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.


Powerpoint: Language_and_Culture


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


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

Upcoming Workshops on Engaging Chinese Students

May 29th, 2014 | Posted by Merica McNeil in Chinese | professional development | summer workshops | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Upcoming Workshops on Engaging Chinese Students)

Places are currently still available for CERCLL’s summer workshops on engaging Chinese students, which will be held next Friday, June 6, 2014, in Tucson at the University of Arizona. The workshops are free to attend, but registration is required. There are a limited number of spaces, so register as soon as possible to secure your place.

An overview of the sessions and a link to registration is below:

Session 1: Engaging Chinese Language Students through Instructional Strategies, Activities and Relationships (9 am to noon)

Session 2: Engaging Chinese Language Students using Technology and Multimedia (1 pm – 4 pm)

The presenter for both of these workshops is Eric Chipman (University of Utah Confucius Institute).

This event is co-sponsored by the Confucius Institute at the University of Arizona.

For more details and to register for these or other workshops offered by CERCLL next week, go to the following website and click on “Register Now”:

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:

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.

SWCOLT Conference Deadline Approaching

November 14th, 2013 | Posted by jtparry in professional development - (Comments Off on SWCOLT Conference Deadline Approaching)

The deadline for submitting a proposal to this conference is fast approaching (11/15)! See details below:

Southwest Conference on Language Teaching
2014 Conference at Snowbird Resort, Utah – April 24–26
Deadline to Submit a Proposal Approaching – November 15, 2013

Reaching New Heights Through Proficiency

SWCOLT/UFLA Accepting Session Proposals for 2014 Conference
Visit our site for the proposal form and more information about the conference:!conference/c1o4a

SWCOLT is currently accepting Session Proposals for our 2014 regional conference. The Utah Foreign Language Association is hosting the conference with us at the beautiful Cliff Lodge in the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City.

The theme of the conference is “Reaching New Heights Through Proficiency”. We encourage proposals that reflect the principal strands of the program:

  •  Teaching to Proficiency
  •  Teaching in the Target Language
  •  Dual Immersion Teaching Strategies
  •  Content-based Teaching
  •  Comprehensible Input Strategies
  •  Connecting to the Common Core
  •  Embedding Culture in the Curriculum
  •  Engaging Students in the WL Classroom
  •  Technology in the WL Classroom

You may submit proposals for a 60-minute session, and/or a 10-minute One Idea presentation.

The deadline for submitting a proposal for SWCOLT 2014 in Snowbird, Utah is November 15, 2013.

Half-day and full day workshops will be Thursday, April 24, 2014.
60-minute sessions and 10-minute One Idea Presentations will be on Friday, April 25 and Saturday, April 26, 2014.

Excellence in Classroom Teaching Awards

Visit our site to nominate a teacher to receive an award at the SWCOLT 2014 conference in Utah:!awards/c8k2

The Excellence in Classroom Teaching Award recognizes outstanding teachers of Languages Other Than English.  One individual may be recognized at each of the following levels:  elementary, secondary, and post-secondary. Any teacher residing in the nine state SWCOLT area can nominate or apply.

The Friend of the Profession Award recognizes an individual or organization not directly involved in the teaching of second languages that has made a significant contribution to the profession. Any teacher residing in the SWCOLT region may nominate/apply.

Honorary Lifetime Memberships are awarded to members who have made significant contributions to SWCOLT and to the language teaching profession.  Any teacher residing in the SWCOLT region may nominate/apply.

SWCOLT Teacher Scholarships Available 2014
Visit our site to apply for a scholarship:!awards/c8k2

The Centro MundoLengua Scholarship offers a wonderful opportunity for a high school Spanish AP Teacher to participate in Centro MundoLengua’s AP Summer Institute for Teachers in Sevilla, Spain, from June 22 to July 5, 2014. The scholarship includes tuition, room and board with a Spanish family (an individual room), course materials, completion certificate, cultural activities in Sevilla, and a welcome breakfast and farewell dinner.

The Universidad Internacional-The Center for Linguistic Multicultural Studies Scholarship offers a two-week opportunity to study language and culture in Cuernavaca, Mexico anytime in 2014. The scholarship includes registration and two weeks of course work. Transportation and lodging expenses are not included.

The Cemanáhauc Educational Community Scholarship offers Spanish language classes and intensive study of the arts and history of Mexico in an atmosphere of total immersion in the language and culture in colonial Cuernavaca, México. It is designed for a K-16 Spanish teacher who has had few previous opportunities to travel to Latin America, and who needs an opportunity to increase his/her oral fluency.

