Languages, Literatures, & Cultures

Languages, Literatures, & Cultures

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Abstracts

This article reports the findings from a longitudinal assessment following a faculty development project. The author describes a three-year project of interactive, multimedia courseware development for foreign language learning, including the project organization, faculty training and student involvement. The instruments designed for the assessment of the effectiveness of the project are presented and discussed. Successes and failures are summarized based on the evaluations of courseware authored by faculty conducted over a period of four academic semesters. The author discusses the impact of the empirical observations that emerged during the course of this longitudinal study on the management of CALL development projects for professional advancement of language faculty.

Contending theories are typical of disciplines that endeavor to explain multifaceted phenomena. Similarly, research on second language (L2) acquisition reflects the complexity of learning a language other than one�s native tongue. Is there one unified theory of L2 acquisition? What are the theoretical bases of various approaches to L2 acquisition? What are the practical implications for L2 teaching and material development? This article examines several theoretical approaches which have evolved in the field in the past three decades and their practical implications for L2 teaching.

This article reports the findings from a longitudinal assessment following a three-year project of faculty training in the design and development of interactive, multimedia courseware for the study of second languages and cultures. A multidisciplinary approach to faculty development included training in language acquisition theories, cultural studies, instructional design and computing skills. Participating faculty were awarded stipends to travel to the target countries and afterward employ authentic materials for the authoring of interactive courseware. The author's examination of the potential of a cognitive apprenticeship model for the study of culture is based on the analysis of faculty and students' perceptions of the effectiveness of the courseware. Parts of this study were presented at the 10th International CALL Conference "CALL Professionals and the Future of CALL Research" at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, 2002.

This year marks Comenius's (1592-1670) one hundred tenth birthday. Along with Avicenna, Bruno Bettelheim, Erasmus, John Dewy and other world's greatest pedagogues, John Amos Comenius (Yan Amos Komensky, in Bohemian) belongs to the cohort of philosophers and innovators who over the centuries contributed to the development of the field of education. Barely recognized until a century ago, Comenius was an outstanding thinker whose views on education foreshadowed those of Rousseau. Although his writings were translated into English earlier in the 20th century, it was Piaget's 1957 edition of Comenius's works that introduced the Czech thinker to a broad contemporary audience. She has aptly noted at that time that it is important to examine "what makes the vital unity of the thinking of the great Czech specialist in theory and practice, and to compare this with what we know and want today" (11). This essay is a tribute to Comenius�s educational philosophy, particularly his views on language instruction in relation to contemporary views on foreign language pedagogy.

The purpose of this study was to explore the effectiveness of group video viewing in a foreign language curriculum. The investigation was based on Destinos (VanPatten et al., 1997), a comprehension-based, video driven instructional package that is currently used by 763 universities and 1,383 school districts nationwide for teaching of the Spanish language (Martin, 1997). The study examined the effects of listening tasks performed by learners during video viewing on their immediate comprehension and further retention of the video episodes. The researcher investigated three conditions of group video viewing: (1) using traditional, exposure-only technique (passive viewing of an episode from beginning to end), as recommended by the authors of Destinos; (2) using viewing guides designed for the present investigation, which included research-based listening tasks, and (3) using the same viewing guides in combination with teacher intervention, based on a cognitive apprenticeship model (Collins, Brown, and Newman, 1989). The study was conducted at Muhlenberg College. Eighty-nine students enrolled in four sections of third-semester Spanish participated in the experiment for ten weeks. Two instructors in the study used the same syllabus and taught one control and one experimental group each. The researcher examined 44 measures on the dependent variables. The findings of the study indicate: (1) both experimental treatments facilitate immediate comprehension of a videotext [F (2, 83) = 2.61; F (2, 72) = 11.32, p < .05]; (2) viewing guides used in combination with teacher intervention appear to be the most effective viewing condition with regard to retention of the information from Destinos [F (2, 81) = 5.39, p < .05; F (2, 78) = 9.83, p < .05]; (3) participants who used the viewing guides in combination with teacher intervention were significantly more enthusiastic about the effectiveness of those guides than students who used the same viewing guides with no teacher intervention condition [t (43) = 2.8, p < .05]. The findings suggest that learners who perform listening tasks during video viewing receive a triple benefit: better comprehension of a videotext; better retention for further application; and more satisfaction from video-based language learning. However, listening tasks are apparently more beneficial when they are conducted in an interactive, teacher-guided mode.