Center forLanguage Acquisition

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Language Teaching Forum

Language Teaching Forum

2024 Language Teaching Forum: Building a Multimodal Language Curriculum to Enhance Student Agency and Motivation


Natalie Amgott, PhD [she/her]
Associate Director of Online Language Learning

Department of Modern Languages

Carnegie Mellon University

Date and Time: September 14, 2024, 10:00 a.m.1:00 p.m.



In this interactive workshop, participants will explore how to design engaging language learning curriculum through digital multimodal projects as summative assessments. We will discuss the benefits of moving beyond traditional written assessments to promote more thorough language learning with tasks like vlogs, blogs, and digital poetry. 

The workshop will equip participants with a backwards design approach, starting with the desired learning outcomes and media to then craft multimodal project rubrics. We will explore practical strategies for fostering student agency and motivation, as well as critical digital literacy, through these projects. We will also discuss how AI tools can be leveraged in both the creation of the rubrics for these projects and to scaffold the multimodal design process. 


Participants will learn how to convert in-person activities to engaging online or flipped classroom formats, and vice versa. By the end of the workshop, participants will be able to build a project-based, multimodal unit for a language course that fosters student agency, motivation, and growth mindset. 


Dr. Natalie Amgott is Associate Director of Online Language Learning at Carnegie Mellon University, where she also teaches French and Applied Linguistics courses. Her research focuses on language learning through designing multimodal projects, including blogs, video blogs (vlogs), and multimedia poetry. Natalie’s teaching philosophy adheres to multiliteracies, or incorporating multiple channels of communication to explore, discuss, and design multimedia projects. She is recipient of the ACTFL Early Career Research Award and has published in Foreign Language Annals, System, TESOL Quarterly, and L2 Journal. She has also published an online Spanish course for beginners and an intermediate online French course.



2023 Language Teaching Forum: Promoting Justice-oriented Teaching in the Language Classroom

Co-sponsored by The Center for Advanced Language Proficiency Education and Research (CALPER)

and The Center for Global Studies at Penn State


Cassandra Glynn, Concordia College

Pamela Wesely, University of Iowa

Date and Time: September 16, 2023, 10:00am-1:00pm



In this 3-hour workshop, participants will have the opportunity to examine their current practices of teaching for social justice in the language classroom and to gain new perspectives and ideas about how to transform their work with language learners. The workshop will begin with some foundational concepts of social justice education that are necessary for developing language learning spaces committed to equity, access, and criticality. We will build on these concepts by discussing the role of critical moments in the classroom and by navigating examples together, considering how we can maintain compassion for students in the face of controversial or difficult topics and situations that arise in educational settings. Finally, we will examine entry points in the participants’ curriculum for integrating critical and social justice topics, and participants will be able to collaborate and share ideas. 


Dr. Pamela M. (Pam) Wesely is a Professor of Multilingual Education and the Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs in the College of Education at the University of Iowa. Her scholarship and teaching explore K-12 foreign/world language education in the United States. Building on eight years of work as a middle school French teacher and eleven years working in the experiential learning environment of Concordia Language Villages in Minnesota, she studies the attitudes, motivations, perceptions, and beliefs of stakeholders in K-12 foreign/world language education. Innovation is a key area of interest in her work, particularly pedagogical innovation that departs from the grammar-based curriculum, like content-based instruction, instruction focused on comprehensible input, social justice education, and technology integration in the language classroom. Her work has been published in journals including Foreign Language Annals, Modern Language Journal, Journal of Teacher Education, Teaching and Teacher Education, CALICO Journal, Language Teaching Research, and Journal of Mixed Methods Research. She is a co-author of Words and Actions: Teaching Language Through the Lens of Social Justice (ACTFL, 2018). Dr. Wesely is a past member of the ACTFL Board of Directors and is a Past President of the Iowa World Language Association (IWLA).

