Spring 2018 BLC Fellows Instructional Development Research Projects

Colloquium | May 4 | 3-5 p.m. | B4 Dwinelle Hall

 BLC Fellows

 Berkeley Language Center

Developing Interpretive Insight through Reframing Texts
Erica Weems, Lecturer, French
This project focused on the interpretive insight that second-semester students of French developed when reframing texts in the target language. The process of reframing texts in a collaborative setting followed a tripartite model involving preparation, enactment, and post-enactment reflection and was aimed at developing linguistic skills and increasing cultural knowledge in the target language. The variety of media that were used as students approached these texts contributed to their learning processes as multisensory experiences while also giving them insight into the creative process and broadening their own interpretive space. Post-enactment reflection on students’ interpretive processes shed light on the linguistic and cultural knowledge they attained through the reframing of texts and the development of their own cultural narratives as students of the French language.

Highly Varied Proficiency Levels in the Same Classroom – Differentiated Instruction as a Means of Effective Language Teaching
Eva Szoke, Lecturer, Slavic Languages & Literatures
Instructors of the less commonly taught languages (LCTLs) often find themselves in classrooms where students' language proficiency levels vary on a broad scale, spreading from novice to advanced. The question that arises in these situations is how to teach all of the students in a way that will provide for each of their individual language-progression needs, without losing classroom cohesion and interest. In such a setting, both teaching and learning pose a challenge to instructors and students alike. The UC Berkeley "Readings in Hungarian" course is a typical example of this challenge. The presentation will explore how adopting some aspects of differentiated instruction support a positive learning environment that welcomes students with different language proficiencies and helps them progress.

Developing Curricular Materials for Kurdish Language Instruction
Denis Ekici, Lecturer, Near Eastern Studies
The limited body of materials for teaching the Kurdish language has various shortcomings. While the outdated grammar books are specifically targeted for linguists interested in comparative linguistics or grammatical and linguistic analysis of the Kurdish language and ethnography, more recent textbooks suffer from numerous problems, most noticeably the scope and sequence of grammar topics as well as an absence of cultural topics and vocabulary. The BLC Fellowship provided me with the resources to address these and other shortcomings in my own grammar book in the making. Moreover, thanks to BLC’s emphasis on the importance of culture in language teaching, I was able to integrate culture more fully in my lessons by featuring cultural artifacts, icons, holidays and prominent personalities, as well as more abstract socio-cultural concepts. By addressing these issues in a textbook I am also hoping to provide guidance to language instructors on not only what to teach but also how to teach it.