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Roberta Micallef, Turkish as a World Language or as a Modern Language
This abstract is forthcoming.
Shilpa Parnami, Intercultural Dialogue and Language Learning: Observations from a Hindi Language Classroom
This abstract is forthcoming.
Sassan Tabatabai, Teaching Attar's Conference of the Birds as Part of the Core Humanities Sequence
The Conference of the Birds by the 12th century Persian poet Farid Ud-Din Attar, is one of the most well-known and celebrated works of Persian Sufi poetry. This text is a centerpiece of the course on Persian Sufi poetry and as a precursor to Rumi is considered foundational in any study of Persian Sufi poetry. This talk will focus on how The Conference of the Birds can be incorporated into the larger context of the Core humanities and how it can be tied into the works and traditions that both precede and follow it
Sunil Sharma, Many Ramayanas, and Even More Shahnamahs: Choosing a Version to Teach
This abstract is forthcoming.
Hongyun Sun, Effectiveness of “Active Learning” Strategies for Teaching Chinese Characters and Vocabulary
Does it really work? – A case study on the effectiveness of “active learning” strategies for teaching Chinese characters and vocabulary
Since the 1990s, the “active learning” pedagogical approach has gained wide acceptance from educators because it transforms students’ learning strategy from passive to active, increases the efficiency of students’ learning, and makes the classroom experience more dynamic and enjoyable. A large amount of recent research indicates that active learning is beneficial for student performance.
The complexity of the Chinese writing system—with each character having a distinctive form, sound, and meaning—is undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges which novice-level learners face in their study of Chinese. Due to limited class hours and other factors, most North American university Chinese classes devote very little time to teaching characters. In many cases, the entire first semester of beginning-level Chinese courses offers little more than a brief introduction to characters, with predictably unsatisfactory results for student acquisition of written language and vocabulary.
This presentation examines the evidence for the effectiveness of active learning by comparing the character and vocabulary achievement of two groups of second-semester Chinese learners. By analyzing pre-lesson quizzes, post-lesson quizzes, an end- of-semester quiz, an anonymous student survey, and classroom observation, I will endeavor to address three questions:
1) Is character and vocabulary learning a completely solitary and individual learning experience? Can we apply active and cooperative learning techniques to Chinese character and vocabulary instruction?
2) Do active learning strategies enhance students’ ability to master Chinese characters and vocabulary?
3) Which active learning strategies are most effective?
Title: How to facilitate group-based learning: what do you use, and what are the benefits?
Sue Griffin & Mark Lewis, How to Facilitate Group-Based Learning: What Do You Use, and What Are the Benefits?
Part I. We will provide an overview with working definitions and examples for the following four types of group-based learning: cooperative learning, collaborative learning, project-based learning, and community-based learning. Citing source material in the field of education, we will describe “cooperative learning” as both task-based and instructor-led, with a common end product or “finish line”, whereas “collaborative learning” is generally more open-ended, whereby each learner goes in his or her own direction to explore new meaning, and initial independence leads to responses from other learners in order to build on each other’s contributions (constructivist).
Part II. We will then facilitate a discussion with participants using the following two main questions as a guide:
- Which classroom activities or assignments serve one or more of these strategies? How do you assess the learner?
- Which online or technology-assisted activities or assignments serve one or more of these strategies? How do you assess the learner?
Ultimately, we think we will arrive at shared thinking on goals for using these various group-based learning strategies in our classes, as well as a broader understand of which technologies foster cooperative, collaborative, project-based and community-based learning.
Adel Fauzetdinova, How to Teach Poetry
“Teaching Poetry. Developing Interpersonal and Intercultural Skills”
“I liked the poem because it was short,” is one of my students’ answer that summarizes the general unpopularity of poetry among students and the subsequent difficulties that teaching it in a language class entails. This presentation aims at sharing ways of making poetry more accessible and relatable for students, while at the same time turning it into a tool for developing their interpersonal and intercultural skills. Examples will range from Elementary to Advanced levels, in Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian, going from Lorca, and Akhmatova to popular American song-writers.
Will Waters, Teaching Literariness in the Target Language
This abstract is forthcoming.
Abigail Gillman, Pedagogies of Imitation
Imitation is a tried and true method of learning and self-improvement which has many uses in the language and literature classroom. Imitation assignments are easier than analytic ones. They encourage students to think like writers; pay attention to language, style and form; and use their imaginations. This presentation describes sample imitation assignments and their results.