Dr. Glynn is Director of Graduate Education Programs and an Associate Professor of Education at Concordia College, Moorhead, MN.  She received her MA and PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Minnesota with a focus in Second Languages and Cultures Education.  Dr. Glynn’s research interests center around the experiences of marginalized and underrepresented students in world language classes and on world language teachers’ experiences as they take critical approaches to teaching languages and cultures.  Her work has been published in journals such as the L2 Journal, Modern Language Journal, Language Teaching Research, and the Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy.  She is co-author of Words and Actions:  Teaching Languages through the Lens of Social Justice (ACTFL, 2014, 2018) and co-editor of the volume Transforming World Language Teaching and Teacher Education for Equity and Justice:  Pushing Boundaries in U.S. Contexts.  Prior to starting at Concordia College, Dr. Glynn taught middle school language classes and high school German, including dual credit, and worked in the German and French Villages at Concordia Language Villages.


2022 Language Teaching Forum: How to Support Written and Spoken Language in the World Language Classroom

Presenter: Francis Troyan, The Ohio State University

Date: September 17, 2022


Assessment frameworks such as the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines, the World-Readiness Standards for Language Learning, and the Can-Do Statements have helped teachers use the target language for instruction and assessment in a variety of ways. However, even though these frameworks provide a useful starting point for approaching language learning in the classroom, they do not describe the linguistic and organizational features of communication. This workshop addresses this need by introducing participants to a new approach to language teaching that views spoken and written texts—all instances of communication—as genres that can be made visible and systematically taught to students. Participants will learn how to integrate genre into a backward design approach for the assessment and instruction of world languages that are centered on helping learners develop their written and spoken communication skills.


Francis John Troyan is Associate Professor of Language Teacher Education at The Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus. A former classroom teacher of French, Spanish, and ESL, his teaching and research focus on world language teacher development, genre and functional linguistics in K-12 world language education, and teacher practices in dual language immersion education. His research has appeared in Teaching and Teacher Education, International Multilingual Research Journal, The Canadian Modern Language Review, Foreign Language Annals, and Language and Sociocultural Theory. His 2022 edited book Genre in World Language Education provides examples of genre-based pedagogy in languages including Arabic, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish.


2021 Language Teaching Forum: Integrating Digital and Analog Tools in the Language Classroom: A look at the design and implementation of mixed-reality experiences for language learning

Presenter: Julie Sykes, Director of the Center for Applied Second Language Studies, Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics, University of Oregon

Date: October 16, 2021


Mixed-Reality Experiences (MREs) are immersive, play-oriented experiences in which participants work together to complete multi-step tasks that help them discover and unpack critical information about, and awareness of, target language learning outcomes.  In this workshop, participants will experience an MRE that features a variety of technologies (e.g, VR, AR, and voice recognition) and analog resources (e.g. target language realia). Then, as a group, participants will use that experience, as well as research-based insights, to apply game-based pedagogies to the creation of their own MRE for use in the language classroom.  Using a guided template, participants will have the opportunity to engage in rapid paper prototyping and testing of the experiences they create. These testing sessions will inform the ultimate deployment of their MREs through a digital editor and mobile application.

Bio: Julie Sykes earned her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. She is the Director of the Center for Applied Second Language Studies and an Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics. Her research focuses on applied linguistics and second language acquisition with an emphasis on technological and pedagogical innovation for interlanguage pragmatic development and intercultural competence. She has taught courses on second language teaching and learning, methodology and research, language learning and technology, Hispanic linguistics, and interlanguage pragmatic development. Julie’s experience includes the design, implementation, and evaluation of online immersive spaces and the creation of place-based, augmented-reality mobile games to engage language learners in a variety of non-institutional contexts. She has published various articles on computer-assisted language learning (CALL)-related topics, including synchronous computer-mediated communication and pragmatic development, gaming and CALL, and lexical acquisition in digitally mediated environments. Julie is the recipient of the 2018 University of Oregon Research Award for Impact and Innovation.


2020 Language Teaching Forum: Adding evaluation and assessment to your toolbox- Some approaches

Presenter: Margaret Malone, Director, Assessment and Evaluation Language Resource Center (AELRC), Georgetown University, Director, Center for Assessment, Research and Development, ACTFL

Date: October 3, 2020


Assessment and evaluation are critical components of language teaching and learning. However, integrating both large-scale and small-scale assessment and evaluation processes in a straightforward way that aligns with program, curricular and classroom goals can be challenging if not downright bewildering. The purpose of this session is to first define the boundaries of and  contexts for small- and large-scale evaluation and assessment. Next, through both whole-group and small group activities, participants will become familiar with some free resources for both assessment and evaluation as well as how to apply them.  Finally, participants will find resources for their own research as well as ways to identify the best tools for their context(s). All participants will complete a pre-workshop survey to help guide the content.

