Spring 2008 BLC Fellows Instructional Development Research Projects
Learning to Learn: Neurobiology and Cognitive Science as a Basis of Autonomous Learning. Principles and Applications
Amelia Barili, Lecturer, Spanish and Portuguese
Universities throughout the world are discussing (and beginning to implement) a shift from teaching-centered approaches to learning-centered ones that foster great commitment on the part of students and develop capacities of autonomous learning and lifelong learning. These “new pedagogies” are supported by recent findings of neurobiology and of cognitive science which, by showing new perspectives on how the brain works, are leading us to re-think thinking and learning. The findings emphasize, for example, the continuous dialogue between the brain and the heart, the importance of inner motivation and of paying attention to intention for deep sustained learning. I will present relationships between these research findings and the principles of autonomous learning, as well as possible applications to intercultural studies and to the learning of a second language.
Reconciling with the Unavoidable: Assessing the Impact of Advertising on the Russian Language
Julia McAnallen, GSR, Slavic Languages and Literatures
Advertising has become unavoidable in present-day Russia, and the impact of this relatively new medium of communication on the language is yet to be determined. Native and non-native Russian speakers alike must interpret often complex advertisements using language loaded with puns, blends, rhyming, cultural allusions, innovated words, unconventional syntactic constructions, etc. In an attempt to begin assessing the impact of advertising language on Russian, I have developed an online survey of twelve Russian language advertisements with accompanying questions and administered this survey to different groups of Russian speakers, including native speakers of varying ages in and outside of Russia, heritage speakers, and non-native speakers from early to advanced levels. These survey responses are being used both to make a preliminary assessment of the effect of advertising on the Russian language, and also to inform the teaching of Russian language and culture to keep instruction current with the linguistic environment of modern Russia.
Innovating Tradition: Folklore, Literature, and Translingual and Transcultural Competence
Jennifer Gipson, GSR, French
How could something so dusty sounding as “folklore” keep pace with the ever-changing world spotlighted in the 2007 MLA report? In the academic sense, folklore is not dated but dynamic. It includes things like stereotypes, pervasive metaphors, and the national imagination—all cited in the MLA report. Through examples from a special section of French 4 developed for summer 2008, my presentation examines folklore in light of the goals of translingual and transcultural competence. This course uses folklore and its adaptations in literature, music, advertising to help students see links between various forms of cultural expression. The class’s blog-based “folklore archives” allow students to collect and post online materials like jokes or urban legends and relate them to current events, course readings, or their own traditions.
Friday, May 9, 2008
3-5 pm, 370 Dwinelle Hall