Keith Vincent, Teaching a Big Fat Book: My Experience with the Tale of Genji in LJ 250
Teaching a “Big Fat Book”: My experience with The Tale of Genji in LJ250
Lady Murasaki’s great novel The Tale of Genji represents the culmination of centuries of antecedent literary traditions in Japan and China. Over the millennium since it was written, it has exercised an unrivaled fascination on Japanese writers and artists, serving as a perennial source of inspiration, adaptation, and parody. In the last century, it has begun to circulate as a major text of world literature.
And yet, at over thirteen hundred pages in the latest translation, including more than 700 poems and dozens of characters, The Tale of Genji can be daunting for students to tackle. In my redesigned LJ250 (“Masterpieces of Japanese Literature”) the goal is to help students become immersed in the world of the Genji, and to use that immersion to teach the fundamentals, and the joy, of literary and language study more generally. In this presentation, I will discuss some strategies that worked, and some that didn’t, and share some methodological approaches, gleaned from cognitive and affect-theory based studies of teaching and learning, that I used to develop the course. I look forward to input from colleagues on how to improve this course going forward, and how these techniques may or may not be applicable to other courses in WLL on “Big Fat Books.”
Amber Navarre, Developing an Online Language Course
Since California Virtual University offered the first online course for college credit in 1997, higher education has witnessed in the past two decades ever-increasing numbers of online course offerings and students who take these courses. More than one in four college students took at least one online course in the year of 2015 (Babson Survey Research Group, 2016). The development of online language courses has nevertheless lagged behind this trend compared to other subject matters, due to its high reliance on interaction, negotiation of meaning, and immediate feedback. The authors started the project of developing the first full-fledged online language course* of Boston University in 2016 (course listed for summer, 2017). After examining the available models from other universities, which roughly fall in two categories: virtual classrooms and self-learning models, the authors would like to present their course design, combining asynchronous lessons, synchronous conferencing, and self-guided exercises. For asynchronous content, the authors produce video lessons using iMovie and Camtasia, and embed customized notes and comprehension checks in textbook dialogue videos using Kaltura. For synchronous conferencing, Adobe Connect is used for live instruction, paired conversation, group discussion, and individualized feedback. Self-guided exercises are developed using a published online workbook hosted by quia.com, Quizlet, and the mashup function of Blackboard assignments. This presentation will showcase one online module, examine its design against pedagogical principles, and address issues of assessment, accessibility, and academic integrity. Since the course in question is offered in Chinese, the specific concern of character writing is also included in the discussion. The authors hope to lend light to future development of online language courses with this work in progress.
* A course of Japanese Kanji was developed a year before, but it had a more specific focus (the written form of characters) and was not equivalent to a full language course that aims to develop language proficiency in all modes.
Liling Huang, Web-Based Curriculum for Teaching Pragmatics in Chinese as a Foreign Language
This report introduces a web-based curriculum for pragmatics instruction in Chinese as a foreign language, and presents the key components or this curriculum. Pragmatic competence is the ability to interpret meanings and communicate appropriately in different social interactions (Taguichi, 2015). Lacking pragmatics knowledge will lead to communication failure. More recently, the role of technology in pragmatic instruction has been investigated and reported positive effects (e.g., Takamiya & Ishihara, 2013; Belz & Vyatking, 2005). However, no regular curricular attempt has been made to teach Chinese pragmatics to non-native speakers with aid of technology. This curriculum aims at creating an online learning platform devoted to Chinese pragmatics. It takes an explicit approach to teach both the pragma-linguistic aspects (small talk, request, apologize, refusal, etc.) and socio-pragmatic knowledge (face, indirectness, customs, etc.). Learners study Chinese pragmatics and cultural knowledge through consciousness-raising tasks and productive-skill tasks. Consciousness-raising tasks typically have learners keep a reading journal, watch instructional videos recorded by the instructor, and listen to conversations between native speakers selected from different media sources (naturalistic video samples, TV reality shows and dramas), with their attentions directed to teh target pragmatic aspects and sociolinguistic variables of particular speech events. Productive-skill tasks take a variety of formats through online speaking activities, discourse analysis activities, case study and blogging. This curriculum is partially utilized in a third year university course that includes a mix of blended face-to-face and online experiences. This presentation also examines the instructional effect of the 14 learners’ pragmatic awareness as found in their blog entries.
