Liberal Arts News

Department of World Languages Faculty Symposium

Posted on November 21, 2014

IMG_2225On 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 a provocative question: how can (and should) language teachers respond when students make astute observations about the language and ask “why”? Do they tell the truth? He argues 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 the audience of 20 students and 11 faculty. 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.

EDGE Francophone Film Night

Posted on November 21, 2014
Edge Francophone Film Night_4On Monday, November 3, twenty-nine UCA students joined Dr. Katelyn Knox, Assistant Professor of French in the Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures for a celebration of sub-Saharan African culture held in EDGE residential college. After preparing a feast of tomato, corn, and avocado salad; chicken and beef brochettes (skewers); peanut soup; rice; tropical fruit salad; and fried plantains, the group watched by Burkinabe filmmaker Dani Kouyaté’s Keïta! ou, L'héritage du griot [Keïta! Voice of the Griot] (1997)—a modern retelling of the myth of Sundiata Keïta, founder of the Malian empire. Though set in a time and place far from our own, the young Mabo’s struggles to find his own balance between recognizing his cultural heritage and affirming his individuality raised those very questions central to the EDGE mission: Where do we call our home? What roles do familial, regional, and national histories, cultures, and values play in our daily lives? And what discussions unite us as humans across geographical, historical, and cultural lines?