Report on the USDE’s Roundtable Visit

September 30th, 2013 | Posted by jtparry in cercll project | cercll staff | games to teach | professional development | title vi - (Comments Off on Report on the USDE’s Roundtable Visit)

From left to right: Dr. Jonathon Reinhardt, Dr. Béatrice Dupuy, Dr. Dann-Messier, Dr. Linda Waugh, and Dr. Kathy Short

We at CERCLL had something to celebrate this September 11: Dr. Brenda Dann-Messier, Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education and Acting Assistant Secretary of Education, and Dr. Sharon Lee Miller, Director of the Division of Academic and Technical Education, came to a roundtable held in their honor at The University of Arizona on the southwest leg of the U.S. Department of Education’s Back-to-School Bus Tour. The event began with Drs. Béatrice Dupuy and Linda Waugh providing an overview of CERCLL, explaining the purpose of the roundtable, and recognizing key guests including the University of Arizona’s Deans of Humanities and Education, leaders of the two National Resource Centers on campus, and other department and program Heads.

Dr. Dann-Messier served as the moderator of the roundtable and asked participants to introduce themselves and their work in the CERCLL projects. Then Dr. Kathy Short talked about how CERCLL’s Global Cultures project has been successfully implemented in many K-8 schools, expanded to produce additional materials for pre-school and elementary aged children, and also shared lessons learned. Next Dr. Jonathon Reinhardt explained about his two CERCLL projects: 1) Games To Teach: Developing Digital Game-Mediated Foreign Language Literacies and 2) a project sponsored by a National Science Foundation Cyberlearning Grant titled Partnerships in Indigenous Knowledge and Digital Literacies, which will include a symposium on game-based learning with invited participants from Native American communities that will be held this November in Tucson.

After these overviews, Dr. Dann-Messier asked the international consultants who work with Dr. Short’s project and take the culture kits into K-8 schools to share their experiences using these materials as they interact with students, teachers, and parents. It was exciting to hear about how kids eagerly ask the international consultants questions and enjoy learning about their cultures while also interacting with the cultural artefacts and colorful books in the toolkits. One of the consultants working with the Arabic materials noted that many of the students using the kits had gone on later to take language courses.

Dr. Dann-Messier concluded the ceremonies and thanked everybody for their hard work and dedication to these educational projects; she added that one of the reasons for this event was to help make connections between relevant parties, and she is helping to connect people with similar interests. Several members of CERCLL’s core team attended a conference in Washington D.C. last week and were approached by others within the U.S. Department of Education who had heard about our activities because of the roundtable. In short, it was a successful visit as those in attendance got to hear inside perspectives about the two exciting educational projects at CERCLL, ideas were shared, and connections were made.

USDE-moderated Roundtable Discussion on K-8 Foreign Language Teaching

September 10th, 2013 | Posted by jtparry in cercll project | cercll staff | culture | games to teach | professional development | title vi - (Comments Off on USDE-moderated Roundtable Discussion on K-8 Foreign Language Teaching)

The US Department of Education’s annual back-to-school bus tour is underway! This week-long bus tour has the theme of “Strong Start, Bright Future”, and takes place in the US Southwest states of New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, and California. You can read more about this bus tour on this site.

As part of this tour Dr. Brenda Dann-Messier, The Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education and Acting Assistant Secretary of Postsecondary Education of the US Department of Education, will moderate in a roundtable held at the University of Arizona. You can read Dr. Dann-Messier’s biography here.

CERCLL was contacted by the USDE because of interest in some of our projects related to this year’s themes, specifically the Global Cultures project and Games to Teach project, and they wanted to learn more about how we are assisting in bringing culture and language learning to various communities.

This discussion will focus upon the tour’s themes of Teachers as Leaders and Early Learning. CERCLL’s Global Cultures project brings International Consultants and resource kits in several languages and world regions to local schools where they encourage exploration of foreign languages and cultures. The Games to Teach project provides educators the resources (both material and pedagogical) needed to design, implement and assess digital game-mediated learning activities; it has recently branched out with the assistance of a National Science Foundation Cyberlearning grant to Native American communities on the Arizona-California border.

