On Tuesday, October 21, 2014, at the inaugural installment of the Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures’ Faculty Symposium, Associate Professor of Spanish Dr. John Parrack raised some provocative questions: “How can (and should) language teachers respond when students make astute observations about the language and ask “why”? Do they tell the truth?”
He argued that despite objections that giving a “truthful” answer takes away valuable class time better spent on activities in the target language, responding truthfully can, in fact, positively impact learner motivation, intuition, confidence, and interest. He presented some of the preliminary findings from a quantitative study he is conducting alongside UCA Assistant Professor of Spanish, Dr. Travis Sorenson, to an audience of 20 students and 11 faculty members. His study offers an intriguing suggestion: non-communicative historical linguistic activities, when incorporated in a structured and deliberate manner, can have communicative outcomes.
Ultimately, Dr. Parrack’s presentation, “Telling the Truth: Historical Linguistics, Learner Motivation and Outcomes in Beginning Spanish,” sparked larger, fruitful discussions between students and faculty regarding both students’ and instructors’ considerations in the language classroom—discussions that will, no doubt, continue to shape how UCA faculty approach language teaching.
For more information concerning the events in the World Languages Department, contact Phillip Bailey at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (501) 450-5645.