Mira Angrist & Luluah Mustafa, Using Google Docs and eComma for Digital Social Reading
Using GoogleDocs and eComma for Digital Social Reading
Mira Angrist and Luluah Mustafa
Digital Social Reading is a form of collaborative reading that takes place online. It allows students to connect around authentic texts of all genres and turns the reading process into a community experience. Students can annotate, analyze, summarize, share their thoughts, ask questions and respond to other comments. Digital Social Reading exposes students to more contact hours with the target language and enhances three modes of communication – presentational, interpretive and interpersonal.
Digital Social Reading can be used to flip the classroom and prepare students for deeper level face-to-face discussion or as a follow-up classroom activity.
Using Power Point, the presenters will explain what is Digital Social Reading and its benefits in language acquisition; describe several tools in Digital Social Readings; such as Google Docs and eComma with sample activities assigned to students. All these tools enhances interpretive and writing skills while also facilitating student interaction outside the classroom.
Participants will be exposed to additional uses of Google Docs, such as working with teams and leaving audio comments with Kaizena.
The eComma software was developed by Professor Sam Bakers and a team of graduate students from the Department of English at the University of Texas at Austin, with support from an NEH Digital Humanities Start-up Grant.
The software allows a group of readers to work on the same text and then share their comments. The eComma has special features, such as “word cloud”, which is a visual display of words in the text. The visually bigger words reflect their frequency in the text and can be used as an activity to identify the topic of the text. Readers can also tag an analyze words for grammar and meaning, highlight key sentences and annotate the text.
Thanks to a Boston University faculty member, Mira Angrist, eComma was introduced to the Hebrew Program with the support of the Geddes Language Lab during the summer of 2015. As a result, Boston University became among the first institutions to integrate eComma on Blackboard.
Giselle Khoury, e-Traveling: Innovative Content-Based Course Design
E-Traveling: Innovative Content-based Course Design
The presentation will focus on the design of intermediate- and advanced-level content-based language courses that incorporate attractive themes to increase interest in continued study beyond the fulfillment of language requirement. The presenter will discuss the design of one of the innovative and popular content-based Arabic courses (“Traveland the Middle East”) which incorporates a blended face-to-face and online mode of instruction and will provide sample syllabi, thematic units, authentic materials, engaging communicative activities, performance-based assessment tools and grading rubrics. The presenter will also share lessons learned from the development and implementation process.
Jungsoo Kim, Encouraging Students' Self-Reflection for Improving Writing Proficiency
Encouraging Students’ Self-Reflection for Improving Writing Proficiency
Students submit numerous written works in their language courses. In turn, teachers correct a great number of mistakes including spelling and grammatical errors as well as inappropriately chosen words. Some students review their mistakes and rapidly improve, while others shove the returned works deep into their desk drawers and rarely look at them again. Aware of such different attitudes, my presentation will focus on the methods I have used in my Korean language courses to encourage students’ self-reflection on their written works to improve their writing proficiency. This method can be implemented into any kind of writing assignments; for example, with workbook assignments, the following steps will be taken. First, the teacher directs the students to familiarize themselves with the self-reflection guidelines posted on Blackboard, which explain students expectations and how the corrections will be marked and scored in their assignments. For the first two assignments, the teacher will correct all mistakes and if necessary, add comments about why and how certain mistakes need to be changed. Students will be asked to closely review the teacher’s corrections and enter each mistake and correction into the template provided by the teacher (the template and other materials will be shared during the presentation). From the third assignment, students use their individual self-reflection list to edit their assignment. They are also asked to attach their self-reflection list to their work so that the teacher can check to see if students have repeated their previous mistakes. Once a student’s work is returned, students must then add new entries to the earlier list. Each new assignment submission is accompanied with the revised list. The list serves as the basis of scoring the work, with repeated mistakes leading to higher deduction points. This method can be implemented into any kind of written assignment including essays and research papers. When used consistently throughout the semester, this self-reflection method can provide a discipline to improve students’ writing proficiency.
Beate Alhadeff, German Lessons Through Expressionism
German Lessons through Expressionism
August Macke, Franz Marc and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner are major expressionists who dramatically invigorated the German art scene. However their paintings are relatively unknown outside the country, as two world wars truncated their lives and legacies. A look at their work tells memorable stories, of interest to both the general public and content-based language instruction.
