题目：Assessing (intercultural) content learning in L2 learning: A case study
嘉宾：Heidi Byrnes（Distinguished Professor, Georgetown University U.S.A）
Heidi Byrnes is George M. Roth Distinguished Professor of German Emerita at Georgetown University. Her research, scholarship, and teaching have focused on adult instructed second language learners, specifically the development of advanced levels of literacy. Those interests have been shaped by Halliday an systemic functional linguistics as a particularly felicitous theory of language because of its concern with meaning-making in oral and written texts that are embedded in contexts of culture and contexts of situation and that are realized in culture-specific genres. Other influences are sociocultural theory, the work of Vygotsky and Bakhtin, and insights obtained in task-based teaching and learning. Together, these approaches provided a unique, educationally ‘appliable’ framework for the integrated and articulated four-year genre-oriented and task-based curriculum in the German Department at Georgetown University. She has edited and coedited books and special journal issues on the development of advanced literacy and the link between languaging and thinking, particularly in writing. She is a member of several editorial boards, is a past president of the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) and is the recipient of numerous professional association awards, including AAAL’s Distinguished Scholarship and Service Award and Georgetown University’s lifetime research achievement award. She currently serves as editor-in-chief of the Modern Language Journal.
Assessing (intercultural) content learning in L2 learning: A case study
Three closely interrelated claims, assumptions, and learning goals frame my talk: First, the claim that language learning is inherently about learning content, particularly ‘intercultural’ content. Second, the assumption that learning ‘content’ presupposes the ability to use certain language resources. Third, the belief that competently using another language and expressing content in another language should manifest itself in a kind of knowledge construction with an intercultural arc, thereby revealing the inherently multilingual competence of the L2 user. While these claims and assumptions reiterate long-standing educational goals that affirm the study of language as a humanistic and values-laden enterprise, providing evidence for their attainment that rises above superficial and/or non-theorized pronouncements continues to be a challenge for the language studies field.
In my talk I will report on a project in my home department, the German Department at Georgetown University, the so-called humanities assessment project, in which we sought to ascertain the extent to which our language learners were in fact also multicompetent knowledge creators. In other words, we sought to answer the question: on the basis of what evidence would we know the extent to which these claims actually hold? The data come from writing by early advanced L2 users. I will present the steps we took in that project, its major findings, and consider some instructional and programmatic implications.