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CLAC in Light of the 2007 MLA Foreign Language Report: Challenges and Opportunities in a Globalized Context Carol A. Klee University of Minnesota.

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Presentation on theme: "CLAC in Light of the 2007 MLA Foreign Language Report: Challenges and Opportunities in a Globalized Context Carol A. Klee University of Minnesota."— Presentation transcript:

1 CLAC in Light of the 2007 MLA Foreign Language Report: Challenges and Opportunities in a Globalized Context Carol A. Klee University of Minnesota

2 MLA Foreign Language Report Response to “the current language crisis that has occurred as a result of 9/11,” specifically the nation’s language deficit. Response to “the current language crisis that has occurred as a result of 9/11,” specifically the nation’s language deficit.

3 Continuing need for US multilingualism in 21st century Christian (2003 cited in Tarone 2005) describes 6 major forces that contribute to a continuing need for developing multilingualism in the US: 1. “International knowledge gap” -- to combat intolerance and foster knowledgeable participation in society 2. Increased demand for a workforce with language skills and international expertise

4 Continuing Need for Languages 3. Individuals with knowledge of languages and cultures are needed to address international social/humanitarian challenges 4. US demographics: increased diversity in classrooms, workplaces, communities requires individuals with language and culture knowledge

5 Continuing Need for Languages 5. World political changes have dramatically altered the language landscape. 6. National security, diplomacy, defense and intelligence. “US is a world power and our national security depends on our ability to interact with the world. We have ongoing general needs to maintain competence in a full range of languages and acute needs in times of crisis.” (Christian 2003)

6 Continuing Need for Languages According to Kramsch (1987: 34), the study of a second language and culture enables "students to understand the way language works and how the foreign language conceptualizes and packages foreign reality, how it expresses complex environments and relationships." According to Kramsch (1987: 34), the study of a second language and culture enables "students to understand the way language works and how the foreign language conceptualizes and packages foreign reality, how it expresses complex environments and relationships." It allows students "to look critically at their own language and culture through the mirror of the foreign language and question attitudes and values they took for granted.” (Kramsch 1987: 34) It allows students "to look critically at their own language and culture through the mirror of the foreign language and question attitudes and values they took for granted.” (Kramsch 1987: 34)

7 The Goal of the Language Major according to the MLA Report “Educated speakers who have deep translingual and transcultural competence” “Educated speakers who have deep translingual and transcultural competence”

8 How to reach this goal? The MLA Report recommends: The MLA Report recommends: Teaching differences in meaning, mentality and worldviewTeaching differences in meaning, mentality and worldview Guiding students to acquire “a basic knowledge of history, geography, culture, and literature […]”;Guiding students to acquire “a basic knowledge of history, geography, culture, and literature […]”; Guiding students to acquire “the ability to understand and interpret its radio, television and print media; and the capacity to do research in the language using parameters specific to the target culture.”Guiding students to acquire “the ability to understand and interpret its radio, television and print media; and the capacity to do research in the language using parameters specific to the target culture.”

9 Goal: Attract and Retain Students from a Variety of Fields Help students continue to develop their language skills and enrich their cultural knowledge Help students continue to develop their language skills and enrich their cultural knowledge Teach advanced courses in the second language in more subject areasTeach advanced courses in the second language in more subject areas Teach interdisciplinary team-taught courses in English with discussion sections in the target languageTeach interdisciplinary team-taught courses in English with discussion sections in the target language

10 CLAC’s transformative potential “In many cases the entire ethos of the institution changes as faculty members and students alike see the advantages of using foreign languages to acquire multicultural perspectives within a variety of disciplines.” (Spinelli 1995) “In many cases the entire ethos of the institution changes as faculty members and students alike see the advantages of using foreign languages to acquire multicultural perspectives within a variety of disciplines.” (Spinelli 1995)

11 What are the challenges in realizing this vision? How best to help students continue to develop their language skills while they learn content? How best to help students continue to develop their language skills while they learn content? Careful selection, organization and presentation of course materials and design of appropriate tasks to correspond to the level of the learner.Careful selection, organization and presentation of course materials and design of appropriate tasks to correspond to the level of the learner. BUT, according to Lyster (2007:61), “learners are able to bypass syntax in comprehension of a second language because they can draw instead on ‘vastly greater stores of schematic and contextual knowledge’ (Skehan 1998: 26).”BUT, according to Lyster (2007:61), “learners are able to bypass syntax in comprehension of a second language because they can draw instead on ‘vastly greater stores of schematic and contextual knowledge’ (Skehan 1998: 26).”

12 How best to help students continue to develop their language skills while they learn content? Byrnes (2000: 171): “refined reflection on language as a medium for content, knowledge, and meaning within and through a discourse context that is both linguistic and extralinguistic.” Byrnes (2000: 171): “refined reflection on language as a medium for content, knowledge, and meaning within and through a discourse context that is both linguistic and extralinguistic.” Pfeiffer (2008: 297): A substantial faculty development effort is needed for faculty to “identify advanced language goals and learn to make explicit the language learning goals of their courses.” Pfeiffer (2008: 297): A substantial faculty development effort is needed for faculty to “identify advanced language goals and learn to make explicit the language learning goals of their courses.”

13 What are the challenges in realizing this vision? The need for applied linguists in departments of language and literature The need for applied linguists in departments of language and literature

14 What are the challenges in realizing this vision? Where should multidisciplinary expertise be housed–in language departments or in outside disciplines? Where should multidisciplinary expertise be housed–in language departments or in outside disciplines? A model for collaborative, interdisciplinary and integrated curricula is found in area and international studies programs (Bousquet 2008)A model for collaborative, interdisciplinary and integrated curricula is found in area and international studies programs (Bousquet 2008)

15 What are the lessons we have learned from CLAC? There must be embeddedness in a larger curricular or programmatic context There must be embeddedness in a larger curricular or programmatic context This providesThis provides On-going program administration On-going program administration Stable staffing and course rotations Stable staffing and course rotations Institutionalization of incentives and recognition for participation for both faculty and students Institutionalization of incentives and recognition for participation for both faculty and students Access to on-going financial support Access to on-going financial support Some degree of protection in times of institutional budget-cutting Some degree of protection in times of institutional budget-cutting (Klee and Barnes 2006)

16 What are the lessons we have learned from CLAC? There must be There must be on-going financial supporton-going financial support a careful match between student language proficiency and program requirementsa careful match between student language proficiency and program requirements (Klee and Barnes 2006)

17 Future Directions for CLAC New technologies New technologies Companion for Reading Authentic Foreign Texts (CRAFT) – Yale Center for Language StudyCompanion for Reading Authentic Foreign Texts (CRAFT) – Yale Center for Language Study Distance learning courses, especially for less commonly taught languagesDistance learning courses, especially for less commonly taught languages

18 References Bousquet, Gilles A model for interdisciplinary collaboration. The Modern Language Journal Byrnes, Heidi Languages across the curriculum—Intradepartmental curriculum construction. Languages across the curricululm: Interdisciplinary structures and internationalized education, ed. by Maria- Regina Kecht and Katerina Von Hammerstein, Columbus, OH: National East Asian Languages Resource Center. Christian, Donna Title VI ‑ Getting Back to Our Language Roots. Presentation at the Title VI Language Resource Center/National Resource Center Meeting, Washington D.C., September 21, Gano, Bradley, and Nina Garrett Technology and the teaching of “foreign languages across the curriculum.” Content, tasks and projects in the language classroom: 2004 conference proceedings, ed. by Renée M. Jourdenais and Sarah E. Springer, Monterey, CA: Monterey Institute of International Studies. Genesee, Fred Learning through two languages: studies in immersion and bilingual children. Cambridge, MA: Newbury House. James, Dorothy Into the institutional mainstream: The professionalization of LAC. Languages across the curriculum: Interdisciplinary structures and internationalized education, ed by Maria- Regina Kecht and Katharina Von Hammerstein, Columbus, OH: National East Asian Languages Resource Center. Klee, Carol A. and Gwendolyn Barnes-Karol A content-based approach to Spanish language study: Foreign languages across the curriculum. Spanish Second Language Acquisition: State of the Art of Application, ed. by Barbara Lafford and Rafael Salaberry, Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.

19 Kramsch, Claire J The missing link in vision and governance: Foreign language acquisition research. ADFL Bulletin Lyster, Roy Speaking immersion. The Canadian Modern Language Review Lyster, Roy Learning and teaching languages through content: a counterbalanced approach. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Bejamins Met, Miriam Learning language through content: Learning content through language. Foreign Language Annals Modern Language Association Foreign Languages and higher education: new structures for a changed world. Pfeiffer, Peter C The discipline of foreign language studies and reforming foreign language education. The Modern Language Journal Skehan, Peter A cognitive approach to language learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Spinelli, Emily Languages across the curriculum: a postsecondary initiative. An ACTFL White Paper. ACTFL Newsletter (Fall), no page. Sudermann, David P. and Mary A. Cisar Foreign language across the curriculum: A critical appraisal. The Modern Language Journal Swain, Merrill Communicative competence: Some roles of comprehensible input and comprehensible output in its development. Input in second language acquisition, eds. Susan M. Gass and Carolyn. G. Madden, Rowley, MA: Newbury House. Tarone, Elaine The Role of Language in Area Studies Programs. Lecture delivered at Michigan State University, April University of Rhode Island International Engineering Program: Spanish IEP..


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