LRC Activities 1993-1999
CARLA first received funding to establish its LRC in 1993. The initial projects of the NLRC, listed below, have provided a strong base for continuing work on these themes:
- Second Language Assessment
- Less Commonly Taught Languages
- Second Language Learning and Technology
- Language Immersion Education
- Language and Culture Studies
- Second Language Learning Strategies
In 1996, CARLA received a second three-year grant to work on the following projects:
- Second Language Assessment
- Teacher Development: Immersion Education and Research
- Teacher Development: Technology and Language Learning
- Less Commonly Taught Languages
- Language in a Cultural Context
CARLA Language Resource Center Final Performance Report 1996-2000.
The Learning Strategies team worked on a number of research and professional development projects for foreign language educators involving Strategies-Based Instruction (SBI). From 1993-1996, the team:
- Conducted research on the impact of SBI on speaking proficiency;
- Created teacher development courses on SBI for secondary and post-secondary teachers;
- Provided individual consultation on strategies-based instruction to students and teachers at the University of Minnesota and other institutions;
- Produced a teacher-training manual and accompanying videotape on SBI for use in foreign language classrooms and workshop settings;
- Created and conducted a one-week summer study institute to train high school and university foreign language teachers on the implementation of SBI in the classroom;
- Disseminated information on SBI through national and international conference presentations, publications in professional journals and books, and the publication of The Network of Styles and Strategies in Language Acquisition (NeSSLA) Report, an international newsletter designed to provide a forum for information on learning styles and strategies.
Visit the Second Language Learning Strategies page to learn more.
The main focus of the LRC Second Language Assessment Team was the development of the Minnesota Language Proficiency Assessments (MLPA). This battery of instruments is designed to measure learners' proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking at the Intermediate-Low level on the ACTFL scale in French, German, and Spanish. The assessments developed to date include the Contextualized Reading Assessment (CoRA), the Contextualized Writing Assessment (CoWA) and the Contextualized Speaking Assessment (CoSA). The team completed development of proficiency-based assessments through a one year extension on the LRC grant (1999-2000), with a focus on the following:
- Completion of a listening test at the ACTFL Intermediate-Low level in French, German, and Spanish;
- Development of proficiency-based assessments in all four modalities at the ACTFL Intermediate-Mid level in French, German, and Spanish;
- Creation of computer-based versions of all the instruments in the MLPA.
Visit the Second Language Assessment page to learn more.
“Describing Effective Immersion Teaching” was a research project that continued previous LRC-funded research designed to investigate the unique challenges faced by immersion teachers. The project was conducted with Spanish immersion teachers, using focus groups and the Critical Incident Technique.
The American Council on Immersion Education (ACIE) began work in 1996 to establish a national network of immersion teachers. To support the development of this national network, the project offers a website for immersion teachers, an annual summer institute for teachers, and the Language Immersion in the Americas (LIM-A) listserv. ACIE also launched the publication of a national newsletter in November 1997.
Visit the Language Immersion page to learn more.
This project developed a unique cooperative training model for preservice and inservice teachers on the use of technology in the second language classroom, which has been institutionalized into the University of Minnesota's preservice program for language teachers and was offered nationally as a professional development opportunity to teachers through the CARLA summer institute program. This program provided the instructional base for the Content-Based Language Teaching with Technology initiative.
Visit the Technology and Second language Learning page to learn more.
The Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTL) Project concluded the first round of project funding in fall 1996 with a well-received national summit meeting of LCTL faculty, teachers, and administrators. During the period 1996-1999, the LCTL team continued to develop responses to the challenges faced by LCTL teachers with the following initiatives:
- The team maintained and expanded its database of LCTL course offerings at North American postsecondary institutions, available on the Web/gopher;
- Eight listservs (e-mail discussion lists) are maintained: one each for teachers of Hindi, Dutch, Nordic, Celtic, and Polish, and one LCTL-general list. Discussions on all LCTL listservs are archived and available on the World Wide Web;
- Virtual Picture Album - the project team increased its digitized media archive containing authentic photographs, pictures and line diagrams useful in LCTL lesson development, and has developed curricular support guides to assist teachers in using the materials;
- Databases on computer-assisted language learning materials were updated for Chinese, Russian, and Japanese. Hebrew was added in 1998. In 1997, this team offered a summer institute on the use of computer technology for Japanese teachers, and a similar one for Hebrew teachers in 1998.
- A summer institute for LCTL teachers, on developing materials, was held in June 1999 and continues to be offered on an annual basis.
Visit the Less Commonly Taught Languages page to learn more.
Following the research priorities set at two major conferences held during CARLA's first LRC cycle, this project investigated the relationship between language and culture learning in secondary foreign language classrooms through:
- Ethnographic research on teachers' attitudes and their intercultural frame of reference;
- Quantitative measurement of students' attitudes toward cultural learning and intercultural competence through the Intercultural Development Inventory.
The project has issued two CARLA working papers and sponsors an annual summer institute on integrating culture into the language curriculum. With the third round of LRC Title VI funding (1999-2002), this project expanded on its previous work by creating manuals and workshop materials targeted at language teachers, study abroad advisors, and students to support culture learning in the study abroad context.
Visit the Culture and Language Learning page to learn more about these initiatives.