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C&I Shines at MCTLC

November 8, 2013

MontgomeryMcFadden2.jpgThe Department of Curriculum and Instruction was well-represented this year at the Minnesota Council on the Teaching of Languages and Cultures (MCTLC) annual conference on October 17 and 18. One of our post-baccalaureate students from last year, Meghan McFadden, won the Outstanding Student Teacher Award. And, PhD student and teacher supervisor, Mary Lynn Montgomery received one of five STAR Awards.

This year's conference theme, the 21st Century Classroom, highlighted innovation happening across classrooms and their platforms, from fully face-to-face to fully virtual. Workshops and sessions will support three areas in which language educators excel and explore: communication, collaboration, and technology.

Congratulations to Meghan and Mary Lynn.

Please visit our program pages for more information on the initial licensure program or the PhD program in Second Languages and Cultures.

SLC in StarTrib 11-4.jpgThis month, C&I Faculty in Second Languages and Cultures have been tapped for their expertise in English language learning in Minnesota Public Schools. Last week, the Star Tribune ran the story, "Minnesota students learning English face an uphill battle, but innovations are helping."

In the article, Professor Kendall King suggests, "Many students come to school multilingual, with these rich oral traditions. Yet many don't have formal schooling, and may not be proficient in English or in academic language. It's a huge challenge."

Lecturer Susan Ranney offered additional insights, saying, "People can get fooled by conversational fluency. Academic language is much more complex and takes more time to learn. And it's much more crucial to pick up." Additionally, Ranney explains that the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) exams paint an incomplete picture of what is really happening in schools. Often, only struggling students are counted as English language learners; progress and success not represented in those test scores.

To read the full article, please visit the Star Tribune's website. For additional information on Second Languages and Cultures, please visit the Second Languages and Cultures program area page.

Three Curriculum and Instruction graduate students, Justin Grinage (Culture and Teaching Track), Christopher Kolb (Literacy Education Track), and Sadaf Rauf (Second Languages and Cultures Track), along with C&I department chair, Nina Asher, gave two presentations at the 2013 Bergamo Conference on Curriculum Theory and Classroom Practice, held at the Bergamo Conference Center in Dayton, OH.

  • Asher and Kolb presented a co-authored paper titled, "Toward Educational Re-vision in a Time of Globalization and Standardization: Looking Deeply as a Means of Breaking the Confines of Capitalism."
  • Grinage, Kolb and Rauf each presented a paper in a panel discussion called, "Race, Language, Nation, and Curriculum in a Global Context," while Asher served as session chair. These presentations emerged out of the work the students did in Asher's graduate seminar, Postcolonialism, Globalization, and Education last Spring and were very well received.

Grinage.jpgJustin Grinage (pictured) was selected as the winner of the 2013 Bergamo Graduate Student Paper Award. His paper, "Reterritorializing Locations of Home," will be published in the Journal of Curriculum Theorizing. This was Justin's first presentation at a national conference.

For more information about Asher's research, please see her faculty profile. If you would like to know more about the Ph.D. program tracks mentioned, please visit our Future Student - Ph.D. webpages.

Vasa pic.jpgCurriculum and Instruction Associate Professor, Diane Tedick represented the United States at an international expert seminar on language immersion teacher education, held Oct. 15-16 at the University of Vaasa, Finland. In addition to the U.S. and host Finland, other countries represented were Canada, Estonia, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Spain, and Wales.

The seminar was covered by the Finnish newspaper, Vasabladet last Thursday, in the article, "Gott språk är ett gott råd" which translates to "Proper language is a good piece of advice." The article discusses parental roles and attitudes in language immersion.

For more information on Diane Tedick's research on language immersion, see her faculty profile.

TedickD-128x180.jpgCurriculum and Instruction Associate Professor, Diane Tedick (pictured) and co-author Laurent Cammarata (a Ph.D. graduate of the Second Languages and Cultures track) have just been awarded the 2013 ACTFL-MLJ Paul Pimsleur Award for Research in Foreign Language Education for their article titled "Balancing content and language in instruction: The experience of immersion teachers," published in 2012 in the Modern Language Journal, and for their contributions to research in content-based language instruction and immersion education.

The article investigates immersion teachers' lived experience with content and language integration. Research on immersion teaching shows that immersion teachers tend to focus on subject matter content at the expense of language teaching. The response to that research has often entailed suggestions for teachers on how better to integrate language and content in their instruction. However, missing from the discussion are rich descriptions of the actual experiences that immersion teachers have as they attempt to balance language and content in their teaching. After analyzing the results of the study, Tedick and Cammarata share findings and potential reforms to increase the language learning potential of immersion programs.

For more information about the award, please visit The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages' website.

TedickD-120x150.jpgThis month, C&I's Diane Tedick, Associate Professor in Second Languages and Cultures, has been tapped by a California community for her expertise in dual language and immersion education. A group of parents and educators in Orange County's Little Saigon neighborhood are advocating for the state's first Vietnamese-English dual immersion program. Tedick supports this kind of initiative citing powerful benefits of biliteracy including better performance in English, as well as other subjects.

However, not everyone in the community sees the proposal for a Vietnamese-English immersion program in a favorable light. In May, Jim Tortolano, a journalist in California, and editor and publisher of the Garden Grove Journal, posted an editorial on the possible political reasons for pursuing a Vietnamese-English dual immersion program. In an article titled "Jim Tortolano's Retorts: 'Immersion' or segregation?", he expresses skepticism for the educational benefits of immersion programs and some reservations for the cost.

He questions, "And where does it all end? Will we have immersion programs in Spanish, Korean and Arabic soon after? I suppose we will if the votes are there, regardless of the absence of any apparent educational benefit. What, also, about the cost? You'd have to buy books in every subject in the foreign language. Are there many calculus or U.S. history textbooks in Vietnamese? Can we afford to hire dozens, perhaps hundreds of teachers because they have that fluency?"

This month, Tedick authored a response to Tortolano's concerns and addressed some misinformed beliefs commonly held about immersion programs. In "Immersion programs are a good idea" Tedick states: "In high quality two-way programs, ELs achieve at levels that are comparable or superior to their [English Learner] peers' in the same school district and state. In fact, ELs who attend two-way programs and are eventually reclassified by state criteria as proficient in English on average tend to do even better than native English speakers being schooled only in English on measures of reading/language arts and math achievement. Two-way programs are the most effective program model we have today when it comes to teaching ELs."

Tedick also addresses concerns over cost, cultural assimilation and segregation. Read Diane Tedick's full editorial at

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