[MGSA-L] MGSA Language Pedagogy Workshop, "Foreign Language Literacy": an invitation
aleontis at umich.edu
Sun Jul 3 07:07:25 PDT 2016
MGSA Pedagogy workshop: "Foreign Language Literacy": An invitation to
attend and call to present
The 7th biennial MGSA Pedagogy Workshop, focused on "Foreign Language
Literacy," will take place at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island
on November 4–5, 2016, with local support from the Brown Modern Greek
Program and Center for Language Studies.
The conference will explore current research on foreign language
literacies, including digital literacies, within the framework of
humanistic learning at the tertiary level in North America and study abroad
programs in Greece and Cyprus. Rick Kern, Professor (Professor and Director
of the UC-Berkeley Language Center, and author of Language, Literacy, and
Technology, Cambridge UP, 2015), will give the keynote address on "Teaching
Languages and Literacies for Communicative Competence and Beyond: Toward a
The workshop is organized by a steering committee comprised of members of
the MGSA Undergraduate Committee and prior organizers of MGSA pedagogy
workshops. The invitation to attend, details on the workshop topic and
structure, and a call to present are given below. The precise location and
places to stay in Providence will be listed shortly.
A warm invitation is issued to people teaching in the fields comprising
Modern Greek studies, particularly Greek language and related undergraduate
courses on Greece, and to those developing, directing, or coordinating
undergraduate curricula that include Greek instruction at the tertiary
level. As a basic starting point for workshop participation, Rick Kern's
Language, Literacy, and Technology is highly recommended reading.
Registration is free, and no poor registration is required.
This is a marvelous professional development occasion. MGSA pedagogy
workshops are lively, stimulating events offering hands on learning that
aims toward improving practical as well as theoretical understanding of the
teaching process in the rapidly changing learning environment of higher
education. Participants grapple with real teaching and course planning
problems in concrete ways in the contest of a current pedagogical concern
through activities offered by the presenters, the members of the (current
and prior) steering committee.
The 1-1/2 day workshop has the following structure):
Friday, November 4, 4:00 -6:00
• Opening remarks by Elsa Amanatidou to set the agenda for the workshop.
• Keynote Presentation: Rick Kern (Professor and Director of the
UC-Berkeley Language Center, and author of Language, Literacy, and
Technology (Cambridge UP, 2015). This is a confirmed event.
• Group dinner
Saturday, November 5,
• 9:30-Noon: Structured presentations by steering committee members and
• Noon to 1:30 Lunch and poster presentations (see call for presentations
• 1:30 to 3: Structured presentations by steering committee members and
• Roundtable discussion (see call for presentations below)
Why Literacy? “Foreign language literacy” is a relatively new term that
aims to bridge the gap between communicative language skills acquired at
basic levels of language ability and the more interpretative and critical
skills and interactions with discourse usually associated with the study of
literature at a higher level of language proficiency. The idea has become
the driving force of curricular configurations in many language programs
across the country, aiming to emphasize the importance of foreign language
education in the humanistic intellectual endeavor and educational missions
of universities and colleges across the US.
Concerned with both an analytical and a critical engagement with language,
foreign language literacy identifies the learning outcomes of studying a
foreign language in terms of language proficiency, mastery of content, and
development of cognitive abilities. It therefore expands the notion of
competence, traditionally conceived as communicative and functional
proficiency, to include familiarity, interpretation, and reflection on
fields of knowledge and cultural narratives that appear in all modalities
and in a variety of contexts. A literacy oriented foreign language
curriculum aims to cultivate students’ ability to understand, critically
interpret, and use language, in writing, as well as orally, while also
paying attention to the conventions that make meaning possible, in the
different genres and forms of expression, text-based or media-based that
they study and produce. Such socially oriented practices in the modern
foreign language classroom are, of course, in line with revised definitions
of literacy that take into account the fact that nowadays the sociocultural
contexts of language use unfold in a digital landscape and are no longer
exclusively bound with written materials.
Some of the questions and pedagogical issues we hope to discuss in the
context of presentations are:
− How has the definition of literacy changed in the twenty-first century?
− Literacy or Literacies?
− What is the role of digital literacies in the foreign language
− What are the organizing principles of a literacy-based curriculum?
− What are the links between objectives, rubrics, materials, assessment
practices and outcomes? For example, how can we develop literacy through
the three modes of communication? Or how is project-based literacy achieved
in a foreign language classroom?
− What is the role of genre in the development of foreign language
literacy, in a three year curriculum at college level? (Examples of
practice from other language programs and recommendations)
− How can we rethink the three-year college level Greek Curriculum in
order to better align it with literacy goals?
− How can we best configure language classes for Heritage learners in
order to maximize their literacy potential?
− How can we best articulate syllabi for Greek for specific purposes
(for Archaeologists, for Medical purposes, for Business) in order to create
literacy-driven, content-based courses?
− How do Study Abroad programs fit in the development of foreign
− How can literacy-driven Modern Greek Programs effectively address
concerns regarding enrollment figures, especially in Modern Greek Programs
nested in Classics but also in other departments?
– How can translation as a process of that invites students to become
practitioners and interpreters of cross language mediation help cultivate
foreign language literacy
Call for presentations: The organizing committee is seeking participation
from people teaching Greek undergraduate courses in the tertiary
environment described above who wish to make short presentations in the
form of a poster or 10-minute brainstorming talk in roundtable discussion
addressing one of the questions listed above. As these must be approved
ahead of time, anyone interested in making a short presentation should send
a proposal of the project, its relevance to foreign language literacy,
bibliography, and the form it will take (poster or 10-minute statement of a
project and problem) to the organizing committee by September 1, 2016.
Please address your proposals to Artemis Leontis (aleontis at umich.edu).
The MGSA Undergraduate Committee and Language Pedogogy Workshop Steering
Committee members are:
Artemis Leontis, University of Michigan (MGSA UC chair)
Elsa Amanatidou, Brown University (MGSA UC member and workshop organizer)
Despina Margomenou, University of Michigan (MGSA UC member)
Vassiliki Rapti, Emerson College (MGSA UC member)
George Syrimis, Yale University (former workshop organizer and Steering
Steering committee consultants are prior organizers of pedagogy workshops:
Frank Hess, Indiana University; and Martha Klironomou, San Francisco State
Professor of Modern Greek, Department of Classical Studies
University of Michigan
Arts & Humanities Editor, Journal of Modern Greek Studies
email: aleontis at umich.edu
office address: 2160 Angell Hall, 435 S. State Street Ann Arbor MI 48109
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