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Language Matters

Languaging Across the Curriculum (LAC)

Recent Updates

November 2019: LIN 201, The Nature and Structure of Language, is a course that examines the underlying structure of human language. In Spring 2020 a recitation in Mandarin-Chinese is being offered for this class for the first time!! Registration is by permission and is for students above a 300 level in Mandarin-Chinese. Native speakers are also welcome.

October 2019: Syracuse University was recently represented at the CLAC (Cultures and Languages Across the Curriculum) Consortium Summit at the University of Chicago. The Consortium, with members from Cornell University, Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill among others, revised the vision and mission for the organization and set a work agenda for the next five years.

August 2019: LIN 201, The Nature and Structure of Language, is a course that examines the underlying structure of human language. In Fall 2019 a recitation in Spanish is being offered for this class for the first time!! Registration is by permission and is for students above a 202 level in Spanish. Native speakers are also welcome.

Guiding Questions

  • How can reading/discussing academic materials across languages (LAC) improve speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills in a foreign language (FL)?
  • How might LAC expand knowledge and cultural sensitivity toward a region, people, and their politics and foster rich, intercultural exchange around academic topics?
  • How might creating non-native/native speaker academic contact zones break down stereotypes and prejudices and foster more inclusive worldviews?
  • How might native speakers gain a broader and deeper appreciation of their homeland by studying it from abroad within a controlled academic laboratory?
  • How might LAC courses promote better international student integration on campus? How might a diverse language perspective enhance content knowledge for all students?

Background:

"Cross-cultural and multilingual inquiry affords a more complete learning experience and provides a basis for comparative understanding" (Skidmore LAC). Languaging Across the Curriculum (LAC) programs are thriving at several US universities: University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of Chicago, Colgate, Skidmore, St. Olaf etc. Regardless of major, students interested in working in global settings benefit from LAC programs by expanding language proficiency, cross-cultural understanding, and exposure to topics, readings, and research in other languages. Such internationalization would enhance Syracuse University’s Academic Strategic Plan, paralleling Bettencourt’s idea that "Languages Across the Curriculum is an option for institutions seeking to internationalize the curriculum" (57). The LAC research strand builds on current research in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics in translanguaging, language variation and change, language acquisition, bilingualism, and translation and offers new research potential in each of these areas.

Method:

Our model, successful at other LAC institutions, attaches to an anchor course an optional module in languages other than English with readings and discussion in that language open to intermediate/advanced-level language students and to native speakers of those languages. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods - pre-course and post-course surveys and the traditional research tools of their disciplines - investigators will examine data related to students’ language development and linguistic and cross-cultural proficiencies as a result of an LAC pilot at SU.

Future Goals:

  1. Complete a pilot and document data for one LAC program in Spanish, partnering with one large lecture class.
  2. Scale up, piloting programs for different courses/disciplines and languages.

References:

Bettencourt, M. (2011). Languages across the Curriculum: A response to internationalization in foreign language education. Multicultural Education, 19(1), 55-58.

Skidmore LAC. Retrieved from: https://www.skidmore.edu/wll/curriculum.php

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