Languages in Communities: Interdisciplinary and Community-Based Project-Learning in Second Language Acquisition

deadline for submissions: 
April 1, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Adrián Gras-Velázquez, Ph.D.
contact email: 

Call for Chapters:

Proposals Submission Deadline: April 1st 2017

Full Chapters Due: October 1st 2017

Abstract:

The goal is to create a volume that discusses pedagogy on language learning through interdisciplinary project-based learning activities that bring students to start building a community of practice within the classroom setting but move into the local academic community. Building cultural and global competency, interdisciplinary and community-based projects allow taking advantage of the diversity at our institutions. The familiarity of students with their environment, plus the fact that students are exposed to instructors who are from different cultural and academic backgrounds, offers a unique opportunity to explore all types of diversity in their own community.

College communities form part and are at times a micro-cosmos of the globalized times we live in. The term globalization, however, creates an inevitable homogenizing framework, and as Waters and Brooks (2012) assert, ‘by capturing ‘everything’, globalization actually succeeds in explaining very little’ (2012, 26). Although the term itself is an attractive concept that captures ‘the vast, complex and seemingly unstoppable changes occurring in economies and societies around the world’ (2012, 26), it does also potentially reduce our understanding of our environments to that of an ‘undifferentiated sameness’ (Ley, 2010: 4). With this caveat in mind, the type of project-based learning outlined above help students to understand their college community from a transnational perspective, allowing them to work first-hand on issues of race, diversity, or cultural identity, amongst others. Our intention with projects where students interact with members of their own learning environment is to broaden their understanding of the multicultural, multilingual, and multi-identity community they live in. As Pauwels (2014) argues, the majority of universities have significant international student populations that transform campuses ‘into a multilingual and multicultural hub’ (2014: 46). We would add that not only students are the ones transforming campuses, but also faculty and staff help create a multicultural and global background. By actively interacting with foreign-language speaking members of our communities, the students can come face to face with issues of migration and transnational identities while, at the same time, and most importantly, make progress in their second language learning.

In addition, including an interdisciplinary perspective to language learning helps not only build bridges within our college departments and areas of study, but also allows students to experience and understand language in action. By bringing language-learning outside of the classroom grammar-learning setting and combining it with other areas of study (not only in the humanities, but also the social and natural sciences), students face a more holistic learning experience. Through interactive projects that broaden their use of the target language, an interdisciplinary and community-based learning experience allows us to take advantage of the resources at our own institutions and nearby communities, and encourages students to deepen their second language acquisition skills. 

Areas of Interests: Second language acquisition and project-based learning within interdisciplinary perspectives and/or community-based activities.

Submission Procedure:

  • Submissions must include a working title, 250-300 word abstracts attached as Word documents, the author's academic affiliation and contact information.
  • In your email, please include a 2-3 sentences biography.
  • Email chapter proposals to Dr. Adrián Gras-Velázquez (agrasve1@swarthmore.edu) by April 1st 2017.
  • Authors will be informed of the result of the selection by May 15st 2017.
  • Complete papers (15-20 pages), will be due by October 1st 2017.