BLC Fellows Reports Archive

Results in BLC Posts

Digital Textbooks: Emerging Trends and Practices

Will digital textbooks replace print textbooks as the standard material for teaching and learning languages? Will instructional design reach the point where computer-based learning systems do away with the need for instructors? Will continued advances in machine translation serve as further de-motivation for learning a language at all? To provide perspective on these questions, this…

Developing an Online Placement Test for the Japanese Program at UC Berkeley

Currently, Japanese lecturers create and give 60-minute walk-in placement exams for new students one week before each semester starts. The lecturers grade each test manually, so the results may vary depending on how and by whom the tests are graded and various subjective factors. Therefore, the Japanese Program needs a more efficient and objective method…

Uniting the BCS Classroom with Folkloric Language

Following the political division of Yugoslavia and the corresponding linguistic breakup of Serbo-Croatian into “BCS” (Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian), all three linguistic variants are taught together in one course. At times, this situation can lead to frustration for both students and instructors, due not only to the amount of attention devoted to explaining the differences among…

Interweaving Italian Language and Culture through Historically Distant Memories

This presentation provides an Italian example of the challenges faced by L2 instructors attempting to integrate distant historical memories into their curriculum. Meeting this challenge requires the development of activities that contextualize these narratives while bridging the past and the present by engaging with learners’ own values and experiences. Building on this understanding, students can…

UC Berkeley Online Chinese Placement Test: Improvements, Implementations, and Impediments

The original version of the Chinese placement test at Berkeley was developed ten years ago. With the rapid advancement of web technology as well as instructional changes in the Chinese curriculum, our placement test needed an update. This presentation will describe the process we went through in redesigning the test, including the incorporation of demographic…

Teaching History and Memory in the English Language Development Classroom

Traditionally, learning grammatical patterns, expanding vocabulary, and practicing conversational phrases have been emphasized in second/foreign language classrooms. With this narrow but prevalent way of conceptualizing the goals of language instruction, few teachers fully envisage themselves teaching culture. The current project focuses on a particular way of viewing culture in terms of history and memory. By…

Teaching Non-Hexagonal French Culture in the Language Classroom

For my project, I have created and trialed cultural materials for use in second-year French classes that look at non-hexagonal (or Francophone) cultures on their own terms. By putting together cultural units that focus on specific geographical places and topics, I expand the idea of engaging with French culture beyond traditional ideas of Paris-centric themes…

Learning Italian Through Television Advertising

Television advertising provides versatile authentic materials for learning Italian language and culture, as it constitutes a privileged point of entrance for analyses of Italian society through its rich network of cultural references – feature films, TV shows, songs, newspapers, magazines, as well as other advertisements. Further, the cross-cultural dimension of TV advertising prompts critical examination…

Using Film to Teach Cultural Analysis Skills in L2: A Pragmatic Guide

This presentation describes a semester-length sequence of lessons structured around closely-watched film clips for fourth-semester Spanish. Based on the implementation of these lessons this semester, and of an analogous application in Italian 4, straightforward guidelines will be presented for the design of sequences of lessons that guide students from a passive to a critical and…

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