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ILETC | ACTFL Workshop: 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. 

 Only 20 spots are available! 

Date: Tuesday, December 6, 2022 

Time: 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM 

Fee: $40 per person

To attend, register here.

Workshop | 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?  

The presenters, Aránzazu Borrachero (Queensborough Community College and the Graduate Center) and Alberta Gatti (The Graduate Center), invite you to an interactive presentation/discussion that will explore the answers to these questions. They will describe the pilot of a genre-based curriculum that was taught to Spanish heritage learners at two CUNY schools (one community college and one senior college), as well as research-based information about the effects of this curriculum on the writing proficiency development of heritage language learners.   

This pedagogical approach is applicable not just to Spanish, but to other heritage languages, and to English writing classes as well, so we welcome all to come learn about it and to share your related experiences in a discussion with the group. 

To attend, get the Zoom link by registering here.

Bilingual Writing Proficiency of CUNY Students | Interactive presentation coming up in October

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? 

Read more

Introducing We Authors

Dear CUNY Heritage Language Instructors,

We invite you to learn about We Authors (https://weauthors.commons.gc.cuny.edu/), 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.

During the 2021-2022 academic year, ILETC successfully piloted the site with Spanish-English bilinguals enrolled in heritage courses at three CUNY colleges. Now, we are preparing the site to welcome courses in heritage Arabic, Chinese, French, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Spanish.

The professors who participated in the pilot and the ILETC team will be conducting a brief Zoom presentation in August (two dates are available). During the presentation, we will share information on how to integrate We Authors into your course.

If interested, register for one of the two dates:

Thursday, August 11, 2022, 4:00-5:00 PM | Register here.

Friday, August 12, 2022, 11:00-12:00 PM | Register here.

We look forward to sharing more with you in August.


The ILETC Team

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.

The webinar will first review some basic principles of online pedagogy, such as reconceptualizing the language classroom; affordances and constraints; presence; course design; and assessment. It will then focus in on how students interact with each other in online language classes, and how you as a teacher can design tasks and structure lessons so as to facilitate these interactions. There will also be ample opportunity for questions and answers, as well as for sharing best practices across languages and departments.

This webinar will be led by Christopher Kaiser. Dr. Kaiser is the program manager of the Shared Course Initiative, which connects less-commonly taught language classrooms at Columbia, Cornell, and Yale, using high-definition videoconferencing. His areas of interest include second language pedagogy, distance learning, presence in the distance environment, inter-institutional collaboration, and language-learning advocacy. In Spring and Summer 2020, he conducted workshops and seminars for the Columbia University language teaching community, in order to prepare for the rapid transition to teaching language classes via Zoom.

There are limited spots for this event. Once you register, you will receive a confirmation and a link to join on the day of the event. You must register in order to participate in the webinar. Registration will open soon.

Date and Time: October 15th, 2020, 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Non-Refundable Fee: $25 + Eventbrite fees

Registration is available here.

Teaching Languages Online: Training and Mentorship

Umbrella Banner image for Teaching Languages Online: Training and Mentorship
Teaching Languages Online: Training and Mentorship

With the recent need to shift all courses to online learning, ILETC is launching a training and mentorship activity that offers the opportunity for instructors to redesign their Fall 2020 courses with the support of language educators who have been teaching online and training colleagues around the nation for years. What makes this training unique is the nature of the expertise of these instructors: They are experts not only in generic online teaching, but specifically in teaching languages online, a critical distinction because language instruction, as we know, is substantially different from instruction in other disciplines. 

The intensive blended training consists of six 90-minute sessions, plus required tasks between sessions (about two hours of homework for each meeting). The synchronous portion of the training will take place in June, on the following dates: 

Wednesday 06/17
Friday 06/19
Monday 06/22
Wednesday 06/24
Friday 06/26
Monday 06/29

Participants who complete all the training requirements by July 5th, 2020 will receive a certification.

The subsidized cost to CUNY participants is a non-refundable registration fee of $60 (actual cost is $150 per participant). 

There will be limited number of spots. 

To inquire about this activity, contact ILETC Director, Alberta Gatti at agatti@gc.cuny.edu

Link to sample training from NFLRC:

Workshops on Methodological Developments in Teaching of Spanish

Methodological Developments in Teaching of Spanish as a Second and Foreign Language

A Workshop for Teachers, XIV. Language Programs and Methodology

April 25th, 2020
Room TBA
Barnard College

10:00am – 1:00pm
Guadalupe Valdés
Stanford University

Teaching and Learning Spanish in an Age of Shifting Theories, Ideologies, and Policies

3pm – 6pm
Marta Antón
Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis

Organized by the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures, Columbia University, and the Department of Spanish and Latin American Cultures, Barnard College.

Co-Sponsored by the Institute of Latin American Studies, Columbia. Co-sponsored by ILETC.

Registration is free.

RSVP to Guadalupe Ruiz Fajardo gr2250@columbia.edu

ACTFL Workshops

The Institute for Language Education in Transcultural Context (ILETC) along with the Office of Academic Initiatives and Strategic Innovation (AISI) invites language instructors to participate in two workshops.

