Center forLanguage Acquisition

students watching instructor

PSU-NECTFL Fellowship

PSU-NECTFL Fellowship

Penn State, Northeast Conference


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:

Esther YanezEsther 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.


“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.

Beatriz García GlickBeatriz García Glick earned a Doctorate in Modern Languages from Middlebury College, in Middlebury, Vermont. She is an Associate Teaching Professor of Spanish in the Humanities Department at the Pennsylvania State University, Hazleton, campus in Pennsylvania.  Her research includes the use of technology in language teaching especially how to apply programs such as VoiceThread, Kaltura, as well as blogs, and podcasts to create motivating projects for students.  She has  recently published a chapter titled  “Culture and Language Appreciation in a History of Latin America Course” (2020) in P. Ananth and L.T. Lyons (Eds). Incorporating Foreign Language Content in Humanities Courses (pp 141-148). New York, NY:  Routledge


  “Integrated Performance Assessments in Language Discussions Addressing Social Justice Issues in  Artworks”

This  month long project  has four goals:  first, students will become familiar with artistic works that address social injustices. Second, students will learn to describe media following artistic guidelines as well as their own perceptions. Third, students will read related narratives and biographies of the interpreter to understand the times and social injustices that the artist is trying to address.   Interpretational analyses will take place during classes to address target vocabulary and to clarify points of view. At the end of a month, students will give a presentational speech followed by an interpersonal class discussion which will be analyzed in a quantitative and qualitative manner to review the use of target vocabulary, target expressions, comprehension, fluidity,  and pronunciation. Assessments would include a pre- and post -vocabulary quiz of art related words, as well as each student’s ability to complete Can-Do statements such as the student can negotiate for meaning in a conversation in the Present Tense, can use clarification strategies, and can narrate key events in the Past Tenses. Triangulation of data collected through rubrics would be analyzed by the instructor, bilingual professors, and bilingual members of the community interested in social justice topics.