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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Grant to fund uncommon languages

    The UA became one of 15 National Foreign Language Resource Centers in the country after a recent $1.23 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

    The UA formed the Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language and Literacy from this four-year, Title VI grant.

    The mission of CERCLL is to support the educational community and the nation by providing resources and research focused on culture, language and literacy in less commonly taught languages, said Linda Waugh, co-director of CERCLL and chair of the interdisciplinary doctoral program in second language acquisition and teaching.

    “”When I was learning French, it was so boring,”” said Waugh. “”We want to make it exciting to learn a language using all the new technology available.””

    The grant for CERCLL resulted from proposals by Waugh and Anne Betteridge, director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, a program that has been funded by Title VI grants since 1975.

    Title VI grants have been largely responsible for many improvements within the center, Betteridge said.

    “”They’ve provided monies for library acquisitions, faculty members, courses, outreach programs to the public and seminars,”” said Betteridge.

    CERCLL on the campus has condensed its goals into 15 projects to assist students in learning foreign languages. Some projects are already under way but will receive funding from this grant, Waugh said.

    The programs are global simulation, Portuguese for Spanish speakers, intercultural competence, OLE online learning environment, Hypermedia, MaxAuthor, learning games, Arabic poetry, LCTL literacy, modern Persian, writing systems of the world, Arabic corpora, K-16 initiatives, heritage languages and new cultures and languages.

    The Learning Games Initiative focuses on language and culture acquisition through computer game design and play.

    Ken McAllister, an associate professor of English who is one of the project directors for the learning game project, said computer games enable students to learn foreign languages.

    “”We are showing the value of learning by games,”” said McAllister.

    The project teaches instructors how to design and implement games to facilitate the learning of foreign language skills.

    The games allow students to practice for hours at a time while learning.

    The Online Learning Environment is a program the UA developed on campus and has used for a couple of years already.

    Students can record their voice and video online and submit it for their homework on the OLE Web site, erasing and re-recording as many times as needed, said Garry Forger, CERCLL’s learning technology coordinator.

    “”This is a teacher’s dream tool,”” said Martha Schulte-Nafeh, an assistant professor and Middle East language coordinator for the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. “”It promotes repetition and time on task for students without much effort on the teacher.””

    Provost George Davis said all the new possibilities and outlets for language learning are exciting.

    “”I am so proud to be a part of the University of Arizona, especially at moments like these,”” said Davis. “”Things like CERCLL emerge out of programs of established excellence.””

    For more information on other projects, visit CERCLL’s Web site at cercil.arizona.edu

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