2017 ENGAGING THE WORLD: SOCIAL PEDAGOGIES AND LANGUAGE LEARNING

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    L'incubateur: Increasing student engagement through global simulation and gaming pedagogy in the L2 classroom
    (Cengage, 2017-01-01) Johnson, Jeanne M.
    This research seeks to increase learner engagement in a third-year high school French class through GS, based on the principles of video game design and participatory culture. This virtual start-up incubator is set in the backdrop of La Halle Freyssinet, an actual incubator in the 13th arrondissement in Paris. As they developed their team’s start-up companies, students became entrepreneurs and pursued their own interests, navigating their future selves, personally and professionally. They also completed instructor-led tasks that provided structure and communicative tools in the L2. Along with student choice, another motivating factor was a final competition for virtual investor funds. Results show that participants’ engagement—as measured through surveys and reflective narratives as well as instructor observations—is increased when students are given a choice in their learning, are challenged to see themselves in the learning scenario, and compete with their peers for top position.
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    Engaging students in intentional cultural learning during study abroad
    (Cengage, 2017-01-01) Ducate, Lara ; Lomicka, Lara
    This action research project creates intercultural learning opportunities by engaging students with the culture of the target country. During their study abroad experiences, German intermediate language learners became engaged with their environment to negotiate intercultural, translingual, and transcultural contexts by the deliberate act of noticing. Assigned to a particular instructor-identified theme, such as transportation or public spaces, students analyzed and reflected on each picture to distinguish how it fit into the LESCANT (Victor, 1992) categories (language, environment, social organization, context, authority, non-verbal, and time). We investigated the following questions: (1) What do students notice as they intentionally pay attention to a particular theme in the host country? (2) How do students’ understandings of German or their own cultures change over the five-week program? Data consist of study abroad students’ pictures, captions, and final questionnaires. Our goal was to promote and illustrate a deeper engagement with the target culture beyond the typical study abroad classroom and host family experiences and to share ideas for successfully engaging students in critical thinking about their translingual and transcultural experiences through interpersonal and social means.
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    Of cookies and saints: Deconstructing L2 learners' myths of the target culture
    (Cengage, 2017-01-01) VanderHeijden, Vincent L.
    Lessons on culturally integral products of winter holiday speculaas cookies and the holiday figures of St. Nicholas and his attendant, Black Pete—always portrayed in blackface—are presented to illustrate possibilities for prompting reflection on difficult topics such as colonial legacy and the cultural dynamics of exclusion and belonging in foreign language (FL) Dutch instruction. Speculaas is a product of Dutch colonial power and practices, which made tropical spices affordable in cold Northern Europe, while the feast of Sinterklaas has become a contested site in Dutch culture precisely for its racial dynamics at the heart of a fundamentally Dutch cultural practice. By didacticizing such examples, language instructors can help students develop transcultural abilities, specifically within the domain of “critical cultural awareness” (Byram, 1997). This chapter suggests that the development of nuanced understandings of the target language-culture is both a long-term process requiring explicit curricular design and constitutive of key skills with applications beyond the FL classroom. I conclude with thoughts on the challenge this approach can pose for the professional development of pre-service and in-service instructors.
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    A socio-constructivist approach to developing intercultural empathy
    (Cengage, 2017-01-01) Drewelow, Isabelle
    The pedagogical intervention presented in this chapter uses a recent event that received global exposure (the 2015 terrorist attack on the satirical journal Charlie Hebdo) to engage learners’ critical awareness of the subjective dimension of freedom, especially freedom of speech. To facilitate learners’ encounter with and reflection on variation of cultural frames of reference, the intervention integrates geosemiotics theory (Scollon & Scollon, 2003) within a socio-constructivist approach to learning. A collaborative engagement inside and outside the classroom is enabled with LinoIt, a digital and interactive bulletin board. The chapter begins with curricular considerations to create a participatory and empathy-generating classroom-based learning environment. A detailed description of the sequence of project-based activities and assessments designed for a third-semester French course follows. The research and creative projects can be adapted to lower or higher level L2 courses and include other culturally organized constructs. I conclude with insights into how to use the design of the learning activities and the pedagogical sequence as a model for further curricular development and for the professional development of graduate students and instructors.
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    "What makes this so complicated?" On the value of disorienting dilemmas in language instruction
    (Cengage, 2017-01-01) Crane, Cori ; Fingerhuth, Matthias ; Huenlich, David
    This contribution considers how challenging moments arising in social pedagogies can serve as powerful learning opportunities for learners and teachers. Drawing on transformative learning theory (Johnson, 2015; Mezirow, 1994, 1997), which sees “disorienting dilemmas” as catalysts for reflection and changes in viewpoint, the study chronicles the experiences of four participants (coordinator, pedagogical designer, teacher, and student) involved in a “Reacting to the Past” game (Carnes, 2014) on German–Comanche relationships in 1847 Texas, a game that was planned for—but ultimately not carried out in—a collegiate intermediate German course. Although the game was successfully played in previous semesters, in fall 2015, a formal complaint was issued shortly before it was to be performed in class. The game was cancelled; in its place teachers discussed the content material with students and problematized the activity itself. This chapter describes how the four participant groups responded to this crisis moment and discussed the multifaceted, interconnected learning opportunities that “disorienting dilemmas” in social pedagogies can result in.