Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Community Service Learning at ACTFL 2011

by Ann Abbott

In just about one month I'll be flying to Denver for the ACTFL 2011 Convention. It's exciting for me because I get to see old friends from grad school, friends who were once TAs that I supervised and friends from publishing, especially the Pearson/Prentice Hall world languages team. 

If you will be at ACTFL, let me know! I'd love to meet up.

I will be giving a session titled "How to Prepare Service-Learning Lesson Plans: Synthesizing Best Practices" on Friday, November 18 from 3:45 to 4:45 in Room 304 of the Colorado Convention Center. Here is some more information:

In service learning (SL), students work in the community; but what happens in class? This session presents a lesson-planning model that weaves SL pedagogy into the same task-based, communicative activities foreign language instructors already use. Examples include adding SL activities to standing lesson plans as well as building new plans.

Instructors may feel that service learning (SL) requires them to totally transform what and how they teach. On the contrary, once the SL work has been added to a course design, successful lesson plans incorporate the same, familiar elements they already use: vocabulary building, grammar instruction, the 5 C’s, the four skills, communicative and task-based activities, etc.  The trick is to adapt the content of those activities to reflect students’ experiences in the community. 

We illustrate the lesson-planning model with a sample lesson plan designed for the intermediate level and based on a common foreign language SL scenario: students working as ESL tutors.  Activities include listening, speaking, reading and writing. The vocabulary relates to basic tutoring activities; grammar instruction focuses on formal commands; students read about ESL pedagogy; finally, students prepare a poster with good tutoring “commands” to be displayed in the tutoring space.

By doing a search of the program, I came up with these other results for service learning:
However, I know that this is just a partial list because my own title didn't show up in the search! I will search out more sessions and report on them from the conference.

Here are some more sessions that I interest me.
1. Holly Nibert will talk about her work with international TAs in her language program coordination and TA Training: "Promoting the Intercultural Competence of International TAs in the Classroom." 
2. Bill VanPatten's talks are always informative, and he has two this year.
3. For Portuguese, Fernanda Fereira will talk about "Improving Speaking and Writing Practice in Spanish and Portuguese."
4. Audrey Heining-Boynton is a wonderful speaker and will be involved in several sessions, including one about communities.
5. My colleauge from German who always does wonderful things, Cori Crane, will speak on "
Teaching Emotional and Evaluative Language in the German Classroom"

Once I have the printed program in my hands, I will search for more CSL presentations. If you're giving a presentation, please leave a comment so that we can all know!

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