Workshop 1: Modified OPI Assessment Workshop (MOPI)

This two-day workshop is focused on the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) and introduces the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) rating scale, the structure of the OPI and techniques for administering and rating the OPI including its applications in the language classroom. Participants will observe and conduct live practice interviews at Novice and Intermediate proficiency levels. Participation in a MOPI Assessment Workshop is the first step toward becoming an ACTFL Certified OPI Tester with Limited Certification.

Workshop 2: Developing and Assessing Academic Reading Proficiency

This one-day workshop will address current research in foreign language reading proficiency with respect to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Proficiency Guidelines 2012 – Reading. Questions that will be considered include:

  1. What is the role of reading in world language curricula?
  2. How does reading proficiency influence—and how is it influenced by—listening, speaking, and writing proficiency?
  3. How are academic reading requirements different from everyday reading requirements?

The workshop is comprised of three interrelated issues: text typology; defining comprehension tasks; and building a reading proficiency program that includes the development of formative and summative assessments for departments of languages and literatures in higher education. The ACTFL Reading Proficiency Test (RPT) will be introduced as an example of a valid and reliable summative assessment.

Both workshops will be conducted in English for a mixed-language group, and will be led by Dr. Cynthia Martin from the University of Maryland. Further details on both workshops including cost, dates, times, and how to register can be found on the drop-down menu below.

This program is offered by the CUNY Institute for Language Education in Transcultural Context, in partnership with the CUNY Graduate Center’s Office of Academic Initiatives and Strategic Innovation.


ACTFL Workshop: Modified OPI Assessment Workshop (MOPI)

Workshop Cost

  • Instructors affiliated with CUNY: $50 non-refundable fee
  • Non-CUNY instructors: $175 non-refundable fee

Workshop Meeting Information

Meetings will take place at The Graduate Center, CUNY on the following dates and times:

  • Tuesday, January 21, 2020 9:00am – 6:00pm
  • Wednesday, January 22, 2020 9:00am – 6:00pm

To register please click this link.

ACTFL Workshop: Developing and Assessing Academic Reading Proficiency

Workshop Cost

  • Instructors affiliated with CUNY: $25 non-refundable fee
  • Non-CUNY instructors: $75 non-refundable fee

Workshop Meeting Information

The workshop will take place at The Graduate Center, CUNY on the following date and time:

  • Thursday, January 23, 2020 9:00am – 6:00pm

To register please click this link.

Teaching & Learning of Heritage Languages Seminar Series

The Institute for Language Education in Transcultural Context (ILETC) invites language instructors who teach heritage or mixed L2/heritage courses to participate in a year-long seminar series aimed at exploring issues related to the teaching and learning languages.

This seminar series offers organized spaces for participants to work collaborately while learning from one another. Discussions are geared toward understanding heritage learners and their languages with the goal of supporting curricular a pedagogical improvement. This professional development activity will be led by ILETC Director, Dr. Alberta Gatti, with the participation of Maria Carreira, co-director of the UCLA National Heritage Language Resource Center.

Seminar Cost

  • Free for CUNY instructors and graduate students.
  • $110 (includes $10 registration fee) for those not affliated with CUNY.

Class Meeting Information

Meetings will take place at The Graduate Center, CUNY on Fridays from 4:00pm to 6:00pm. Dates of the courses and topics are as follows:

  • September 20, 2019 4:00 – 6:00pm – Heritage Learners and Heritage Languages “in the Wild” and “in the Classroom.”
  • October 18, 2019 4:00 – 6:00pm- Sociolinguistic Profile of Heritage Language Learners and Critical Pedagogy.
  • November 15, 2019 4:00 – 6:00pm- Proficiency and Literacy.
  • February 28, 2020 4:00 – 6:00pm- Pedagogical Approaches I: Teaching mixed L2/heritage classes
  • April 3, 2020 4:00 – 6:00pm – Pedagogical Approaches II: Successful Pedagogies for Heritage Language Education.
  • May 1, 2020 4:00 – 6:00pm – Placement and Assessment.


The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016

Registration is now closed for this event. Please email iletc@gc.cuny.edu or agatti@gc.cuny.edu about any questions.

Educating Toward Advanced Performance Levels

April 29, 2019
Room TBA
The Graduate Center
10:00am – 1:00pm
Registration required: http://tiny.cc/1eiu3y

Presenter: Heidi Byrnes, Georgetown University

Workshop description:

In this workshop, we will consider how to enhance L2 instructed learners’ ability to attain advanced levels of ability through educational action. We will follow a three-step approach: First, we will lay out broad characteristics of ‘advancedness’ that differentiate that performance level from  intermediate levels of ability; second, using a functional, meaning-oriented approach, we will further specify advancedness in terms of register and genre in order to arrive at broad principles for curriculum construction and pedagogical action; finally, we will locate advancedness within the long-term development process of instructed learners and how programs might conceptualize and facilitate that extended movement. While the workshop will focus on writing, discussion will include all modalities of language use.

Heidi Byrnes is George M. Roth Distinguished Professor of German Emerita at Georgetown University. Her research focuses on adult L2 literacy acquisition, particularly at the advanced level. She has edited and co-edited books and special journal issues on the development of advanced literacy and the link between languaging and thinking, particularly in writing. She is a past president of AAAL, past editor of The Modern Language Journal, and is the recipient of numerous professional association awards, including the Distinguished Scholarship and Service Award of AAAL.