Here are participants in the roundtable, that are taking part in the discussion in some form:

  1. Brenda Dann-Messier (USDE, Assistant Secretary of Vocational and Adult Education, Acting Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education)
  2. Beatrice Dupuy (CERCLL Co-Director; Professor of French and Foreign Language Education in the UA’s Department of French & Italian; French Basic Language Program Director)
  3. Linda Waugh (CERCLL Co-Director; Professor in the UA departments of French and Italian, and English)
  4. Kathy Short (CERCLL Project Director; Professor in UA’s Language, Reading and Culture program; Worlds of Words Director)
  5. Jonathon Reinhardt (CERCLL Project Co-Director; Assistant Professor in UA’s Department of English; Director of the UA’s English Language/Linguistics program)
  6. Nayalin Feller (International Consultant 1: Global Cultures, Portuguese; Language Reading and Culture PhD student)
  7. MiKyoung Chang (International Consultant 2: Global Cultures, Korean; Postdoctoral Research Associate, College of Education)
  8. Ke Huang (International Consultant 3: Global Cultures, Chinese; Language Reading and Culture PhD student)
  9. Veronika Williams (International Consultant 4: Global Cultures, Russian; Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT) PhD student)
  10. Fatima Abdulkazem (Teacher in Global Cultures; was International Consultant, Arabic; Safford Elementary now)
  11. Desiree Cueto (K-12 School official involved in Global Cultures: Multicultural Curriculum Coordinator, TUSD)
  12. Ofelia Zepeda (UA’s American Indian Language Development Institute Director; Games project collaborator;  Professor and acting Head of UA’s Department of Linguistics, and a MacArthur award winner for her poetry and work with the Tohono O’Odham community)
  13. Alyce Sadongei (UA’s American Indian Language Development Institute Program Coordinator; Games project collaborator)

In addition, the UA Deans of Humanities and Education will be in attendance, along with UA’s Acting Vice President for Research, and some other department and program heads involved in foreign language education related to these projects. Finally, there are educators and students interested in these themes attending as well.

Twitter: #EDTour13

Hypermedia Annotations in Second Language Learning

January 21st, 2013 | Posted by jtparry in cercll project | cercll staff | culture | resources - (Comments Off on Hypermedia Annotations in Second Language Learning)

Within the sphere of second language teaching, technology has been rapidly growing and being implemented as a tool for motivation and efficiency in the hands of capable teachers. Among the countless online tools available, hypermedia annotations have been shown to be helpful for improving vocabulary learning and reading comprehension. Annotations, or glosses, are usually short definitions or explanations that accompany a text. These usually have appeared in the margins of books, within text, or at the bottom of the page. Hypermedia comes from the combination of hypertext (information given through links, as you would find on the internet) and multimedia. Thus hypermedia annotations are a computer form of traditional glosses, with clickable links.

There are several advantages to hypermedia glosses. They are quick and efficient, and allow readers to focus on comprehending a text or learning words more deeply. In a number of studies, students have commented on the enjoyability and usability of glosses—so they are also a good way to enhance motivation. Several students have also shown their affinity for L1 glosses over L2 glosses, particularly at lower proficiency levels. Possible disadvantages to glosses include that they may make students expend too little effort, not engage in deep learning, or simplify the meaning of words and passages. Although it would intuitively seem clear that glosses are effective, this issue is actually controversial within SLA studies. There are too many results to present generalizations, and an astounding amount of variables in past studies on hypermedia glosses.

CERCLL is currently developing texts with hypermedia annotations for Arabic, German, Turkish, and Portuguese using TIARA (The Interactive Annotated Reading Application) software, which was developed by the ARCLITE (Advanced Research in Curriculum for Language Instruction and Technology in Education) lab at BYU. This project is directed by Dr. Chantelle Warner, and more details about the project can be found here. This tool allows users to access a text and display all glosses or choose between text, image, audio, and video glosses on an interactive page. In addition, the glosses promote intercultural competence since they serve to explain words and phrases that are important to cultural understanding. Here is a screenshot of the application:

An example of an image annotation on TIARA

The current project with hypermedia annotations is an extension of a past CERCLL project, directed by Robert Ariew, which used different software to create materials for Arabic and Italian (click each language to view the resources).

This tool offers many possibilities, for either the classroom or individual language study. There are a number of other tools for hypermedia glosses, which present their own strengths and weaknesses. One free tool for hypermedia creation online is This site allows you to download free software to create your own hypermedia glosses, and it is definitely worth checking out!

