Colloquium on the Multilingual Native Language Teacher, February 28, 2014

The Legitimacy Gap: Multilingual native language teachers in monolingual foreign language departments

Foreign-born language instructors who teach their native language in the U.S. face the difficult task of mediating between two worlds that often seem historically, socially and culturally incompatible. While they are expected to represent the stereotypical native speaker and to make their students engage with ways of talking, thinking and behaving that are different from their own, they are themselves in an ambiguous subject-position. They are eager to familiarize their students with the world they come from but at the same time they often feel a lack of institutional legitimacy. They are eager to share their lived experiences and to be “ambassadors” for their country, but their students sometimes seem to be only interested in their linguistic skills. They themselves often fear having their stories misunderstood or sensationalized, and opt therefore to teach their culture
indirectly through texts and documents which they can analyze from multiple perspectives. Indeed, all feel it is their mission to open their students’ minds to other perspectives on the world, but they don’t always feel entitled to talk with their students about what it means to be an expatriate multilingual in today’s globalized world. At a time when the University of California is looking for ways to prepare its students to enter the multilingual world of a global economy, it is instructive to listen to what these instructors have to say.
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10:00 – 12:00

The Legitimacy Gap: Native language teachers in an era of globalization

Claire Kramsch (German, UCB) & Lihua Zhang (East Asian Languages & Cultures, UCB)

1:45 – 3:20
Introduction of the panel members


The Importance of Bridging

Camilla Zamboni (Italian, UCLA)


In the Dutch Mountains: Pedagogical ironies when teaching Dutch on an American university campus

Inez Hollander (Dutch, UCB)
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Self-censorship in Teaching Languages

Byron Barahona (Spanish, UCSC)


A Biographical Testimony on my Experience Teaching my Native Language and Culture at an American University

Santoukht Mikaelian (Armenian, UCB)

3:40 – 5:00

Teaching Culture in my Chinese Language Class

Shuliang Hsu (Chinese, UCR)


Challenges of Teaching African Languages in the United States

Edwin Okong’o (Swahili, UCB)


Culture and Morals: The issue of self-censorship in a French language course

Florence Miquel (French, UCSD)


The Language of Silent Objects: From antique collection to language teaching

Hanh Tran (Vietnamese, UCB)

5:00 – 5:15
Wrap up by Claire Kramsch & Lihua Zhang

Friday, February 28, 2014
9:30 – 6 pm, 370 Dwinelle Hall