Heritage & Project-Based Language Learning

Two-Part Project-based Language Learning (PBLL) workshop

Where: Hosted virtually by University of California-LA

When: 23-24 October 2020 and April 30 – May 1, 2021

What: This two-part workshop introduces the principles and practices of PBLL to participants and will support the development of instructional materials that can be incorporated into the curricula of Southeast Asian language classes.

The Southeast Asia Language Council (SEALC) and UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies (UCLA CSEAS) jointly sponsored a Heritage Language and Project-Based Learning workshop on October 23-24, 2020 with workshop trainer Professor Maria Carrera of the National Heritage Language Resource Center (NHLRC) at UCLA. Due to travel restrictions that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic, the workshop was reconfigured into a two-part webinar series. For Part 1, an online workshop jointly sponsored by COTSEAL was held on October 23-24, 2020 with r 26 participants, representing 7 Southeast Asian languages from 13 universities and community colleges, with a majority from the Southeast Asia National Resource Centers. Fourteen of these instructors will participate in Part 2, which will be conducted as a virtual workshop in April 2021.

The main objective of Part 1 was to introduce the principles and practices of Project-Based Learning (PBL) to participants to strengthen the development of instructional materials that can be incorporated into the curricula of Southeast Asian language classes. Prior to the workshop, instructors were provided access to and were required to complete two online modules addressing issues pertinent to heritage language (HL) students and the tools of PBL. The online modules, developed by UCLA NHLRC, included thought exercises and prompt questions on 1) key concepts and pedagogical approaches in HL teaching and 2) understanding and meeting the language needs of HL learners.

The workshop then built procedural knowledge to train instructors on how to instantiate this PBL approach in the classroom for students at different levels of proficiency. Day 1 introduced PBL to participants and illustrated how it could complement HL teaching. Participants were divided into language-specific breakout rooms to brainstorm possible project themes and practice identifying driving questions. Day 2 trained participants on how to align the products that students develop with their proficiency level by using ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines and other standards to gauge the linguistic difficulty of projects. Each language working group met again in breakout rooms to discuss the stages of project-based instruction and select products for a sample project and then presented to the entire workshop. Participants on both days were able to work with many Southeast Asian language instructors from other universities and share ideas and recommendations for project-based teaching.

Part 2 of this workshop scheduled for April 30-May 1, 2021 will enable the 14 participants to acquire the skills needed to create modules that will be included in a digital bank of materials that will be uploaded to the SEALC website. SEALC will provide support and peer review during the development of these modules. The expected completion date for this project is August 2021.