NeMLA 2023 - sessions on foreign language teaching

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association
contact email: 

Project-based learning in foreign language teaching (Roundtable) - Abstract
In foreign language classes, project-based learning (PBL) activities are long-term, multi-step, multi-modal tasks that allow students to collaborate and create tangible cultural products. These projects encourage students’ ownership, accountability, motivation, and critical and creative thinking (Bourns, Krueger, and Mills, 2020). Students involved in PBL also hone collaboration skills that are highly valued in various work environments (Liebech-Lien and Sjølie, 2021). Some of the many projects students can undertake are theater performances, short movies, podcasting, film dubbing, art exhibits, and concerts. While the benefits of PBL for language learning are evident, its implementation is not without challenges. Instructors must structure these projects in advance by setting clear goals, creating guidelines and rubrics, and anticipating possible problems. They must also align the goals of their PBL activities with the already established goals of their language curricula, which are often not up to individual instructors but set by departments. Finally, as often noted, collaboration among students and instructors is critical to the success of PBL activities (Di Blasio and Ardeni, 2022).

This roundtable aims to explore experiences and outcomes of integrating project-based learning (PBL) activities in foreign language classes. Participants are invited to illustrate their theoretical and practical approach and benefits, challenges, and general reflections that can help other instructors adopt PBL activities in their teaching practice.
—— Translation & interpreting in Foreign Language and Culture Courses (Panel) - Co-chair: Diana Palenzuela Rodrigo, Assistant Instructional Professor in Spanish Abstract
In the last twenty years, translation and translation studies have been experiencing momentous developments, while the role of translators as linguistic and cultural mediators is becoming increasingly important. The 2007 MLA report “Foreign Languages and Higher Education: New Structures for a Changed World” pushed toward the development of translation and interpretation programs within language departments, stating that “translation is an ideal context for developing translingual and transcultural skills as an organizing principle of the language curriculum” (2007). Additionally, in December 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that employment in this field would grow 24% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average. These are some of the reasons why, nowadays, numerous institutions offer translation and interpreting courses in the United States. Regarding foreign language teaching, the comeback of students’ first language in the classroom has led scholars to suggest that language pedagogy has entered a “translation turn” (Carreres et al., 2018). The benefits of using translation in the classroom are multifaceted. Translation pedagogy helps second language learners, heritage speakers, and multilingual students acquire new language structures and vocabulary. Translation pedagogy also improves students’ cultural awareness, intercultural competencies, and literacy skills. According to Sonia Colina and Sarah Albrecht (2021), “through translation, the students are using the first and second language to mediate meaning linguistically and culturally and are reaching new levels of intercultural awareness” (“Introduction,” para. 2). 

In this changing learning and working environment, what role do B.A. language programs play in preparing minors and majors for careers in translation and interpreting? What new language courses should existing curricula integrate? What activities should instructors offer to intermediate and advanced students to better understand the profession, develop essential translation skills, and meet the linguistic goals of a language course?

This panel aims to explore ways in which translation and interpreting can be integrated into or be the focus of intermediate and advanced language courses. Some topics to consider might be (1.) translation/interpreting theory and practice; (2.) translation pedagogy; (3.) community-based translation; (4.) specialized translation: legal, scientific-technical, medical, financial, literary, multimedia (AV, websites, blogs, comics); (5.) translation/interpreting methodology; (6.) liaison, consecutive and simultaneous interpreting; and (7.) translation software and technology. Presenters are invited to share their approach to integrating translation in second-language classrooms and their practical solutions in designing courses, choosing class materials, and creating assessments.