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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? 

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The Institute for Language Education in Transcultural Context (ILETC) at the CUNY Graduate Center receives funding to bring our National Language Resource Center back to CUNY.

We are pleased to announce that ILETC has been awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to reopen the Center for Integrated Language Communities (CILC), one of only sixteen National Language Resource Centers. This puts CILC and the Graduate Center in a prestigious national network of innovative Language Resource Centers, housed at universities across the country, including Duke, Georgetown, Penn State, and UCLA.

Originally founded in 2014, CILC’s mission is to help students in the United States develop the translingual and transcultural competence they need to navigate between the communities they come from and the ones they aim to engage with in their post-college lives.

For this grant cycle, CILC’s projects are focused on fostering the development of literacy in second and heritage language learners, all within the context of community colleges and minority serving institutions, through five projects:

  • Training Modules for Text-based Language Teaching will develop, pilot, and disseminate modules for instructors on how to integrate text-based activities into existing courses.
  • Repository for Text-based Language Learning Tasks will develop, pilot, and publish text-based tasks for elementary and intermediate foreign and heritage language courses in five languages (Arabic, Japanese, Italian, Russian, and Spanish).
  • Researching the Effects of Text-based Tasks on Language Learning will investigate the academic outcomes of using text-based learning tasks.
  • Heritage Interpreting will develop, pilot, and research the impact of an interpreting curriculum specifically designed to address strengths and needs of future interpreters who are heritage speakers.
  • A National Forum on Literacy will provide a space for a national dialogue on the opportunities that a focus on literacy development affords to students and programs alike.

Visit cilc.commons.gc.cuny.edu to learn more about CILC.
To contact the CILC team, email us at cilc@gc.cuny.edu.

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

The 8th National Symposium on Spanish as a Heritage Language (NSSHL)  

Organized by the Institute for Language Education in Transcultural Context (ILETC), The Graduate Center, CUNY 
Thursday, May 13, to Saturday, May 15, 2021 

The National Symposium on Spanish as a Heritage Language (NSSHL) is an intellectual forum for the discussion of both the variable linguistic reality of Spanish heritage bilingualism in the United States (and elsewhere), and the diverse pedagogical needs of students of Spanish as a heritage language. Researchers and educators in K–12 and higher education share theoretical and practical approaches to the study of Spanish as a heritage language from perspectives of various disciplines, including heritage language acquisition, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, applied linguistics, and cultural studies, among others. This space allows participants to collaborate towards the implementation of pedagogies that enable heritage learners not only to develop their language proficiency but also to reflect on their own identity formation within a context of validation and empowerment. 

The 8th National Symposium on Spanish as a Heritage Language (NSSHL) will be hosted by the Institute for Language Education in Transcultural Context (ILETC) and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, on Thursday, May 13th and Friday, May 14th, 2021, with a workshop on Saturday, May 15th. This year, the symposium will be held virtually through live panels and pre-recorded presentations, allowing for both synchronous and asynchronous participation. The website for the conference is now available here: https://8nsshl2021.commons.gc.cuny.edu/ 

Invited Panels will take place through live video conferences in which the invited panelists engage in discussions on pedagogy, virtual learning, sociolinguistics and formal linguistics. The panels will be organized alongside Q&A sessions with the audience, in order to allow for synchronous interaction and participation from all parties.  

For presentations, accepted papers will be delivered by presenters through narrated PowerPoints that will be available for view through the conference website. Viewers will be able to ask the presenters questions and contribute to ongoing discussions asynchronously, through designated forums that correspond to each presentation. 

U.S. Department of Education Grant to the Graduate Center Will Help CUNY’s Bilingual Students

More than 86,000 CUNY undergraduates — 38 percent of CUNY’s nearly 230,000 undergraduates — speak a native language other than English. Many of them stand to benefit from a recent U.S. Department of Education grant of $169,450 to the Institute for Language Education in Transcultural Context (ILETC) at The Graduate Center. ILETC is using the funding to launch an initiative to enhance language education for bilingual college students.

The grant-funded project, called Investigating Pedagogies for Advanced Proficiency (IPAP), will initially focus on students who immigrated from Spanish-speaking countries, or whose parents did, and who speak Spanish at home, but were educated in English in the U.S. As a result, the students’ dominant language is English, while Spanish remains their home language. IPAP will analyze and develop effective strategies for teaching college-level Spanish courses to bilingual students so that they become proficient in reading and writing in Spanish as well as speaking it. In its third year, IPAP will focus on learners who are bilingual in Japanese and English.

As part of the work, IPAP will study how students’ English writing skills affect their ability to write and learn to write in Spanish. Professor Alberta Gatti (Linguistics), director of ILETC who is leading the IPAP project, says she and her collaborators want to learn what strategies will help lower-level writers become more developed writers.

“We have many language classes at CUNY for bilingual learners, but we could do better in terms of having curricula that we know for sure is helping these learners use their non-dominant language in professional and academic settings,” Gatti said. The project’s ultimate aim, she said, “is to develop research-based recommendations for instruction that are truly accessible to the professors, lecturers, and adjuncts who are teaching CUNY’s numerous bilingual students.”

Project collaborators include ILETC Assistant Director Syelle Graves, several CUNY faculty members, and specialists from outside CUNY. Graduate Center doctoral and master’s student fellows will also be involved. (Student fellowship application information will be available soon.) Central to the project is a collaboration with the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at John Jay College.

This post is from the Graduate Center News; read the original at https://www.gc.cuny.edu/news/us-department-education-grant-graduate-center-will-help-cunys-bilingual-students.

ILETC Receives U.S. Department of Education Grant

October 13th, 2020

We are pleased to announce that the Institute for Language Education in Transcultural Context (ILETC) at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, has been awarded a Title VI grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s International Research and Studies program.

The $169,450 grant will fund the Investigating Pedagogies for Advanced Proficiency (IPAP) project. With the aim to better serve heritage language learners enrolled in college-level language courses, the IPAP project will deliver new knowledge on: how different pedagogical approaches support proficiency development in heritage language learners; how proficiency in English relates to proficiency in the heritage language; and what language-using patterns look like in advanced writing of heritage language learners. From the findings, recommendations for instruction will be developed and made available on the ILETC website. While the core of the project will be conducted with Spanish heritage language learners, the project will conclude with an investigation of how to adapt its curricular model for Japanese language instruction, extending its research findings to the field of less commonly taught languages.

The IPAP project will be directed by Alberta Gatti (ILETC and Linguistics) and assisted by Syelle Graves (ILETC); its full team will include several CUNY faculty members and GC graduate students, along with specialists from outside CUNY. Central to the project is a collaboration with the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at John Jay College.

To follow the progress of this project, visit the IPAP page (currently under construction) on the ILETC site.


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.