SWCOLT Board of Directors
Bonnie Flint (UT), President
Joyce Pitt (OK), Past-President
Judy Cale (CO), Program Chair, President-Elect
Natalie Figueroa (NM), Vice-President
Jocelyn Raught (AZ), ACTFL Representative
Paula Hirsch (CA), Evaluations
T. J. Troche (NV), Awards and Scholarships
Lynette Fujimori (HI) Teacher of the Year Program
Arron Wheeler (UT) Local Arrangements Chair
Mike Wood (UT), Newsletter Editor
Jody Klopp, Executive Director

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

Announcing the 12th Annual SLAT Roundtable

February 25th, 2013 | Posted by jtparry in professional development | SLAT - (Comments Off on Announcing the 12th Annual SLAT Roundtable)

On March 1—2, The 12th Annual Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT) Roundtable will be held at the University of Arizona. This event will feature Dr. Julie A. Belz from Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) as the keynote speaker, who will deliver a presentation entitled “Re-conceptualizing Intercultural Communicative Competence in Foreign Language Education“. As the plenary speaker, Dr. Norma Mendoza-Denton of The University of Arizona will present “Voice Onset Timing, Social Networks, and Perceptual Dialectology in Tucson, Arizona“. This event will be a great opportunity to hear about a variety of topics related to language learning and teaching, from both faculty and graduate students. Click here to view a flyer about the event.

The Modern Languages Building of The University of Arizona, in the South Wing of the 3rd floor

Friday, March 1, 2013, from 5–6:45 PM
• Keynote Speaker (in Room 311)
• hors d’oeuvres

Saturday, March 2, 2013, from 8:30 AM–5:00 PM
• Plenary Speaker (in Room 304 from 1–1:50 PM)
• Presentations, Panels, and Workshops

If you plan on attending, please register here.

For questions or comments about the SLAT Roundtable, feel free to contact Mohammed Tamimi, the Second Language Acquisition and Teaching Student Association (SLATSA) president, or Linda Lemus, the SLATSA vice president. Click here to view their e-mail addresses in the attached flyer. You can also visit the SLAT Roundtable website here.

This roundtable is sponsored by The Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language, and Literacy (CERCLL), The Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT) Program, and The Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC) of the University of Arizona.

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!

Plurilingual Teaching Across the Curriculum

April 17th, 2012 | Posted by C Botelho in critique | professional development | resources | SLAT - (Comments Off on Plurilingual Teaching Across the Curriculum)

For those teaching in a non-language discipline, is it possible to incorporate second language acquisition/pedagogy into the cirriculum?  According to Dr. Julian Hermida, the answer is “yes.”  Dr. Hermida argues that just as writing across the disciplines needed to be addressed in undergraduate courses, so too does the teaching and learning of a second language.

Some of the proposed means to accomplish this endeavor  include:

  • Choose a second language (L2) and connect it to your course.

This selection should be based on students’ preferences as well as the instructor’s. It may also be important to consider what resources are available in your community.

  • Start small and introduce changes gradually.

Dr. Hermida suggests starting slow. The class won’t become an immersion class from day one, but he suggests that simply fostering an awareness of the importance of learning a second (or multiple) language can be the first “round.”  Then, work on more concrete plans and activities that will incorporate specific language learning tasks or experiences.  Additionally, it will be important to consider what level you are teaching; with more second language learning taking place as the student progresses to higher course levels.

  • Educate yourself about theories of second language acquisition.

This is not the same as being familiar with learning theories and effective teaching methods. It will require learning about second language acquisition and methods for teaching second languages.

  • Take them out to the field.
  • Hook them up with other L2 learners and native speakers.

Where things become more problematic or lack more explicit details are suggestions such as:

  • Provide input in L2 and Encourage your students to use L2 in class.
  • Help students experiment with L2.

Without the training and understanding in second language acquisition theory and pedagogy, these tasks may prove overwhelming, if not untenable for an instructor, especially if he/she does not speak the second language.  Something not addressed in this article was the idea of partnering with various departments/having instructors collaborate across disciplines.  While some of the suggestions are somewhat “easier said than done,” with proper research and planning, Dr. Hermida’s primary goal of incorporating multilingual practices across disciplines in an effort to promote future student success in a globalized economy is commendable

Post 966 on the Tomorrow’s Professor℠ Mailing List. Original author: Dr. Julian Hermida, Department of Law and Politics, Algoma University, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada