Tag: classroom

  • Translingual Approaches in World Language Education: Perspectives from Arabic Learning Contexts

    Translingual Approaches in World Language Education: Perspectives from Arabic Learning Contexts

    A couple of weeks ago, I co-organized a colloquium with Khaled Al Masaeed at the American Association of Applied Linguistics Conference titled “Translingual Approaches in World Language Education: Perspectives from Arabic Learning Contexts”. Although I have attended the AAAL conference most years since 2007, and it is probably my favorite conference, there are usually only 1-3 presentations focused on Arabic. So, to have an entire colloquium focused on Arabic was a dream come true!

  • Variation and Standardization in the Language Classroom: Are We Asking the Wrong Questions?

    Variation and Standardization in the Language Classroom: Are We Asking the Wrong Questions?

    Variation is inherent to languages and language users, yet is it often the subject of consternation in the language classroom, especially at lower levels. Essentially, the questions center around which variety to teach? Can we teach multiple varieties? Will this confuse students? Will they understand how to use them? What if they mix varieties? Per the request of a colleague, this post discusses the issue of variation and standardization in the language classroom. I suggest that rather than worry about the challenges of variation, we should be questioning practices of standardization and the inequities they reproduce.

  • We Can Learn Arabic Website: Spring Update

    We Can Learn Arabic Website: Spring Update

    Last Fall, I mentioned that my colleagues Heather Sweetser, Abdullah Serag, and I had launched We Can Learn Arabic, an open access website for Arabic learners at beginning and intermediate levels. This is the culmination of six years of moving away from a textbook in our lower level classes, as well as many of the research inspirations I’ve discussed on this blog, including multilingual and genre-based approaches and genre-based approaches. We’ve now been using the website in our classrooms for almost 1.5 semesters, so I thought I’d give an update on how it’s worked, improvements we’ve made, and plans for the future.

  • Introducing: the We Can Learn Arabic website!

    Introducing: the We Can Learn Arabic website!

    As I’ve detailed in my curriculum development posts over the last two years, we have slowly been replacing our textbook with our own materials, generally based on texts we find on the internet or create ourselves. Although I’ve frequently been asked when we will make our own textbook, I’ve actually never been interested in making a textbook–my dream has always been to create an open access website that serves as a textbook in the sense that it provides materials and structure, but is also flexible enough to be adapted by teachers in a variety of contexts.

    Today, I’m excited to announce that my dream has come true, in the form of the We Can Learn Arabic website! In this post, I’ll describe what we’ve done so far, as well as some future plans for the site. While we use it in place of a textbook, it could also be used alongside a particular textbook or materials of choice.

  • Reframing Monolingual Ideologies in the Language Classroom

    Reframing Monolingual Ideologies in the Language Classroom

    Wednesday is the one day I teach in person this semester, and this past Wednesday was the first time I’d been to my office on campus since March. I was excited to discover the 2019 volume of the American Association of University Supervisors, Coordinators, and Directors of Foreign Language Programs (AAUSC) in my mailbox! The editors are Beatrice Dupuy and Kristen Michelson, and the collection is called “Pathways to Paradigm Change: Critical Examinations of Prevailing Discourse and Ideologies in Second Language Education”. As you might imagine if you regularly read this blog, this is exactly the shift in second language education I think our field needs! I’m excited to read all of the chapters in this book, and today I’ll be highlighting my own contribution, which I’m excited to see in print.

  • Black Scholars in Study Abroad and Language Teaching

    My blog is normally on break for the summer, but I’m coming off this break temporarily to share some of the brilliant work by Black scholars that is central to my research and teaching. The protests surrounding the murder of George Floyd have led to a stronger interest in understanding systemic racism among White people, and I have been asked for recommendations due to my focus on identity (including race) and language learning. So without further ado, here are some Black scholars whose work is central to my projects on study abroad and language teaching.

  • Plurilingual and Translanguaging Approaches in the Intermediate Arabic Classroom

    Plurilingual and Translanguaging Approaches in the Intermediate Arabic Classroom

    Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Intercultural Communication Conference in Tucson put on by CERCLL. I presented with my colleague Heather Sweetser on our attempts to implement plurilingual and translanguaging approaches in our Intermediate Arabic classroom, and will summarize this presentation in this post.

  • Are monolingual models making us ask the wrong questions? Translanguaging in the language classroom.

    Are monolingual models making us ask the wrong questions? Translanguaging in the language classroom.

    (ACTFL), and then for the Arabic Language Conference at AUC, I’ve been having conversations with language teachers (mostly Arabic ones) about translanguaging in the classroom, and why I think it’s so important that we take this perspective.  Or why, even if you don’t want to take a translanguaging perspective, it’s important to realize that you are taking a perspective (probably a monolingual one), and this upholds certain types of language ideologies.  Mostly, I think we need to ask ourselves different questions about our teaching, a point I’ll return to after revisiting the concept of translanguaging.  

  • Curriculum Development: Event Planning Take 2

    Curriculum Development: Event Planning Take 2

    Last year, I blogged about the creation of our party planning unit in second year Arabic, including some of the challenges. Since we are on the verge of creating the second round of this unit, I thought I would give an update on how it is going this time (short version: much better!). First, we renamed it to Event Planning rather than Party Planning to use a greater variety of texts and also make it seem like a more serious topic, since for university students, parties don’t necessarily require a great deal of planning.

  • Learning from Indigenous Language Revitalization Programs

    Learning from Indigenous Language Revitalization Programs

    This semester, I’m teaching the capstone class for the Languages majors at my university, and we recently finished a unit on Indigenous Language Revitalization.  While this is an important unit for a Languages Capstone Class, it is not my area of specialization, so I was excited to learn more along with my students.  While Indigenous language revitalization programs are not homogenous, and they represent a very different language learning context than my own (teaching Arabic, primarily to students without heritage connections to the language), I was struck by several common features in the programs I learned about that I think are also relevant to world language teaching, but that we too often ignore.  In this post, I’m highlighting these features and what I think we can learn from them as world language teachers.   At the end, I’ve posted the resources about indigenous language revitalization that inspired this post, please check them out for more information about these important programs!