Bio: Margaret E. Malone (Ph.D., Georgetown University) is Director of the Assessment and Evaluation Language Resource Center (AELRC) and Research Professor at Georgetown. She is also Director of the Center for Assessment, Research and Development at ACTFL. She has nearly three decades of experience in language test development, materials development, delivery of professional development and teacher training through both online and face-to-face methods, data collection and survey research, and program evaluation. Her current research focuses on language assessment literacy, oral proficiency assessment, the influences of the Seal of Biliteracy on language teaching and learning and the development of short-cut measures of proficiency. Prior to joining Georgetown and ACTFL, she was Associate Vice President of World Languages and International Programs at the Center for Applied Linguistics. Earlier in her career, she served as the first Language Testing Specialist for Peace Corps-Worldwide, where she managed oral language testing for 60 countries and over 120 languages.

2019 Language Teaching Forum: What’s in your grammar teaching toolbox?

Presenter: Leila Ranta, Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, University of Alberta, Canada

Date: November 9, 2019


Every educator has a conceptual “toolbox” of teaching techniques that can be deployed for different subject matter. Grammar teaching has long been dominated by traditional techniques such as deductive explanations that have passed the test of time. More recently, second language researchers have come up with innovative ideas for teaching grammar and put them to the test in terms of their effectiveness. The aim of this session is to provide an overview of these old and new techniques so that participants can expand their own grammar teaching toolboxes. The session will include the following: a brief review of the rationale for highlighting grammar; a presentation of examples of a wide range of grammar teaching techniques; and an illustration of different options for integrating a focus on grammar within communicative or task-based lessons.

Bio: Dr. Leila Ranta is an Associate Professor in the TESL program in the department of Educational Psychology at the University of Alberta. She received her graduate training in applied linguistics at Concordia University in Montreal where she was involved in several large-scale research projects dealing with the effect of form-focused instruction. One of these, a study of corrective feedback in French immersion co-authored with Roy Lyster and published in Studies in Second Language Acquisition was awarded the Paul Pimsleur Award for Research in Foreign Language Education in 1998. Her other research activities have dealt with the topics of L2 aptitude, fluency, and naturalistic language exposure. Leila Ranta is currently co-editor (with Xavier Gutiérrez) of the journal, Language Awareness and serves as a member of the executive of the Association for Language Awareness. She has also served as a board member of the Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics and of the Quebec and Alberta ESL teachers associations (SPEAQ and ATESL).

Registration: Closed

2018 Language Teaching Forum: How to ACE Your Language Classroom

Presenter: Dr. Netta Avineri, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Date: Oct 20, 2018


In this workshop, we will explore how language teachers can enhance student learning in their classrooms through action research. Based on my recently published book Research Methods for Language Teaching: Inquiry, Process, and Synthesis, we will discuss the eleven steps for conducting classroom research, reflecting upon & taking action to improve practices in your language classroom. A key component will be a walk-through to create Applicable, Collaborative, and Empowering (ACE) classroom-based research projects. There will be tips, approaches, and hands-on activities, as well as opportunities for discussion and Q. & A.

Presenters: Richard Donato, University of Pittsburgh, Eileen W. Glisan, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Date: Oct 28, 2017

Abstract: Current research in teacher education focuses on the identification of specific practices that all foreign language teachers need to enact to enable learning to occur in their classrooms. This workshop will lead participants in understanding more about this work of teaching by exploring a set of foreign language practices that are based on second language acquisition theory, research on student learning, and the wisdom of classroom practice. Participants will learn how to enact selected practices by analyzing and examining their various instructional moves and understanding the relationship of these moves to learning goals. After a brief introduction about the work of teaching, four high leverage practices will be introduced: 1) Using the target language comprehensibly during instructional interactions, 2) Developing a discourse community through interpersonal communication, 3) Focusing on cultural products, practices, and perspectives in a dialogic context, and 4) Providing feedback in oral communication. Pedagogical tools for planning instruction will be provided for each of the four practices. Discussion, collaboration, and hands-on practice will be the vehicle for understanding the selected practices, how they can address specific teaching challenges, and how the practices serve larger instructional purposes.