You are here: Home / Programs / PSU- NECTFL Fellowship

PSU-NECTFL Fellowship



Penn State’s Center for Language Acquisition and the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages are pleased to announce a new Fellowship award designed to support a Penn State language educator in the development of a foreign language project in the classroom that contributes to the foreign language teaching profession and advances quality language instruction.

The Fellow will receive 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. If required, project-related remuneration from CLA is available. The Fellow will additionally receive financial assistance of up to $1,000 (travel and accommodation; NECTFL conference registration is waived) to present their findings at the annual NECTFL conference. Further, the Fellow will be supported by the mentor to prepare a written manuscript to the NECTFL Review based on their project and findings.


A project begins with teachers in the foreign language classroom, who perceive a critical gap or dilemma between current practice and their more ideal view of practice. The gap or dilemma may relate to something they have been puzzled, uncertain or dissatisfied with for a while, a ‘burning question’ or issue they have always wanted to experiment with, a change they would like to see happening in themselves or their learners, or a desire to make a difference in the way things are generally organized in their classrooms. Once a gap or dilemma has been identified, the project can take a cycle or spiral of different phases, such as:

  • First, the planning stage is about refining your focus and working out how you could enhance or extend what is currently happening in the classroom, or address the questions you have. 
  • Second, the action is about putting your plans in place and seeing what happens.
  • Third, you start collecting information (data) on what happens when you introduce new ways of working.
  • The last stage, reflection, involves making sense of the processes you have used and gaining greater understanding of what kinds of classroom practices and interactions could lead to promoting better learning or teaching.


  • Using electronic dictionaries to develop content-specific language skills
  • Assessing oral language development in initial language classes
  • Introducing beginner students to extensive reading
  • Increasing progress and motivation in high level learners
  • Using extensive listening to increase listening and speaking skills
  • Increasing high level learners’ vocabulary development and motivation through reading
  • Preparing students for study abroad
  • How to teach/explain complex grammar (e.g., tenses)
  • Improving writing skills with a class newspaper project
  • Language awareness to improve proficiency
  • Teaching paraphrasing to improve reading and speaking skills
  • For many more examples, see NECTFL conference program and Penn State's Center for Advanced Language Proficiency Education and Research (CALPER)


Applications should be submitted before December 1, 2019 using the online application portal: Application Form 

 Applications will require (1) project rationale about why your project is important/needed, (2) a short description of the project, (3) a plan of action, and (4) a brief budget. Further instructions are provided on the application portal: Application Form

  • Applicants must be teaching faculty[1] at a Penn State campus with at least one year of full-time teaching
  • Full-time graduate students are not eligible
  • Applicants are invited to discuss their proposals with Dr. Kevin McManus ( in advance of the deadline.

[1] Included: instructors, (senior) lecturers, assistant/associate/full teaching professor


Dec 1, 2019 Submission of applications
January 2020 Results announced
January 2020 Fellow meets with mentor to plan out project
Spring 2020 & Fall 2020 Project carried out
February 2021 Presentation of project and preliminary results at NECTFL

Additional resources that you may find helpful in thinking and writing about your project:

Learning objectives:

NECTFL Can-Do Statement: