The U of A World Languages, Literatures and Cultures will host a public meeting and symposium

The U of A’s Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures will host a two-day event promoting world language education in Arkansas. A town hall and reception focused on “Mapping the Future of Language Education in Arkansas” will be held Friday, April 8 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Inn at Carnall Hall. The Symposium on Spanish and World Languages ​​will take place on Saturday, April 9 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Donald W. Reynolds Center. Registration and free online presentation link below).

Friday, keynote speaker Sam EisenDirector of Programs of the National Security Education Program (NSEP) of the United States Department of Defense, will present on “World Languages ​​for National Security and Global Competitiveness: Needs, Opportunities, Careers”. The presentation addresses language gaps in the national security sector (including Spanish), some of the economic needs identified in some of the state roadmap projects, and introduces grant and scholarship programs as well as careers of NSEP alumni. The main presentation will be preceded by a performance of Latin American music by Lía Uribe, Miroslava Panayotova, Matt Brusca and Fernando Valencia.

Saturday, keynote speaker Kim Potowski, The University of Illinois, Chicago will present “Apples and Oranges: The Best Approaches to Working with Native Spanish Speakers”.

Heritage speakers are increasingly common in Spanish classrooms in the United States, and they differ in important ways from beginning second-language students. What are the typical profiles of native speakers (“apples”) and how are they linguistically and emotionally different from second language students (“oranges”)? How can we determine the appropriate curricular objectives, pedagogical approaches and placement procedures to best serve heritage speakers? And what can instructors do when it’s not possible to hold a separate course for heritage speakers, resulting in a classroom with a mixture of ‘apples’ and ‘oranges’? Teachers of both types of students are invited to learn more about this important aspect of our profession.

The public meeting is part of an upcoming report on Spanish in Arkansas, addressing the following questions: What is the state of world language education in Arkansas? How far are we from meeting national standards and how do we compare to surrounding states? What are the challenges and opportunities of teaching world languages ​​in our state? The report will be a policy guidance document that will assess the state of K-16 Spanish education in Arkansas and provide key recommendations for continuing world language education in our state. . The report is expected to be released in fall 2022.

The Symposium on Teaching Spanish and World Languages ​​is a collaborative effort of the Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the U of A and the Department of World Languages ​​at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.

The main objective of the symposium is to provide an opportunity for teachers of Spanish and other world languages ​​at the elementary, secondary and university levels to come together to share ideas, best practices and cutting-edge research on teaching. languages, literatures and cultures.

Home to global businesses and vibrant multilingual immigrant communities, world language education is highly relevant in Arkansas today, providing our students with an education that will empower them to build more just and inclusive communities and to be effective and ethical global citizens and leaders.

The two initiatives, the Spanish Landscape Report and the Spanish and World Languages ​​Symposium, are part of the grant Arkansas’ participation in a community of 500 million people; Building Innovation Capacity in Spanish Education Statewide, a two-pronged project funded by the U of A Chancellor Humanities Fellowship and co-sponsored by the Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures; the Spanish program; the Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies program; the Latin American and Latin American Studies program; the Diane D. Blair Center for Southern Politics and Society; and Vista Higher Learning.

The project is led by professors Luis Fernando Restrepo, Brenda Magnetti, Raquel Castro Salas and Elkin Pérez, and doctoral student Chloe Spellman. Professor Rebecca Foote, Betina Arellano and Farrah Beck, intern at the Clinton School of Public Service, also participated in this project.

To register or for more information, visit or email [email protected]

Friday’s presentation by Eisen can be accessed here via Zoom.

Saturday’s presentation by Potowski can be accessed here via Zoom.

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