Language and Culture Kits from CERCLL and World of Words

May 16th, 2012 | Posted by Sasha Kuchuk in cercll project | culture | resources - (Comments Off on Language and Culture Kits from CERCLL and World of Words)

CERCLL’s project “Bringing Global Cultures and World Languages into K-8 Classrooms“, directed by Dr. Kathy Short and developed in collaboration with Worlds of Words – the International Collection of Children’s and Adolescent Literature at the University of Arizona, keeps growing and welcomes its newest addition – a Language and Culture Kit for the Russian language and culture.

This project was originally designed to introduce K-8 students to less commonly taught languages (LCTLs) and cultures to create an interest in foreign language study and to make students more comfortable with exploring a range of world languages and global cultures.

Because children’s and adolescents’ literature is a resource that is particularly effective in engaging students in exploring diverse global perspectives and languages, this project develops book kits which include fiction and nonfiction literature about a particular country or region written in English and in the relevant LCTL along with tape recordings and some other language and cultural resources. These book kits are more commonly known as “Language and Culture Kits”. Each Kit comes with a manual along with lists of language resources and literature. An example of such manual, which includes the resources for Korean/South Korea and Arabic/Middle East, can be found on the project’s website, and some sections of the manual are also available for download on WoW website.

Currently, the list of Kits includes:

Arabic-Speaking Countries and Cultures Kit
Chinese Language and Culture Kit
Japanese Language and Culture Kit
Korean Language and Culture Kit
Portuguese/Brazil Language and Culture Kit
Spanish/Mexico Language and Culture Kit
American Indians of the Southwest Language and Culture Kit
Russian Language and Culture Kit

All Language and Culture Kits are stored and can be checked out at the World of Words:

World of Words
University of Arizona College of Education
Language, Reading and Culture
1430 East Second Street
Tucson, AZ 85721
Phone/Fax – 520.621.9340


Videos from Intercultural Competence Conference 2012

May 16th, 2012 | Posted by Sasha Kuchuk in cercll project | icc2012 | professional development | resources | video - (Comments Off on Videos from Intercultural Competence Conference 2012)
David Fenner at ICC 2012

Did you miss your chance to attend The Third International Conference on the Development and Assessment of Intercultural Competence this January? Or would like to revisit some of the presentations?

CERCLL has made available the videos of the keynote address, plenary addresses, and some paper presentations. You can either see them on CERCLL’s YouTube Channel or CERCLL’s website, where you can also find and download presentation slides and some other materials.

Now you can watch the complete videos of the keynote presentation “Reconsidering Crosscultural Abilities: The Link to Language Learning and Assessment” by Dr. Heidi Byrnes from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., and all five plenary presenatations:

“Exploring the Intercultural Dimensions of Cross-Border Language Learning” by Dr. Celeste Kinginger, Pennsylvania State University

“Intercultural Competence of Heritage Language Learners: Motivation, Identity, Language Attitudes and the Curriculum” by Dr. Olga Kagan, University of California, Los Angeles

“Targeting the Target Language: Strategies in a Multilingual Environment” by Dr. David Fenner, World Learning

“Intercultural In/competence: The Top Challenge for Guest Chinese Teachers in US Schools” by Dr. Jun Liu, Georgia State University

“Pulsating Galactic Classrooms, Immersion Environments, Individual vs. Group Language Learning at Home and Abroad” by Dr. Judith M. Maxwell, Tulane University

Here is what conference attendees say about some of these presentations:

“[T]he keynote session by Dr. Byrnes called on the making of connections between linguistic ability and cultural ability, an aspect that tends to be overlooked or simplified by researchers in the area of ICC. The call made by Dr. Byrnes has had a strong impact on my own research … [The] type of argument put forth by Dr. Byrnes made the attendance at the conference an extremely valuable learning experience.”
Adolfo Carrillo Cabello, Ph.D. student in Applied Linguistics and Technology, University of Iowa

“I thoroughly enjoyed the plenary session by Olga Kagan. The information was solid, informative and interesting … I found this session particularly interesting because we deal with so many students who have a heritage language, who have cultural affinity, but who are functionally illiterate in that language.  I think this is an important issue for students from Mexico.”
Patricia Hutchinson, Cottonwood Middle School, Cottonwood, AZ

