Lectures by BLC Fellows (E. Coyne, M. Vendetti, J. Shin, C. Byrnes), May 3, 2013

Spring 2013 BLC Fellows’ Instructional Development Research Projects

Ethnic and National Minorities of the Russian Federation: A Diversity-Based Curriculum for the Intermediate Russian Classroom
Erin Coyne, GSR, Slavic Languages and Literatures
This presentation will focus on the creation of a diversity-based curriculum comprised of a series of 6 lesson plans designed to introduce intermediate students of Russian to the ethnic and cultural diversity of the Russian-speaking world, as well as to some of the problematics of cultural contact in the context of contemporary Russia. The goal of the project is to give students a deeper sense of the varied identities of speakers of Russian and citizens of Russia, which will ultimately provide them with a more nuanced and informed understanding of Russian Federation culture, society, and politics.
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Teaching Non-Hexagonal French Culture in the Language Classroom
Maria Vendetti, GSR, French
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 and comparisons between French and the Francophone “other.” Current approaches and materials often focus only on differences between hexagonal culture and other French-speaking cultures, and often do this in terms of debates on negative issues like immigration and colonization, which leave little room for talking about non-hexagonal cultures as distinct sites of linguistic and cultural learning. These resources, made to be shared and collectively revised by instructors, will encourage students to think about French-speaking countries in terms of positive themes and ideas, adding another dimension to teaching culture in the language classroom.
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Teaching History and Memory in the English Language Development Classroom
Jaran Shin, GSR, Graduate School of Education
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 analyzing empirical data collected at a public high school in Oakland in 2011-2012, I will discuss (a) how students in the ELD class interpreted the historical events described in the course materials vis-a-vis their prior knowledge, experiences, and memories and (b) whether reading historical fiction that reflects the students’ background equips them with an awareness of multiple perspectives. I then discuss some implications of providing students with history-related materials in a language class.
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Introducing Classical Chinese
Corey Byrnes, GSR, East Asian Language & Cultures
This talk will sketch the outlines of a future textbook that will introduce not only the rudiments of what is known as Classical Chinese—its grammar, syntax and vocabulary—through readings of primary language texts, but also the cultural, philosophical, religious and material contexts in which texts were created, read and circulated.
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Friday, May 3, 2013
3:00 – 5:00 pm
B-4 Dwinelle Hall


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