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Teaching Zulu Language and Culture Through Film

Many studies show that film or “video has vast potential for enriching language study and making it more enjoyable and effective” (Wood 1992). My fall 2009 BLC Fellow’s project is a demonstration of how film can complement other materials used in class (especially the textbook) by tapping this resource. It involved cutting and preparing Zulu…

Using Blogs to Teach Spanish 4

1. Introduction Blogs written in Spanish are a particularly rich source of contextualized language in use—they are freely available, universally accessible, widely varied, highly interactive, and generally appealing to students. However, some of the same qualities that make blogs attractive for use in a Spanish class also present challenges, especially with regard to their use…

Online Communication in Beginning Spanish Instruction

Prior research indicates that providing language learners with opportunities to interact with one another through online communication tools can promote positive outcomes such as increased motivation, diversified participation, and improved oral production (Lamy & Hampel, 2007). However, with the exception of Blake’s (2000) suggestion that jigsaw activities are especially effective for promoting negotiation of meaning…

Literacy in First-Year Turkish: A Multi-Voiced Approach

My BLC project was conceived largely as an extension of Jason Vivrette’s fall 2008 project for first-semester Turkish. Through a series of film clips that emphasized the multi-cultural nature of Turkish society, Jason encouraged students to reflect critically on both the concept of Turkishness as well as the experience of learning Turkish in an American…

Reading TV: Graphic Overtitles in Korean TV Shows

My research starts from the recognition of the importance of teaching media literacy in Korean—a form of literacy which is becoming an essential part of language education today, since knowing how to “read” sophisticated layers of multimodal communication in the written mode of technology-mediated communication is becoming more and more a necessary skill for reading…

A Conversation with Claire Kramsch and Sirpa Tuomainen

Featuring Mark Kaiser (MK), Claire Kramsch (CK), and Sirpa Tuomainen (ST) MK: Both of you are back from sojourns in Europe. Can you tell us about what you were engaged in there? CK: I had a semester sabbatical and I spent it in Paris, where I grew up. It gave me the opportunity to go…

Translingual / Transcultural Competence: an operational approach to the MLA report

The 2007 MLA report calls for a reevaluation of our curricula, approaches, and methodologies with the goal of fostering translingual and transcultural competence (TL/TC). Comparing an instrumental view of language learning to a constitutive view, the report outlines specific goals and analytical skills for students. In addition to acquiring functional language abilities, students “are taught…

Filmmaking and Foreign Language Instruction

Filmmaking is a powerful tool for literacy-based language instruction. Elaborating on the New London Group’s findings, Rick Kern shows that a well-rounded literacy-based program should incorporate four basic curricular components: Situated Practice, Overt Instruction, Critical Framing, and Transformed Practice. Situated Practice involves spontaneous communication without metalanguage. Overt Instruction develops metalanguage by introducing linguistic or social…

Crossing the Bridge: Shifting Perspectives on and in First-Year Turkish Through Film

This semester, together with the invaluable input of my colleagues in the Berkeley Language Center, fellow first-year Turkish GSI, Kristin Dickinson, and Mellon Lecturer in Turkish, Ayla Algar, I developed a semester’s worth of activities for Turkish 1A (Elementary Modern Turkish) built around film clips taken from Turkish cinema, with one film clip or sequence…

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