Portuguese American Journal

Less Commonly Taught Languages – Conference

The Language Resource Center of Columbia University together with the Columbia Global Centers and the Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning is organizing a one day conference, Saturday, April 30, 2011, on the theme of “What Future for the Less Commonly Taught Languages?” This conference is the first in a planned series of conferences exploring topics germane to the teaching and learning of less commonly taught languages the Center will host in the coming years.

The Portuguese languague is among the LCTLs which include ,Chinese (Cantonese), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian,  Slovak, Tamil, Thai, Ukrainian, Urdu and Vietnamese.

 The conference taking place at the Dag Hammarskjolds Lounge, 15th Floor, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, aims to bring together language teachers, educators, administrators and other stakeholders to discuss, and share research, theory, and best practices on the current state and future of the LCTL as well as initiate a meaningful professional dialogue on this topic amongst those who are interested in sustaining the teaching and learning of LCTL at US institutions.

 Scott McGinnis, the conference plenary speaker, is  Academic Advisor and Associate Professor, Defense Language Institute, Washington Office. Others speakers include, Dan Davidson – Professor of Russian and Second Language Acquisition at Bryn Mawr College Maria Carreira – Professor of Spanish at California State University, Long Beach Nancy Ruther – Associate Director, The MacMillan Center, Yale University Alan Timberlake – Professor of Russian and Chair, Slavic Department, Columbia University. 

Some of the topics that will be addressed by the speakers will include: 

– How do we conjugate the national priority in LCTL with the overall neglect for LCTL at many of our institutions?

– How do we address the systemic lack of funding for LCTL within our academic institutions?

– What structures should we put in place in order to better develop and sustain LCTL?

– What role do heritage learners and bilingual speakers play in reinforcing LCTL programs?

– How can technology help us overcome some of the barriers that prohibit us from achieving critical mass in some LCTL?

– Is the rise of some LCTL (Chinese, Arabic, etc) accomplished at the detriment of other LCTL in terms of institutional support?

– Is the emergence of lingua franca among the LCTL synonymous with diminishing support for other LCTL in the same geographic area?

– How can we better coordinate our efforts to promote the teaching and learning of LCTL regionally as well as nationally? 

For more information, contact Stephane Charitos at sc758@columbia.edu

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