The Second Language Teaching and Research Center (L2TReC) at the University of Utah, under the leadership of co-directors Fernando Rubio and Jane Hacking, was recently designated a Title VI National Foreign Language Resource Center. Every four years, the U.S. Department of Education designates sixteen Title VI centers across the country to support language teaching and learning. L2TReC was founded six years ago and has worked over the past several years to position itself for this successful Title VI application.The mission of L2TReC and the focus of its funded four-year proposal is to support coherent sequences of language instruction across K-16 education. If the nation is to meet the need for citizens with advanced proficiency in a second language, our education system must introduce second language study early and ensure that students can continue their study as they move through levels of schooling. With 40,000 students studying six languages in immersion programs and many adults who have lived abroad, Utah is a particularly fertile landscape for identifying and disseminating curricular and pedagogical practices that promote effective second language learning.
Over the next four years, L2TReC will continue to work closely with the Utah State Board of Education to develop a video library of effective teaching practices in K-9 immersion programs and in advanced language and culture classes for high school and college students. L2TReC will also leverage the (Mu)ltilingual (S)poken (Se)cond (L)anguage (MuSSeL) learner corpus it has been developing to deliver workshops and online modules for teachers to recognize and address patterns of difficulty in language learning.
Finally, L2TReC will address a crucial issue of access and equity by training native speakers of Nepali, Tongan, and Samoan to develop a proficiency assessment so that heritage speakers of these languages have access to the Seal of Biliteracy upon high school graduation. As many states across the country have experienced, issuing Seals of Biliteracy for less commonly taught languages can be a challenge and represents a significant barrier for learners. By documenting and sharing the process of working with heritage communities to create assessment tools, our work can be replicated in other communities across the country.
For more information, visit l2trec.utah.edu.