2019 Conference Plenary Speakers
Plenary I Theme: Monolingualism: A Threat to U.S. National Security
ABSTRACT: Monolingualism is the illiteracy of the 21st Century and state and federal leaders in the United States are doing little to address it. Former Utah Senator Howard Stephenson will explore solutions to ensure wide scale adoption of measures to address the nation’s bilingual shortages for international commerce, national security, and defense. As sponsor of Utah’s highly successful Dual Language Immersion program, Stephenson is uniquely qualified to describe how the Utah model can be scaled to all 50 states and how critical languages can become common, not rare and why less commonly taught languages should be part of the mix. When all state departments of education fulfill their responsibility to provide millions of bilingual high school graduates each year, the United States will be far more secure in the world.
Plenary II Theme: The Global Seal of Biliteracy: Celebrating and Credentialing ALL Language Learners
ABSTRACT: The Global Seal of Biliteracy is excited to offer its bilingual credentials to language learners of all ages, including those in colleges and universities who have not been able to earn a Seal of Biliteracy until now. The Global Seal certifies language learners for workplace-ready skills in two or more languages as demonstrated through externally validated testing. Strengthening the concept that language learning is meaningful for real-world purposes, the Global Seal of Biliteracy awards can be transcripted as a storytelling tool.
Plenary III Theme: Enabling Final Learning Outcomes in LCTLs: Challenges and Solutions
ABSTRACT: The present plenary session will address the issue of organizing LCTL curricula around enabling final learning outcomes. In that approach syllabi are reverse-designed starting with enabling (can-do statements) based on the ILR or ACTFL scale, then proceeding to formative and summative assessment, and ending with the design of class activities. The main purpose of this session is to make the audience familiar with the challenges and solutions in transforming more traditional language programs into those with tangible and measurable enabling final learning outcomes. The first presentation is a report from the government language-learning services, which have been systematically involved in these efforts for many years now. The second presentation discusses a large-scale initiative involving numerous LCTLs at universities across the country. The final presentation is devoted to an ongoing effort to transform language teaching at one of the largest language programs in the country (with over 8,000 students). The presentations will be followed by general discussion moderated by the presenters, where all participants will get an opportunity to ask questions that are of relevance for their particular setting.
Can-dos and oughta-dos: Designing and predicting final learning outcomes for LCTLs within United States Government (USG) settings
Speaker: Dr. Scott McGinnis
The proposed presentation will address two aspects of setting and assessing final learning outcomes within the context of the United States Government (USG) in general, and within programs administered through the Washington Office of the Defense Language Institute (DLI-W) in particular. The former will provide an overview of “can-do”- based self-assessments for speaking, reading and listening proficiency developed by members of the USG language professional community under the auspices of the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) in the late 1990s and early 21st century. The latter will present the results of an over decade-long analysis of the DLI-W training matrix used to predict the number of weeks it may take to reach an ILR level based on the category of language. In Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17), DLI-W provided support for instruction in 64 difference languages, 61 of which can be classified as LCTLs.
Dr. Scott McGinnis (Ph.D., Ohio State University, 1990) is the senior Academic Advisor for the Washington Office of the Defense Language Institute (DLI). He also holds the academic rank of tenured full professor at DLI. Between 1999 and 2003, he served as the first Executive Director of the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages at the National Foreign Language Center (NFLC) in College Park, Maryland. In over three decades in the language teaching profession, he has held positions at institutions including the University of Pennsylvania and Middlebury College, and has a decade of experience as supervisor of the Chinese language programs at the University of Oregon and the University of Maryland. Dr. McGinnis has authored or edited five books and over 50 book chapters, journal articles and reviews on language pedagogy and linguistics for the less commonly taught languages (LCTL) in general, and Chinese and Japanese in particular.
Transforming language pedagogy across LCTLs
The University of Chicago Language Center is currently leading two projects – one funded by the Mellon Foundation and the other internally – to transform language pedagogy across LCTLs on their Chicago campus and across the Big Ten and Ivy Plus institutions. The projects enable language instructors to be powerful agents of change in their pedagogical practices. Through professional development activities, we deliver assessment literacy, especially with the Proficiency Guidelines, help instructors identify realistic end-of-sequence outcomes, work closely with them to develop valid and reliable assessments, and impose reverse-design as an overall framework. This talk will focus on the key importance of the operationalization of proficiency outcomes into valid assessment tasks, and then realigning curriculum to orient instruction for success on those tasks. The work we have done in multiple languages across multiple institutions is having a real impact on the ways instructors approach and implement their pedagogy.
How to Quit Non-Enabling Final Learning Objectives Cold Turkey
Speaker: Danko Šipka
This talk focuses on the opportunities and challenges of the Language Instruction Standardization Initiative, at the Arizona State University School of International Letters and Cultures to establish and assess enabling final learning outcomes based on NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-do Statements for all its language courses (with over 8,000 students). This longitudinal initiative sets and calibrates these objectives while it concurrently develops a cohort of certified testers. The initiative is performed in a highly complex environment, encompassing languages of varied language difficulty, highly enrolled and staffed CTL courses and under-enrolled LCTLS facing paucity of resources. Its eventual goal is to increase quality of instruction, enrollment in under-enrolled languages, and enable course sharing with other institutions. The talk will primarily focus on the experiences relevant for less commonly taught languages, offering solutions that can be replicated in other academic environments and pointing to the pitfalls in the process.
Danko Šipka is a professor of Slavic languages and head of the German, Slavic, and Romanian Faculty at Arizona State University, where he teaches Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Polish, and Slavic linguistics in the School of International Letters and Cultures. He also holds a titular
Plenary IV Theme: Lead Powerful Learning
ABSTRACT: The best advocacy empowers us to be proactive in creating powerful learning. Focus on your arenas of influence and how to guide language learning, support every learner, and showcase gains in proficiency. Apply high-leverage teaching strategies to boost learners’ performance. Learn from successful examples of guiding learners to make global connections. Every educator is a leader for languages.
Plenary V Theme: LCTLs and Language Activism in Washington, 2019 Edition
ABSTRACT: The 2018 mid-term elections brought the Democratic Party to control in the United States House of Representatives, and in February 2017, the Commission on Language Learning of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences issued its report, “America’s Languages: Investing in Language Learning in the 21st Century.” Subsequently, the Academy established the America’s Languages Working Group, to bring the five recommendations of the Commission to life. Dr. Bill Rivers, Executive Director of JNCL-NCLIS, and America’s language lobbyist, is a member of the Working Group, and will discuss current legislative and societal initiatives to improve the national capacity in LCTLs.
Bill Rivers has more than 25 years’ experience in culture and language for economic development and national security, with publications in second and third language acquisition research, proficiency assessment, program evaluation, and language policy development and advocacy. He is the immediate past and founding Chair of ASTM Technical Committee F43, Language Services and Products and chairs the U.S. Technical Advisory Group to ISO Technical Committee 232, Education and Learning Services. He serves as a member of the America’s Languages Working Group of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is an honorary member of the Association of Language Companies.