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LRC Activities 2002-2006
The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) at the University of Minnesota received its fourth cycle of funding from the U.S. Department of Education to work on the following projects:
- Content-Based Language Teaching with Technology (CoBaLTT)
- Second Language Assessment Project
- Less Commonly Taught Languages Project
- Second Language Immersion Project
- Strategies in Learning Pragmatics Research Project
- Language Teacher Education Conference
This project supported training of K-16 teachers in content-based language instruction, development of content-based curriculum, creation and testing of content-based teaching strategies, exploration of new and emerging technologies for content-based language teaching and learning, an ambitious training program for K-12 teachers and teacher educators, development of a website containing online instructional modules to be revised and improved, and creation of resources for teachers on the project website.
The Second Language Assessment Project expanded the current test development resources available through CARLA's Virtual Assessment Center to meet a growing need for a wide range of assessment resources for language teachers for use in the classroom. The project 1) created a web-based database of language assessment development models for teachers to use as templates to develop proficiency/performance-based assessments for classroom use, 2) developed sample and practical items that will serve as models and resources for teachers as they develop their own classroom assessments using the templates, 3) provided hands-on, technology-based, test development opportunities for teachers of less commonly taught languages through week-long summer institutes, and 4) provided ongoing professional development for language teachers through an annual summer institute and the Virtual Assessment Center.
The Less Commonly Taught Languages Project assisted LCTL teachers by: 1) developing much needed materials by continuing the highly successful mini-grant program in support of sharable material for less commonly taught languages and creating a book/CD ROM combination on material development, which will be useful to all LCTL teachers, 2) offering professional development through its popular yearly summer institute for LCTL teacher, and 3) increasing communications among LCTL teachers and programs through the databases of where LCTLs are taught, a host of LCTL listservs, a national newsletter, and an extensive website.
The Second Language Immersion Project team 1) expanded the membership of the American Council on Immersion Education, 2) coordinated the publication of the ACIE Newsletter 3 times each year, 3) collaborated with the CoBaLTT Project staff to target an audience of immersion teachers in 2003-04, 4) offered the LIM-A listserv as an ongoing resource for immersion teachers, 5) hosted an international conference on immersion education
This research project designed strategies-based instructional materials for enhancing the learning and effective use of pragmatic knowledge about Japanese and Spanish speech acts, as well as the field-testing of these materials. The project began with the development of a website containing basic information about speech acts and examples for teachers and learners. For the research study a set of materials for students of Japanese to learn speech acts was created. During the fall 2003 an experiment was conducted with learners of Japanese to determine the effects of training non-natives to learn and use pragmatic information more successfully when speaking a foreign language. A website for learning Spanish pragmatics was also completed through this project.
CARLA continued to sponsor the biennial International Conference on Language Teacher Education (as it did in 1999 and 2001) with the support of Title VI Language Resource Center funding. The third conference was held in May 2003 and the fourth was held in May 2005. This conference is critical owing to its unique role in meeting the needs of language teacher educators and others in the field of language teacher education.