FLTA Workshop:
Teaching Less Commonly
Taught Langauges
Tuesday 8/16/11
Syracuse University
Professor Erika Haber
Learning Outcomes
 To understand the concept of LCTL
 To identify your target audience and its needs
 To learn how to choose suitable pedagogical practices
 To learn to prepare a lesson plan with appropriate
content and pacing
 To discuss the use of technology
 To explore useful websites for teaching Russian &
“Approximately 91% of Americans who
study foreign languages in our schools,
colleges, and universities choose French,
German, Italian, or Spanish; while only 9%
choose languages such as Arabic, Chinese,
Japanese, Russian, Swahili and the other
languages spoken by the overwhelming
majority of people around the world.”
(*National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL): http://www.councilnet.org/)
Less Commonly Taught Languages
 Less well-known both linguistically and
 Dispelling the
 Generally smaller enrollments; few study in
high school
 First contact with the language, alphabet,
Goals of Teaching LCTL
Remember your audience!
 Two-year programs vs. majors
 Fluency often not a possibility
 Not a career path, but often a needed skill set
 Adults in the role of children
 Heritage speakers
Pedagogical Approaches
 Grammar-based approaches
-Cyclical teaching/learning
 Communicative approach
-Using Photographs in the LCTL class
 Task-based learning
-Using Menus in the LCTL class
Creating Daily Lesson Plans
 Understanding your particular students &
group dynamic of the class
 Creating conducive atmosphere: seating, visual
access, emotional comfort
 Choosing names and identities
 Small talk
 The “difficult” alphabet
Creating Daily Lesson Plans, cont.
 Brief grammar explanations & Exercises
 Readings, videos, music, websites, cartoons,
 Cultural topics (big and small C)
 Specifically communicative tasks
 Allow time for questions/discussion/student
The Use of Technology & Space
Blackboard https://bbgroupa.syr.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp
SCOLA http://www.scola.org/Scola/Default.aspx
YouTube, itunes U podcasts, blogs, Skype
Prepare and test everything ahead of time!
Always have a Plan B
Seating and Walking
Interacting and board work
Websites for Resources and Ideas
 Cyrillic with pronunciation: http://www.friendspartners.org/oldfriends/language/russian-alphabet.html
 How to write Cyrillic and more pronunciation help:
 Russian Names: http://knigaimen.narod.ru/imena/all/a.html
 Russian Word of the Day: http://shininghappypeople.net/rwotd/
 Russian Language Learning Resources:
 Russian grammar, dictionaries and games: http://www.gramota.ru/
Resources, continued
 Beard's Interactive Russian grammar:
 Teacher Resource Center: http://www.teachrussian.org/
 Why study Russian: http://modules.russnet.org/why/
 Interactive Encyclopedia of Contemporary Russian:
 School of Russian and Asian Studies Resources:
http://www.sras.org/projects and http://www.sras.org/library
 Duke Univ. Slavic and East European Language Resource Center:
Resources, continued II
 UCLA Language Materials Project:
(Provides language profiles and information on teaching materials
for most less commonly taught languages as well as lessons on
how to use authentic materials in the classroom.)
 Center for Applied Linguistics page for Less Commonly
s/lctl.html (Resources for journals, books and websites)
Turkish Resources
 Princeton Turkish Language resources:
 Columbia’s Turkish language sites:
 University of Oregon Turkish lessons:
 About Turkish: http://www.turkishlanguage.co.uk/about.htm
 UCLA Language Materials Project:

FLTA Workshop Less Commonly Taught Languages: