LTS

Language Teaching Specialization Blog Site at the University of Oregon

June 29, 2016
by LTSblog
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Faculty Spotlight Jeff Magoto

What is your position at the University of Oregon?

I’m the director of the Yamada Language Center, which is one of the best jobs on campus. I get to work with faculty and students working in one or more of the 20+ languages offered at UO, whether that’s the four students taking Persian or the thousands who are taking Spanish, or the one instructor in Swahili or the many dozens in Romance Languages. Our staff of 15 tries to support their efforts by offering flexible classroom and self-study spaces, resources for language practice and development, and training in both pedagogy and technology use. Lastly, I get to join the heads of other language units in advising our College of Arts and Sciences deans on language, linguistics, and general humanities matters.

How are you associated with LTS?

I’m an ardent supporter of LTS, and even though I don’t teach in the program very regularly, I’ve been able to work with numerous LTS students over the years. I usually serve as a reader for at least one student’s Master’s Project a year, and I’m the supervisor for the Fulbright Language Teaching Assistants (FLTAs) who take courses in LTS and teach in YLC’s Selfstudy Language Program, LT 199. I also regularly work with LTS faculty members Deborah Healey and Robert Elliott on course development and CALL projects for departments such as NILI or AEI .

What other projects are you involved in?

Well, I’m currently one of the conveners of the UO Language Council. UOLC is a collaborative effort of faculty, administrators, students and staff to support and inspire language study on campus and beyond through professional development, innovation, and outreach. It’s a wonderful chance to work with folks across the spectrum of CAS, International Affairs, Professional Schools, and Admissions, each of whom has an impact on who ends up in our language. classes. I also have a nearly 10 year-old speech-based software project, ANVILL, that grew out of my work as Norman Kerr’s advisor on his LTS Terminal Project in 2007. It continues to grow and improve because there have always been brave LTS alumni willing to try it out, take it out into the field, and guide us in its development. Thanks to them, it’s now used in about 10 countries in addition to the US. They still send us suggestions for improvement!

What do you enjoy most about working with language educators? (video response)

June 22, 2016
by Annelise Marshall
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MA Project Spotlight: Annelise

Annelise Marshall is a soon-to-be graduate of the LTS program, who will begin teaching in Mexico this fall.
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What is the title of your MA project?
Engaging International Students in the U.S. University Experience

Why did you choose this topic?
My experiences as an undergraduate gave me a passion for Student Life, and when I started getting to know some English learners at the U of O I started thinking about how beneficial involvement with the university environment can be. I wanted to see how I could help students increase their engagement to provide a more positive experience while at the U of O while also benefiting their language learning.

How will this project influence your future teaching?
I do hope to someday work with university level learners in the U.S., and I’ll certainly draw on this project then to provide a better learning experience, but I also hope to use elements of my project while teaching abroad, as I will be in the fall. I’ve been able to learn a lot about the use of authentic materials and pragmatics instruction that I think will be helpful in any teaching context.

What do you like best about your project?
I’ve been able to talk to a lot of students, teachers, and administrators who have reacted really positively to my topic. It’s really motivating to hear from others that they feel the need my project addresses.

June 10, 2016
by LTSblog
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Faculty post Anna Mikhaylova – Heritage language learners

Heritage language learners in language classrooms – Anna Mikhaylova

A widely cited broad definition of heritage speakers in the US by Valdés (2001) includes individuals raised in homes where a language other than English is spoken, who are to some degree bilingual in English and the heritage language and, who also have a personal interest or involvement in an ancestral language. Polinsky and Kagan (2007) offer a narrow definition of heritage language as the language which was sequentially first, but may not have been completely acquired due to the speaker’s shift to another language as their dominant means of communication. The latter distinction suggests that, like foreign language learners, heritage speakers may differ in their proficiency levels. Kagan and Dillon (2004) outline the following “matrix” for programs targeting heritage language learners: proper placement; time on task; programmatic rigor; specific instructional materials; an uninterrupted, comprehensive curriculum; instructors trained in heritage language acquisition; a multi-year sequence; consideration of the home/community native speaker environment; and a metalinguistic framework that raises awareness of the importance of grammatical accuracy and register (p.100).

The National Heritage Language Resource Center at UCLA has many useful resources for both teachers and linguists interested in working with heritage language learners. One of the center’s big projects, led by Maria Carreira and Olga Kagan was a national survey of 1732 heritage speakers of 22 different heritage languages across the United States. As a result, the following general profile of an adult heritage language (HL) learner studying the heritage language at the university level was published in 2011. Such a learner (1) acquired English in early childhood, after acquiring the HL; (2) has limited exposure to the HL outside the home; (3) has relatively strong aural and oral skills but limited literacy skills; (4) has positive HL attitudes and experiences; and (5) studies the HL mainly to connect with communities of speakers in the United States and to gain insights into his or her roots.

While some universities do have classes devoted specifically to heritage language learners or even whole programs, like the Spanish Heritage Language Program here at the University of Oregon, more often heritage language learners find themselves in the same classroom with foreign language learners of the same language. Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 8.33.04 AM

One of the differences (an assumed advantage) observed for heritage language speakers of various languages over foreign language learners is that the former are exposed to the target language naturalistically from birth in family/community contexts while the latter usually post-puberty and in instructed contexts. From this often assumed definitional difference stem other common observations about heritage speakers being usually stronger in oral skills than in literacy-based reading and writing, having a stronger cultural connection, a larger vocabulary and greater focus on meaning than on form in language use, while second language speakers are believed to have stronger reading and writing skills and metalinguistic knowledge and greater attention to form with noticeably weaker oral fluency. While, unfortunately to date there are not too many empirical studies that test effectiveness of instruction, but those that do find that instruction is useful for both types of learners.

Based on these observations, a number of scholars (Beaudrie, Ducar, and Potowski (2014) among others) have called for different or at least differentiated instructional and research methodology approaches targeting the two types of learners. For example, Kagan and Dillon (2009) suggest that macro-based (top-down) and discourse based teaching is more suitable for HL learners in instruction of grammar and vocabulary than the bottom-up grammar/vocabulary to function teaching often used in L2 contexts. Carreira & Kagan (2011) argue for a community-based curriculum, which incorporates materials and types of activities that help learners connect to their experiences in the U.S.

References:
Beaudrie, S., Ducar, C. & Potowski, K. 2014. Heritage Language Teaching: Research and Practice. Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill Education.
Carreira, Maria. 2011. Formative assessment in HL teaching: Purposes, procedures, and practices. The Heritage Language Journal, 8(1).
Carreira, M. & Kagan, O. (2011) The Results of the National Heritage Language Survey: Implications for teaching, curriculum design, and professional development. Foreign Language Annals, Volume 44, No 1. pp. 40-64.
Kagan, 0., & Dillon, K. (2004). Heritage speakers’ potential for high-level language proficiency. In H. Byrnes & H. Maxim (Eds.), Advanced foreign language learning: A challenge to college programs (pp. 99-112). Boston: Heinle/Thomson.
Kagan, O., & Dillon, K. (2009). The professional development of teachers of heritage language learners: A matrix. Bridging contexts, making connections, 155-175.
Polinsky, Maria, and Olga Kagan. 2007. Heritage Languages: In the ‘Wild’ and in the Classroom. Language and Linguistics Compass 1/5: 368–395
Valdes, G. (2001). Heritage language students: Profiles and possibilities. In Peyton, J.K., Ranard, D.A., and McGinnis, S. (eds.), Heritage languages in America: Preserving a national resource. McHenry, IL The Center for Applied Linguistics and Delta Systems. pp. 37-78

June 1, 2016
by Annelise Marshall
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LTS: Eye of the Tiger

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The group after a good run at Amazon Park in South Eugene

LTS students have a lot on their plates—from working on MA projects to internships and GTFs. For a little stress relief, some LTSers have started a weekly running club, which has come to be known as the LTS Eye of the Tiger. Since January, Eye of the Tiger has met at least once a week.

While everyone goes at their own pace, Eye of the Tiger is a supportive space where everyone is encouraged to meet their own goals. LTS student Juli– arguably the founder of Eye of the Tiger– even crafts individual workouts for attendants!

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Some of the 5k runners after the race

Earlier this term, some Eye of the Tiger runners participated in races during the Eugene Marathon. 7 students ran the 5k, while 2 ran the half marathon. All together the LTS students ran a total of 47.9 miles!

Next term, many students plan to run the Butte to Butte, a local 10k which occurs every 4th of July.

 

Eye of the Tiger has also resulted in some special LTS merchandise. 13327488_1083406275052096_1801707673359109232_n13307497_839247680415_298908721876199184_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Juli opening her cowbell at the Prefontaine Classic

Finally, Eye of the Tiger members pitched in to buy a custom cow bell for Juli, for her future workout leading, and to thank her for work on the club. While Juli is a serious runner who has multiple races wins, she is always supportive of others, no matter where they are in their running (or walking) journey.

 

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