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Aída Walqui, Ph.D.

Director,  Teacher Professional Development Program, WestEd

Title of Talk: Constructing Productive Interaction in the Second Language Class

The presentation critically examines notions of classroom participation and learning in second language classes. Building on van Lier’s notion of the expanded zone of proximal development (2004, 2012) and the proposition that conceptual, analytical, and language practices develop simultaneously (Valdés, Kibler & Walqui, 2014; Walqui & van Lier, 2010), the paper extends theoretical and practical understandings of scaffolding. Ethnographic analysis, video and audio data will anchor key themes in the presentation.

Cornelius C. Kubler, Ph.D.

Stanfield Professor of Asian Studies, Williams College

Title of Talk: Tradition and Innovation in Chinese Language Learning and Teaching

In Chinese language pedagogy, continuous innovation is essential and, while “perfection” may be unattainable, it is wise to assume there are always better ways of attaining our goals. At the same time, a number of best practices from the past – including grammar study, memorization, and drills – continue to have value, though certain tweaks to them may be able to increase their effectiveness. In planning the curriculum, we should consider carefully which learning activities should be undertaken in class with an instructor and which learning activities can be performed by learners on their own. Moreover, the concept of “class” should be viewed more flexibly; instead of a class that meets with the same group of students for a certain number of days each week, a smarter approach would be to match the size of the class to the learning activity, so that there might be one class session per week in a large group, two sessions in a medium-sized group, and a weekly 20-minute tutorial.


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