Center forLanguage Acquisition

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PSU-NECTFL Fellowship Award to Esther Yáñez

PSU-NECTFL Fellowship Award to Esther Yáñez

We are very pleased to announce that Esther Yáñez, Lecturer in Spanish at Penn State,has been awarded the 2019 PSU-NECTFL Fellowship in Language Education for her project “Film Subtitling to Improve Listening, Reading and Writing Skills”. A short project abstract is included below.

The PSU-NECTFL Fellowship supports a Penn State language educator in the development of aforeign language project in the classroomthat contributes to the foreign language teaching profession and advances quality language instruction. The Fellow receives mentorship from an expert selected by the Center for Language Acquisition(CLA) Advisory Board at all stages of the project, including planning, execution, data analysis and dissemination. Project findings are presented at the annual NECTFL conference. The Fellow also receives support to prepare a written manuscript to the NECTFL Reviewbased on their project and findings.

We will be accepting applications for the 2020 PSU-NECTFL Fellowship in Language Education in December 2019. For more information, see our PSU-NECTFL Fellowship program page.

Film Subtitling to Improve Listening, Reading and Writing Skills

Subtitled materials have been used for many years in the language classroom. Traditionally, learners have adopted a passive role, because they were limited to watching a subtitled film in L2. This project proposes the introduction of an interactive subtitling module in and advanced language course, in which students can benefit from a more active engagement by participating in the creation of the subtitles. 

Thanks to the different channels present in audiovisual texts, this learning experience may be beneficial for different learning styles: verbal, visual, acoustic, and even kinetic. One can anticipate that there will be other advantages: improve learners’ listening, reading and writing skills; sharpen their intercultural and pragmatic communication skills; increase their engagement and motivation; and produce an enjoyable learning experience. 

Audiovisual material appropriate to the level of the students will be selected from authentic (not created for didactic purposes) films, series or videogames. There will be two activities: 1) Students will translate and subtitle an L2 video into their L1; doing so they will work on their listening and reading skills in L2, and they will sharpen their problem-solving and writing skills in L1; 2) Students will translate and subtitle an L1 clip into their L2, which will help them develop their L2 writing skills. 


Esther Yanez earned a master’s degree in Spanish Literature and Linguistics from West Virginia University, and a master’s degree in Translation Studies from Universitat Jaume I in Castellon, Spain. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Translation and Interpreting from Universitat Jaume I, specializing in English, German and Italian. She is currently working on her Ph.D. in Audiovisual Translation at that same university. 

Esther Yanez has been teaching Spanish and Translation at Penn State University since 2016. Her previous work includes the translation and subtitling of films for European Film Festivals, and the dubbing of television series for Discovery Channel.

Esther Yáñez