“The plenary that stole the show was “Targeting the Target Language” by David Fenner – he has the experience as a well traveled educator/scholar and the skills to perform and make the audience participate.”
Julio Fajardo, US Middle School Teacher

Presenting at the CERCLL’s Intercultural Competence Conference

April 20th, 2012 | Posted by Sasha Kuchuk in cercll project | culture | icc 2014 | icc2012 | professional development - (Comments Off on Presenting at the CERCLL’s Intercultural Competence Conference)

CERCLL’s biennial International Conference on the Development and Assessment of Intercultural Competence is an excellent opportunity not only to catch up with the recent developments in the field and to learn from experts and peers, but also to present one’s own research. The recently concluded ICC 2012 focused on “Intercultural Competence and Foreign/Second Language Immersive Environments,” and brought together about 270 academic and language professionals from around the globe. Over four days, the conference featured one keynote and five plenary presentations, more than 80 paper presentations, and 7 pre- and post-conference workshops. Attendees generally commented on the welcoming atmosphere of the conference, and presenters have noted that this atmosphere extended to the way their talks were received by the audience.

“It was a privilege and empowering opportunity to present at CERCLL’s Intercultural Competence Conference with my colleagues…Openness, enthusiasm, dedication to research, and a maintained view of the “big picture” – into which our teaching and research and individual (as well as collective) acts of cross-cultural communication fit – defined this international conference experience…The CERCLL staff have been warm, welcoming and consistently communicative as they sought to meet my needs as a conference attendee and presenter. I cannot recommend CERCLL’s Intercultural Competence Conference highly enough to my colleagues.”

—Rebecca Hale, University of Cincinnati

The diversity of attendees and presenters that characterizes ICC makes these conferences a great venue for novice presenters, who are able to reach experts in their own field as well as across disciplinary boundaries:

“This was my first time presenting my research, and I could not have asked for a better conference at which to present. Even though being streamed and presenting right after Dr. Jane Jackson (whom I cite many times in my dissertation) was nerve-wracking, the excellent organization of the conference as well as the quality of the previous talks made for a successful first experience.”

—Anne Dargent-Wallace, University of Wisconsin-Madison

“This conference offered an excellent venue to present one’s own research result as well as to learn from others…[I]t was my first experience in presenting my thesis’ data in front of an expert audience, even though many of the attendees were not experts, but just generally interested in the topic. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a mainly American audience, since my research is based on a European model and theory, but it was greatly appreciated and accepted.”

—Beate Mueller, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

For many presenters, speaking at ICC 2012 sparked ideas for future work and provided opportunities to build relationships that could foster future collaboration:

“[T]he fact that my work prompted a large number of questions and interesting comments will be a great stimulus for further practice.”

—Marta Guarda, University of Padova, Italy

“As a presenter at the ICC conference I was able to make important connections with other researchers in the field. This conference provided me with a platform to meet researchers who are interested in my area of research, and with whom I may be able to engage in future research projects.”

—Adolfo Carrillo Cabello, Iowa State University

The next Intercultural Competence Conference will take place in January of 2014 and will address the topic of “Preparing Teachers to Teach for Intercultural Competence.” Whether you are a seasoned researcher or are taking your first steps as the researcher and practitioner in the field of intercultural competence, ICC 2014 could be the perfect opportunity for you to present your research and engage in a fruitful dialogue with your colleagues. Look for the Call for Papers for CERCLL’s Fourth Intercultural Competence Conference on the CERCLL website and this blog!

Multilingual, 2.0? Symposium

March 1st, 2012 | Posted by Sasha Kuchuk in cercll project | culture | professional development | resources - (Comments Off on Multilingual, 2.0? Symposium)
Multilingual, 2.0?

The International Symposium Multilingual, 2.0?, which will take place at the University of Arizona on April 13-15, 2012, is the first major step in the interdisciplinary initiative to answer the question, What is multilingualism, now? This initiative is led by the University of Arizona professors Abraham Acosta, Aslı Iğsız, David Gramling and Chantelle Warner, who is also the Project Director for the CERCLL’s Hypermedia Texts project. The symposium, supported by a grant from the Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry at the University of Arizona and co-sponsored by CERCLL,  will bring together the scholars and practitioners from a variety of domains and fields to discuss the meaning, present and future of multilingualism.

