Developing students’ intercultural competence: An introductory lesson plan

June 9th, 2014 | Posted by Merica McNeil in culture | professional development | resources | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Developing students’ intercultural competence: An introductory lesson plan)

cultural icerberg

Want to talk about culture with your students, but not sure how to break the ice? As a starting point, it can be helpful to find out about their ideas regarding culture and the basis for these ideas. For example, what experiences have they had encountering other cultures? What challenges did they have? How did they deal with these challenges? What were the results? If they knew then what they know now, would they have dealt with the situation differently? If so, how? Discussing questions such as these, especially involving critical incidents, can help set the stage for starting to develop intercultural competence.

Since I had attended CERCLL’s Language Teacher Symposium led by Dr. Carmen King de Ramírez on March 8 on cultural intelligence activities (see details), I knew it was important to engage students in the discussion and find out the origins of their beliefs about other cultures. For example, are their beliefs based on their own experiences or from what they have heard others say about another culture? Carmen kept workshop participants engaged by providing a variety of practical activities that can be used to increase students’ cultural intelligence. She explained and demonstrated a variety of activities, and she also provided a packet of handouts to help teachers be able to implement activities in their classes.

When a colleague was looking for somebody to guest teach a lesson on the link between language and culture, I jumped at the opportunity. Instead of lecturing this class of university students on the chapter on this topic in their course textbook (Basics of Language for Language Learners), their teacher and I decided it would be more appropriate to help this group of students activate their background knowledge of culture based on their experiences. My lesson plan and Powerpoint are attached. Feel free to adapt them to suit your needs.

LessonPlan_CultureAndLanguage

Powerpoint: Language_and_Culture

Reference

Culicover, P. & Hume, E. (2010). Basics of language for language learners. Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University Press.

Image:

Penston, J. (n.d.). Visualising the iceberg model of culture. Retrieved from http://opengecko.com/interculturalism/visualising-the-iceberg-model-of-culture.  James Penstone / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Upcoming workshop on Innovative Technology in the Language Classroom

December 7th, 2013 | Posted by Merica McNeil in culture | professional development | SLAT - (Comments Off on Upcoming workshop on Innovative Technology in the Language Classroom)

Next Saturday, December 14, a free workshop will be offered at The University of Arizona on Innovative Technology in the Language Classroom. It is open to faculty and instructors of all languages.

The University of Arizona is a new member of several Arabic Flagship programs in the U.S. which are designed to improve the way Americans learn languages using innovative approaches to promote advanced language education.

According to Dr. Sonia Shiri, who is the Academic Director for the Arizona Arabic Flagship Program as well as Assistant Professor and Middle East Language Coordinator at the University of Arizona, the purpose of the workshop is to share cutting edge work using technology and encourage sharing ideas with the whole campus.

For more information about this event on December 14, see details here: http://cercll.arizona.edu/development/workshops/arabic.flagship

Location: The University of Arizona in Tucson, Marshall Building Room 490

The event is free, but an RSVP is required by December 10th in order to attend. RSVP here.

Download the flyer for full details.

The workshop is organized for the University of Arizona’s Arabic Flagship program by the Flagship Program, CERCLL, the Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching, and the School of Middle East and North African Studies.

Symposium on Indigenous Knowledge and Digital Literacies

November 5th, 2013 | Posted by jtparry in culture | resources - (Comments Off on Symposium on Indigenous Knowledge and Digital Literacies)

This coming weekend (November 10–11), CERCLL is sponsoring The Tucson Symposium on Indigenous Knowledge and Digital Literacies. This event is funded by the National Science Foundation’s “Cyberlearning: Transforming Education” program, and involves a partnership with the American Indian Language Development Institute (AILDI) and members of four southwest indigenous communities. The central goal of this symposium is to work with members from small communities as co-researchers investigating the viability of digital games, in this case using ARIS software, as a vehicle for learning both language and culture in a place-based approach. The indigenous communities involved share a common language family: Yuman. These mutually intelligible, but highly endangered, languages are still spoken to varying degrees. Community language educators from the Colorado River Indian Tribes reservation, Ft. Mojave, Hualapai and Maricopa will be attending as will some of the teachers and high school students from Aha Macav Academy, a charter school which serves indigenous students. The presenters at the symposium include organizers, Drs. Jonathon Reinhardt (University of Arizona, specialist in second language learning through digital technologies), and Susan Penfield (former NSF Program Officer for Documenting Endangered Languages) along with Drs. Chris Holden (University of New Mexico, educational gaming), Steven Thorne (Portland State University, location-based language learning ), Sara Tolbert (University of Arizona, indigenous science education) and Ofelia Zepeda (Chair, University of Arizona Linguistics Department and member of the Tohono O’odham community, indigenous to Tucson).

Two concepts have guided the planning for this symposium/workshop: ‘think tank’ and ‘hands-on’. The schedule begins with learning to play a previously constructed game, “Desert Chef Apprentice’ on the UA campus, which requires digitally ‘gathering’ the raw materials for desert-based foods and processing them. After a working lunch discussion, we will visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum to gather environmentally-based examples for use during Day 2, where participants will be building their own games in a computer lab.

As co-researchers, all of the participants, presenters and visitors, will be engaged in raising questions about the viability of such digital games for community-based language / culture education. We will want to question how the game might be re-imagined to include more cultural/ecological knowledge, more game elements, more language, and more fun. The discussions will introduce some concepts on game-mediated language pedagogy and location-based game design.

As a ‘think-tank’, the symposium will build on the knowledge and experiences of all of the participants, and will let things emerge naturally. To the extent possible, activities will be participant-driven as the vision for this is that all attendees are equal partners in this effort. This two-day initial gathering will be followed by a workshop offered at AILDI, 2014, by the symposium participants.  This workshop will be an opportunity to share their experience, new games and new ideas about incorporating place-based content in language-learning situations.

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 http://redhotwords.com. This site allows you to download free software to create your own hypermedia glosses, and it is definitely worth checking out!