Category: Events

Event on 12/7/2023! “The Speaking Proficiency Outcomes of Face-to-Face and Online Intensive Language Instruction”

This presentation shares findings from a mixed-methods research study to document the speaking proficiency gains made by students enrolled in face-to-face (F2F) and online intensive summer programs in one of fourteen less commonly taught languages. The online programs were offered during the COVID-19 pandemic, when F2F instruction was impossible or impractical. Data for the study include (1) pre- and post-program ratings obtained with  ACTFL OPIs (the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Oral Proficiency Interview) conducted over five years, and (2) interviews with over 90 students conducted over two summer terms. The study compares the speaking proficiency outcomes of the F2F and online programs, and provides insights into the students’ subjective experiences in the F2F and online intensive learning contexts.  

Dianna Murphy is director of the Language Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a center for collaborative initiatives in research, education, advising, and outreach related to the study of human languages. She also co-directs the UW-Madison Russian Flagship Program and serves as a core member of the Doctoral Program in Second Language Acquisition. She is principal investigator of the study, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education International Research and Studies Program and ACTFL on the Speaking Proficiency Outcomes of Face-to-Face and Online U.S. Intensive Postsecondary Summer Programs in Less and Least Commonly Taught Foreign Languages. Her other current research includes a survey-based study on the reasons U.S. undergraduate students are (not) studying languages other than English in a collegiate setting, and a project to document languages (not) represented in U.S. doctoral programs in languages and literatures other than English. 

Lidia Gault is a Ph.D. student in second language acquisition at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, where she received her Master’s in Education. A certified ACTFL OPI (Oral Proficiency Interview) tester for Russian, Gault has extensive experience teaching Russian at the university level and for the government. Her main research interests include foreign language comprehension, bilingualism, and heritage language acquisition. 

Date: Thursday December 7, 2023

Time: 1:00-2:00

To attend, register here to get the Zoom link.

Event on 10/5/2023! “Fitting the Program to the Learners:  Adapting Translation Competence Models to Heritage Speakers”

This presentation is part of the Center for Integrated Language Communities (CILC) Heritage Interpreting research project, which aims to develop an interpreting curriculum that capitalizes on the strengths of heritage learners.  

The field of translation and interpreting is experiencing significant growth, with a projected 20% increase in job opportunities between 2021 and 2031. While college language departments are responding to this trend by introducing translation and interpreting programs, these programs typically overlook both the distinct needs of heritage speakers—who make up a sizable portion of these majors—and their valuable previous experience as informal translators and interpreters for their families and communities. This presentation addresses these students’ current language use; their language acquisition trajectories; their language proficiency in English and Spanish (both self-assessed and ACTFL-rated); their interpreting competence; and their experience as child language brokers. This presentation will also describe how knowledge of these particular linguistic characteristics can support the development of a curriculum better tailored to these future interpreters.    Read more

Event on 8/10/2023! Introducing We Authors, an L2 Writing Website

Landscape view of a wall with welcome signs in different languages at the Anne Frank Museum with a bicycle leaning on the wall.
A wall at the Anne Frank Museum on the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Photo credit: Adam Szuly Photography / Alamy Stock Photo.

We invite you to learn about We Authors | Second-Language Writing (, a website for students enrolled in second language courses across CUNY.  

A daughter site of We Authors | Heritage Writing (, We AuthorsSecond-Language Writing was created in response to requests from CUNY faculty. Both sites provide students with a public-facing component to their assignments (under instructor supervision), which allows them to write with a purpose, something known to be instrumental in increasing learner engagement and advancing writing proficiency. 

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ACTFL Workshop on 12/6/2022! “Developing Interpretive Reading and Listening Proficiency”

ILETC invites you to participate in a day-long, virtual ACTFL workshop (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) on text typology, led by Professor Cynthia Martin. 

This workshop will explain how to use the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines to develop learners’ general proficiency in interpretive modes (Listening and Reading) in the target language. Participants will review the Guidelines, which will be followed by an introduction to text typology for these interpretive modes. The majority of the workshop will be spent engaging in hands-on activities to guide participants in how to 1) evaluate the effectiveness of their existing teaching materials in terms of overall goals and target audience, and 2) select authentic reading and aural texts and use them to design appropriate proficiency-based activities at various levels. At the end of the workshop, participants will also have the opportunity to discuss implications for assessment of these interpretive modes. 

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Workshop on 11/11/2022! “Process Writing in the Heritage Language Class: An approach to biliteracy development”

Come join us on Friday, November 11, 2022, from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM, for an interactive presentation online.   

What are the differences between traditional writing assignments (prompts-draft-feedback-final copy) and assignments created following a genre-based approach? What do students and instructors gain by using a genre-based approach? More specifically, what are the distinct benefits for heritage language learners, who typically express an understanding that writing is their weaker skill in the heritage language?  

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Interactive Presentation in October, 2022! “Bilingual Writing Proficiency of CUNY Students”

When working with multilingual students in your heritage language, English comp, or ESL classes, have you ever wondered about these learners’ ability to do things in “the other” language? For instance, should we assume that bilingual CUNY students who received most of their education in the U.S. write better in English than in their heritage language? What about how large the gap is between writing abilities in the two languages? Can our students accurately evaluate whether they are better at one of the two languages? And, is there anything in their biographical profile that seems to help predict language dominance in writing? 

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Introducing We Authors

Dear CUNY Heritage Language Instructors,

We invite you to learn about We Authors (, a website for multilingual students enrolled in heritage language courses across CUNY.

We Authors provides students with a public-facing component to their assignments (under instructor supervision), which allows them to write with a purpose, something known to be instrumental in increasing learner engagement and advancing writing proficiency. Read more

Facilitating Student-to-Student Interaction in the Virtual Language Classroom

October 15th, 2020, 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Registration is now open. Limited spots available.

The Institute for Language Education in Transcultural Context (ILETC) is pleased to offer a webinar on facilitating student-to-student interaction in the virtual language classroom. This two-hour webinar is intended for language instructors who began teaching in the online format in Spring 2020, and who now wish to further solidify and systematize their skills. Read more

Collaborative Curriculum Development: Workshop for Heritage Spanish Courses

Workshop Description

The Institute for Language Education in Transcultural Context (ILETC) invites CUNY Spanish language instructors who teach heritage or mixed L2/heritage courses to participate in a year-long workshop aimed at revising curriculum, discussing pedagogical approaches, and evaluating materials and assessment tools.

We at ILETC consider collaboration to be a key aspect of improving language education. The workshop sessions offer organized spaces for participants to work with and learn from each other. There will be group meetings to discuss progress with colleagues, reading groups and lectures from experts to keep ourselves up-to-date on the changing dynamics of language education, and structured activities to facilitate curriculum development. This professional development activity will be led by ILETC Director, Alberta Gatti, and assisted by a graduate student.

Meetings will take place at the Graduate Center on Fridays, with the first meeting scheduled for Friday, September 21st. The group will meet three times in the Fall and three in the Spring, with the last meeting scheduled for May 2019. Additionally, ACTFL will be invited to offer a day-long workshop for participants. The complete schedule will be available in early September.

There are a limited number of spots available. To apply, please fill out the application form (applications now closed) no later than August 30, 2018. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to

Workshop Facilitator

Alberta Gatti is Associate Professor of Linguistics at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, where she directs the Center for Integrated Language Communities (CILC, a National Language Resource Center) and the Institute for Language Education in Transcultural Competence (ILETC, a research and resource center for language education at CUNY). For the past four years she has been conducting research on the proficiency of heritage speakers, which resulted in two publications and multiple conference presentations. Previously, she conducted work on Early Modern Spanish literature. Alberta Gatti holds a Ph.D. in Hispanic Language and Literatures from Boston University and a degree in Classical Studies from the University of Buenos Aires.