Civic Engagement in the World Language Classroom: Community Engaged Learning (NeMLA 2022)

deadline for submissions: 
October 15, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Alessia Valfredini, Fordham University
contact email: 

I'd like to invite world language practitioners and intellectuals whose work is relevant to Community Engaged Learning to submit a proposal for the roundtable Civic Engagement in the World Language Classroom: Community Engaged Learning. [For those with limited experience but a strong interest in starting a CEL course: there will also be a workshop on the same topic, please join us at NeMLA] Format: Roundtable (3-10 participants give brief, informal presentations (5 minutes) followed by an open conversation)Language taught: Any language, any levelWhere and when: NeMLA 2022 (Baltimore, March 10-13) What are Community Engaged Learning courses?Community Engaged Learning courses respond to calls to make the class a space for social justice, in the classroom and beyond, via experiential learning. Whereas traditional service learning models add the elements of reflection, learning, and reciprocity to even more traditional views of community service, more recent reconceptualizations emphasize civic engagement directed toward social justice-oriented change (Welch, 2009).   What's the focus of this round table?As the field of world languages addresses questions of relevance and social responsibility, this round table explores possibilities, challenges, and questions raised by Community Engaged Learning (CEL) courses. I invite speakers from all language backgrounds and educational contexts to share their experiences with and reflections on teaching CEL courses in a World Language. Envisioned as a generative space, the roundtable will have ample time for exchange.   Which pressing questions prompted this roundtable?The hope is that presenters will share their experiences, including work in progress, with CEL in world language courses. Presenters are asked to reflect on pressing questions on civic engagement, such as: 

  • What are the possible connections between language learning, cultural learning, and community engagement? 
  • How can language courses address injustice from a reflective, critical, and change-oriented perspective? 
  • Which pedagogical practices are consistent with and conducive to the values of civic engagement? 
  • How can we reflect on, bring awareness to, and question/challenge the positionalities and responsibilities of all the members in the classroom community (students and instructors), within the classroom and toward the larger community? 
  • How do we build a constructive, horizontal space that respects, honors, values, and centers marginalized groups? 
  • How can we set up practices that protect vulnerable students and members of the larger community from the danger of exploitative hierarchical relationships that benefit those in positions of privilege? 

How to send a proposalSubmit your proposal: by September 30th 2021.Format: 

  • Title (100 characters max) 
  • Abstract
  • Brief bio
  • Supplemental information: What are your suggestions to make the roundtable a space that reflects the same values and ideals of the CEL model?

Interested, but have no experience? Consider also attending the NeMLA workshop on CEL language courses.I also organized a workshop with the same title. The idea is to have the workshop as a generative space where attendees who probably never taught a community engaged learning language course engage with the idea, think about possibilities and areas of challenges (from establishing equitable partnerships to integrating language with critical social engagement), and concretely imagine a CEL course in their teaching context. The session would be a venue to showcase already active CEL courses and I would hope workshop attendees will be an eager audience. I'd be happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have.  Alessia Valfredini, Ph.D. (she, her / lei)Department of Modern Languages and LiteratureFaber Hall 564441 East Fordham Rd.Bronx, NY 10458