The attendance at the symposium is FREE, but the organizers are asking all attendees to fill out the online registration form in advance so that they could best accomodate all visitors.

To learn more about the aims of the symposium, to see the list of topics and questions that can become a part of the conversation,  to view the symposium schedule and the list of speakers, to read and comment on the abstracts of presentations, please visit the symposium website:

CERCLL Project Close-Up: Games to Teach: Developing Digital Game-Mediated Foreign Language Literacies

October 10th, 2011 | Posted by CERCLL in cercll project | games to teach - (Comments Off on CERCLL Project Close-Up: Games to Teach: Developing Digital Game-Mediated Foreign Language Literacies)

Project Directors: Jonathon Reinhardt (University of Arizona) and Julie Sykes (University of New Mexico)

Digital games are socio-cultural practices and products, and gaming has become a mainstream, global cultural force. Applied linguists and FL educators have noted that gameplay is mediated by language use and social interaction, thereby also making it a potentially rich context for language acquisition. Off-the-shelf and online digital games are produced by a diversity of countries in a variety of languages.

Despite the interest in and availability of these games, ways in which their benefits can be harnessed to enhance FL learning have yet to be fully explored.

The primary goal of this project is to provide FL educators the resources (both material and pedagogical) needed to design, implement, and assess digital game-mediated learning activities that have the potential to develop FL multiliteracies. Over the course of the four year grant cycle, the project will produce and offer:

  • classroom materials for L2 learning activities to be used with widely available vernacular digital games in Chinese, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish
  • white papers and academic-level working papers on issues related to digital game-mediated L2 teaching and learning
  • a manual for L2 teachers and education professionals on evaluating, designing, and implementing game-enhanced L2 learning activities
  • summer workshops on digital game-mediated L2 pedagogy
  • a conference in Spring 2014, Playing Languages: Digital Gaming in FL Education, A Hybrid Conference on Research and Practice

More information about the project is available at the Games to Teach project blog.

CERCLL Project Close-Up: The L2 Written Arabic Corpus

October 3rd, 2011 | Posted by CERCLL in arabic | arabic corpus | cercll project - (Comments Off on CERCLL Project Close-Up: The L2 Written Arabic Corpus)

Project Director: Dr. Samira Farwaneh, Associate Professor, Arabic Language and Linguistics
Project Assistant: Mohammed Tamimi, SLAT Ph.D. Candidate

The L2 (or interlanguage) written Arabic corpus project is a gradually expanding database of written samples produced by L2 and heritage students studying Arabic as a second or foreign language. Most essays in the collection were initially handwritten, and later carefully typed by one assistant and proofread by another to ensure that errors in the originals were not unconsciously corrected by the typist.

The typed essays are now located within a searchable database, where they are tagged by learner level (beginning, intermediate, or advanced), learner type (L2 vs. heritage), and genre (description, narration, or instruction). The database now features nearly 300 essays, most from second, third, and fourth year Arabic students. Roughly one-fifth of the essays were written by heritage students with some background in a regional variety of Arabic. The rest were produced by L2 learners. Essays categorized as  “reflective” were written at home as homework assignments, while  “spontaneous” essays were written during in-class exams.

The complete database is freely accessible online at

One of the many challenges of foreign language instruction is that syllabi and textbooks are designed following native speakers intuition which may not be reflected in interlanguage grammars. For example, the preliminary data collected so far show that learners of Arabic correlate stress with length, and this correlation is expressed as orthographic errors involving inaccurate insertion or omission of long vowels. In Arabic, however, length and stress are interrelated but independent suprasegmental features; a vowel may be long but not stressed, or it may be stressed but not long. Teachers rarely emphasize stress and length features in class activities and examinations, focusing their attention instead on grammatical mood and case endings which often are not overtly marked in authentic texts.

The corpus will serve as a significant source of empirical data for hypothesis testing in second language acquisition research. It will also be a resource for syllabus design, textbook development and assessment, dictionary design, and teaching methodology for Arabic instructors.

The first public presentations introducing the project were given at the spring 2010 Western Consortium of Middle Eastern Languages Workshop held in Tucson and the Georgetown Roundtable on Arabic Linguistics and Pedagogy. This past Spring, it was introduced at the NCOLCTL annual conference as well. The project received positive and constructive feedback at these events.