Students are first shown paintings by Macke and Marc, close friends and founding members of the expressionist group Der blaue Reiter (1911-1914) in Munich. Prompted by cues, they make observations about colors, shapes, mood and perspective. In so doing they can develop a sense of what characterizes expressionism without having been given a lecture. Detailed analysis of Paradies, a piece Macke and Marc made together in 1912, reveals the philosophy behind their art: a longing for life in a pure, primordial state, an Eden devoid of original sin and full of other intriguing counter-points to the biblical image. Excellent material for creative skits – “Macke and Marc discuss what and how to paint” –, the real painters’ yearning for paradise must also be scrutinized from a historical viewpoint. Was it pacifist escapism from the rampant militarism in Germany under Wilhelm II, as 21st century students tend to surmise? Doing their own research, they will discover that Macke and even more so Marc, in the mistaken belief that war could bring about grand cultural purification, enthusiastically went to the battlefields, where reality struck and killed them in combat.
Unlike Macke and Marc, Kirchner survived World War I. A nervous breakdown during military training had saved his life, but left him in deep depression. In Selbstbildnis als Soldat (1915) he stands in his studio wearing a soldier’s uniform, his right hand cut off, a cigarette in his mouth and behind him a picture of a nude whose sex remains a subject of speculation. Moved by this complex message of despair, students have written thoughtful essays about what may have gone through Kirchner’s mind while making this disturbing painting. Ironically, back in 1906 Kirchner, as chief founder of the Dresden based movement Die Brücke (1905-1913), had called for creativity fuelled by joy, spontaneity, youth and an unconventional way of life. This initiative set off a long series of pictures like Badende (1910), created while he and his fellow artists bathed and worked as nudes in happy disregard for the law. When the group dispersed in 1913, Kirchner looked for inspiration in Berlin. It prompted him to produce often daunting images of modernity and most famously, rather gloomy paintings like Straßenszene (1913), that bear testimony to the city’s hushed tolerance of illegal prostitution. Put side by side, Badende and Straßenszene make for interesting contrasts, which the language classroom can utilize for a variety of activities, from simple vocabulary exercises to dialogues, role-plays and critical analyses. Kirchner’s oeuvre comprises around 15000 items. Despite the heavy toll of World War I, he soldiered on as artist until 1938, when he destroyed some of his creations and committed suicide, while the Nazis exhibited 25 of his works as examples of “degenerate art.”
The sad fate of the expressionists can trigger meaningful discussions about art and politics, particularly in advanced third-year classes. At lower levels, it is commendable to round off this unit by having students produce skits, either as visitors of an expressionist art gallery in 1913 or 2016, or as contemporary curators / private art collectors considering the purchase of any of the paintings introduced in class.
Svitlana Malykhina, The Russian Media: Stumbling from Pillar to Post
My talk will concern itself with a study on construction and constrains of Russian media message. As the manipulative strategies of Russian media grow more and more refined, with strong preferences for usage of informality, high tolerance of iffy language, sarcastic and sardonic comments, fast-paced and information-laden media environment has become increasingly complex and subtle. My study explores the key literal and historical references that greatly circulate in public discourse, and are picked up by the news media for both the strategic purposes of reflection and/or promotion of a more authentic source of national identity. In this paper, I will demonstrate some of my findings on the literally allusions with subversive meanings and will discuss the ways literally allusions are manipulated in the media production and the ways that different audiences might view the media product.
Hiromi Miyagi-Lusthaus, Teaching Social Justice in the World Language Classroom
Title: Teaching Social Justice in the World Language Classroom
Presenter: Hiromi Miyagi-Lusthaus
Social justice has been long neglected in language teaching, especially in Asian language classes. Since the “21st Century Skill” came to be known and teachers started to be aware that some of the skills to be instilled are ‘civic, ethical and social-justice literacy,’ many language teachers in this country now recognize the importance of teaching social justice in class, and a new sub group on teaching that is being created in ACTFL.
Language classes also teach culture, and culture includes social context and social history. Making students aware of the social context is supposed to be part of language instruction, but in reality, the focus has been limited. Language reflects culture, and it changes with changes in the culture. Social discrimination, women’s rights, nuclear disasters, and nationalism are some contemporary Japanese concerns. Similar issues have become increasingly urgent around the world, including xenophobic discrimination of the ‘other.’ Still, teaching social justice, or even mentioning social problems in Japanese society tends to be regarded as taboo in the field of Japanese language pedagogy. However, the presenter strongly believes that teaching social issues and social justice in the language classroom (especially Japanese language) is truly important now due to the current political/cultural climates in both the US and Japan. In this presentation, the presenter will point out the reasons why teaching social justice is a sine qua non at present, and show how it can be done by quoting examples she learned during workshops (including her own lesson plans) and at ACTFL panels.
Margaret Litvin & Yuri Corrigan, Balancing Literary Form, Cultural Context and Language in WLL's New Gateway Course, XL 100
Balancing Literary Form, Cultural Context, and Language in WLL’S New Gateway Course XL 100
This presentation reflects on our exhilarating experience of piloting XL 100. Titled Leaving Home: Explorations in World Literature, this course is the required gateway to all of our department’s majors, not just Comparative Literature. It aims to familiarize students with nearly a dozen challenging premodern and modern literary works from different language families and cultural traditions, introduce them to many of our brilliant colleagues through guest lectures, help them build the skills of close reading, comparative analysis, and literary-essay writing, and inculcate the intellectual habit of conversing (and sometimes disagreeing) about books. But can it do even more? In particular: can it also emphasize the languages our students are studying? Among general-education students, can it spark a hunger for language study? How might this goal complement the course’s literary focus? Given just 14 weeks, what large- and small-scale strategies can help XL 100 build in linguistic exploration, even while preserving the emphasis on character and theme that will allow first-year students to make interesting connections between the texts? We will share some strategies and welcome suggestions for others.
Peter J. Schwartz, The Difference Between Art and Life
The Difference Between Art and Life
Peter J. Schwartz • abstract for WLL Teaching Symposium, 31 March 2017
In his Aesthetic Letters of 1795, Friedrich Schiller defined the aesthetic realm as a safe space, and art as a clearly delimited sphere in which people could play with symbols and images of their reality in a way that could possibly, but not necessarily, lead to changes in that reality. Schiller was writing in the aftermath of the French Revolution and in mind of the ongoing Terror; his thinking on art responds to a need to imagine new futures without necessarily bringing them about, to contemplate various options, in politics and in life, before committing oneself to one option or choosing particular life trajectories. In later German thinking, this becomes the conception of art as a utopian sphere most often associated with Ernst Bloch and Theodor Adorno, two members of the left-leaning Frankfurt School of Critical Theory. Thoroughgoing political utopias are not the only ones meant: in this context, the term extends to the imaginative construction of social behaviors in general. To understand art as utopian in this way is to imagine it as a bracketed sphere in which we can play out potential relationships with other humans and with ourselves, in both a ludic and a theatrical sense. The point is thus equally applicable to overtly political dramas and to fairy tales, to which Bruno Bettelheim applies a similar model when defending their violence and dodgy morality as devices for helping children to process their own ambivalences.
Bettelheim’s argument, like Schiller’s, depends on maintaining a careful distinction between the realm of art and the realm of life, between the aesthetic and the real, fictionality and truth. But utopias by definition exist nowhere: they are imaginary correctives to the deficiencies of real life, and are best understood as heuristic constructions. One could even say that history has demonstrated that utopias, when realized, tend to become dystopias. There is evidently some danger in melting the bracket of the aesthetic sphere, of failing or forgetting to maintain the distinction of art from life.
Curiously, it would seem that those who seem most inclined to confuse art and life are precisely the ones who see the most danger to life in art. The objections against which Bettelheim defends fairy tales depend on a certain conflation of fiction and truth, on a horrified moral reaction to fictional situations as if they were real, or must inevitably produce equivalent realities. We see such moral horror applied to art, to fiction, to poetry, since Plato’s Republic (II, 376-8), which would exile the poets for fear of misleading the youth; the same point is addressed critically in Boccaccio, in the Tale of Genji, in the 1986 Meese Report on Pornography, in Michael Moore’s interview with Marilyn Manson in the wake of the shootings at Columbine, and in the songs and the stage show of the German rock group Rammstein, just to name a few texts I have taught on the subject.
Understanding and maintaining this distinction is crucial both to our political moment and to our task as teachers of literature and other arts, which demand that we teach our students to think carefully about the complexly mediated relationships of art to life. In my talk, I will try to parse the politics and the psychology of this problem with regard to these texts and others while showing how I teach the material, paying special attention to the question of belief (“Do we believe fiction/propaganda/advertising/ pornography?”), to the ludic function of stories, to the necessity of distinguishing multiple levels of signification (diegetic/symbolic/historical/ideational) in the classroom, and to the political valence of aesthetic techniques of estrangement, understood as attempts to denaturalize fictions conventionally accepted as real.