students correctly is not universal; at the same time, the logistics of administering such a test, often to large numbers of students, can be challenging. This paper presents the rationale for and process of evolving from a strict experience-based placement policy to a more compassionate one that allows students to choose their enrollment level, based on their own experiences and confidence. Data from before this change and after this change are analyzed in order to explore outcomes ranging from enrollment numbers to student success. Overall, results show that student outcomes are positive, and that the change did not result in additional challenges or problems for the program.
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    Who is at the center of our language teaching?
    (University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center, 2022-11-01) Johnson, Stacey Margarita
    The terminology of student- and teacher-centeredness is familiar to most language teachers as a metric of effective teaching. In this report, I explore the challenge of applying such limiting terminology to language classrooms and detail additional questions that instructors should ask. First, Kumaravadivelu’s three categories of language teaching methods—language-centered, learner-centered, and learning-centered—are directly relevant to the principles and practices of language teaching. However, recent critical and intercultural approaches to language instruction highlight the intentional decentering of the classroom in order to better engage in effective communication and relationship building with members of local and global language communities. In this report, I propose expanding our understanding of who or what is at the center of our language teaching to include not just the people and ideas in the classroom itself, but to embrace an outward orientation that centers language communities.
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    Microaggressions and intercultural competence in the Spanish classroom
    (University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center, 2022-11-01) van Olphen, Marcela ; Peart, Silvia M.
    Microaggressions are subtle offensive mechanisms that can be intentional or unintentional (Pierce, 1970). For the past 50 years, researchers have documented their damaging effects on peoples’ mental and physical health. In this report, we focus on microaggressions in the Spanish classroom and with Latino/Latinx/Hispanic students, including their damaging effects within the context of changing demographics in the United States, how they impact our language classrooms, and how they can be mitigated through language curricula that promote intercultural citizenship. Also, we share strategies and suggestions to counter microaggressions in the language classroom, grounded in the assumption that to support socially just learning environments, educators must create a healthy atmosphere where all students feel safe, respected, and validated, and are held to high academic and civic standards. We believe that language teachers are uniquely positioned to create learning environments that model intercultural perspectives and foster the necessary openness to analyze and understand different perspectives as students advance their intercultural competence.
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    Examining teacher dispositions and high-leverage practices in university Spanish courses.
    (University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center, 2022-11-01) Borden, Rebecca
    The quality of instruction in introduct­­ory language classes can be widely variable. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to uncover the teacher dispositions and high-leverage teaching practices (HLTPs) enacted by five highly rated university Spanish instructors at a doctoral-level university in the southwestern United States. A series of classroom observations and in-depth interviews were conducted to reveal detailed accounts of introductory language instruction in real time. The findings indicate that highly rated instructors establish meaningful connections with students personally and academically in the target language (TL) and employ a number of HLTPs in their introductory language courses. The findings have implications for language program development, as specific dispositions and HLTPs may contribute to positive language-learning experiences.
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    Examining instructional contexts and student beliefs in Arabic teacher recruitment
    (University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center, 2022-11-01) Back, Michele ; Oulbeid, Brahim
    Although enrollments in Arabic postsecondary programs increased substantially in the early 21st century, the lack of robust teacher training, combined with an ongoing decline in world language (WL) enrollments overall, has underscored the need for continued teacher recruitment in Arabic and other less commonly taught languages (LCTLs). In this exploratory study we evaluate student perceptions of WL teaching through the partial implementation of Arabic-language teacher recruitment modules based on ACTFL’s Educator Rising 2.0 initiative, as well as the role of instructors and instructional contexts in this implementation. Although survey findings did not show a significant increase in interest in becoming an Arabic teacher, interviews with the instructors and two focal students point to the importance of instructor context and student history in the success of teacher recruitment initiatives in Arabic classrooms. We conclude with recommendations for future research and LCTL teacher recruitment
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    Ideological views of reading in contemporary French textbooks: A content analysis
    (University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center, 2022-11-01) Michelson, Kristen ; Anderson, Ashley
    Reading instructional practices in foreign languag­e (FL) classrooms often involve asking students to read a text aloud, answer comprehension questions about its referential meanings, and exchange personal opinions about topics evoked in the text. Such practices hint at ideological views of FL reading as a skill and springboard for communication. In an effort to identify the locus of such beliefs and practices, this article reports on a descriptive content analysis of nine beginning and intermediate commercial French textbooks to investigate the way reading, and readers, are positioned. Drawing on theoretical foundations of social semiotics, multiliteracies, and derivatives of Bloom’s Taxonomy, the study addresses two questions: (a) What kinds of texts are included in beginning and intermediate French textbooks? and (b) What kinds of tasks are students called upon to engage in during reading instruction? Findings reveal ideological views of reading as a mostly linguistic, cognitively oriented exercise, and assumptions that less linguistically proficient readers are less cognitively mature. The article concludes by problematizing textbooks as constructed discourses that prevent paradigm change in education and proposes an expansion of an existing textbook reading sequence as an Open Education Resource that engages learners in a critical multimodal analysis of an authentic text and its adaptation.
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    Announcements and news from our sponsors
    (University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center, 2022-11-01) SLRP staff
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    Why U.S. undergraduate students are (not) studying languages other than English
    (University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center, 2022-11-01) Murphy, Dianna ; Sarac, Merve ; Sedivy, Sonya
    Why do U.S. undergraduate students take courses in languages other than English (LOTEs)? Perhaps more importantly, why don’t they? This article presents findings from an exploratory study based on a census survey of the undergraduate population of a U.S. university that investigated how important proficiency in LOTEs is to students, the reasons students do and don’t enroll in LOTE courses, and factors that would make students more likely to study LOTEs in the future. Findings suggest that gender, race or ethnicity, and intention to study abroad are significant predictors of the value that students attach to proficiency in LOTEs. The major reasons that students reported for not enrolling in LOTE courses were related to scheduling and the absence of a language requirement. Factors that would make students more likely to take LOTE courses included more explicit linkages between language study and the students’ career plans, academic major(s), and personal interests.
Published by the National Foreign Language Resource Center (NFLRC)