WorldView: A Language Blog

WorldView is a place for leaders in the fields of language education, global citizenship, immersion learning, and other topics central to the Concordia Language Villages mission to address issues important to their fields.

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Sealing a Biliterate Future

Published: November 20, 2018

To date, 35 state legislatures across the U.S. have created State Seals of Biliteracy, including Minnesota. Almost all others are in process or in early stages of development. The Seal is an honor that is earned by high school students who demonstrate mastery of a second (or third or fourth . . .) language. This week, Rita A. Oleksak walks us through the creation of Connecticut’s Seal of Biliteracy and shares the experiences of students who have earned it so far.

Learning Equity

Published: October 2, 2018

What does a fair learning space look like? CLV group director Mark Chen explores the importance of making learning not just equal, where each student receives the same resources, but equitable, where each student receives the resources that they need as individuals. Examples from within the Villages offer models of equitable, and truly fair, learning environments.

"You Can Do It!" Villager Insights on Finding One's Courage at Waldsee, the German Language Village

Published: August 29, 2018

​The mission of Concordia Language Villages is to inspire courageous global citizens. This summer, we reached out to two Waldsee villagers to explore what courage means in their language learning, in the Village and beyond.

Language: The Path to Building Intercultural Relationships

Published: August 21, 2018

​Immersion programs for language learning allow learners to make connections as they go: between words and structures, between language and culture, between the target culture and their own. In this week’s WorldView blog, Ali Moeller, President of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, discusses how immersive language learning leads to meaningful intercultural relationships.

Advice from Study Abroad Experts: Trusting the Process

Published: July 17, 2018

Studying abroad can be a tremendous learning experience for high school students, but many teenagers (and their teachers and parents) can be unsure about taking on such a big adventure so early in life. We reached out to Leslie Gale, Executive Director of Xperitas, for some expert advice on why high school study abroad is so valuable and for good ideas to ensure students have a great cultural exchange experience.

It’s Time

Published: July 11, 2018

Keeping children safe while allowing them to explore nature, make new friends and grow in confidence and independence is a primary focus of summer camp. And that means that child protection training and education is critical for anyone who works in a child serving profession, says Laurie Tasharski, education liaison for the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, in this profound piece on “being woke.”

Bringing the Everyday into the Language Classroom

Published: June 19, 2018

​Kate Paesani, of the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) at the University of Minnesota, proposes an expanded definition of “authentic texts” in language classrooms. Authentic texts used for teaching usually include literary, cinematic and informative pieces; Kate proposes looking at road signs, candy wrappers, menus, multimedia pieces and even cartoons to help students develop both language proficiency and cultural literacy.

Courage in Early Language Learners

Published: June 5, 2018

We begin the month of June with a post by Valerie Borey on the kinds of courage she sees in her role as assistant dean of the Language Discovery programs. Early experience with language immersion helps kids learn to confront uncertainty, make educated decisions, and stick with frustrating tasks to start their growth into courageous global citizens.

Camp Education: More Essential than Ever

Published: May 29, 2018

​As we complete our month-long exploration of community-based learning, we’re delighted to have a post from Tom Rosenberg, President and CEO of the American Camp Association. Tom takes us through the history of American summer camps and why, after 150 years, they are more needed than ever.

A Camp Community Is an Idyllic Place to Build Lifelong Skills

Published: May 8, 2018

​As we continue to explore community-based learning in the month of May, Christine Schulze and Jackie Mauer look at the results of student focus groups conducted at the Villages last year. High school credit students from several different Villages offer insight on why learning language in a close-knit community is impactful for them.

Community-based Learning

Published: May 1, 2018

As many families prepare for an upcoming summer camp experience, we have chosen community-based learning as our WorldView Blog theme for the month of May. Community-based learning is all about the powerful kind of teaching that happens every day in a camp setting. This week we revisit some of our best blogposts of what community-based learning is and what it can do. Dr. Heidi E. Hamilton is a professor of linguistics at Georgetown University and a Village Mentor at Concordia...

Unplugging: An Antidote to Phone Addiction

Published: April 17, 2018

​As we continue exploring language and science during the month of April, David Dahveed Benson explores the interplay of phone addiction and nature deficit disorder in contemporary American culture. To battle the negative physical and psychological effects of this cultural trend, Dahveed ​proposes a simple solution: let’s unplug and go play outside.

Be the Change You Want to See

Published: March 20, 2018

Continuing March’s theme of Global Career Paths, Dr. Amy Hewett-Olatunde discusses how a global career can be right in one’s own city. Dr. Hewett-Olatunde’s work teaching English as a Second Language in St. Paul Public Schools allows her to change the world by preparing her high school students, who speak more than thirty different languages, for success in the United States.

Living and Learning on the Serengeti

Published: February 27, 2018

The final installment on Innovative Settings to Teach and Learn takes us to the northern Serengeti in Tanzania. The Singiti Grumeti Fund invited Concordia Language Villages to offer immersion pedagogy workshops for primary school English teachers in the villages that border the Grumeti Reserve. Patricia Thornton offered two weeklong workshops with a total of 28 teachers in early 2018. Her primary focus was on teaching in the language and not about the language.

Hip Hop and Language Learning

Published: February 13, 2018

Continuing February’s theme of Innovative Settings to Teach and Learn, Liz Przybylski offers an engaging tool for language teaching: hip hop. By bringing the work of rappers from around the world into language learning, and encouraging learners to write their own verse, you enrich the understanding of a language’s rhythms and accents.

An Agile Mindset in Education

Published: February 6, 2018

We continue our monthly theme with the WorldView Blog and are focusing on Innovative Settings to Teach and Learn during the month of February. This week, Paul Magnuson takes us to Switzerland, where his teaching team is using principles from manufacturing and software development to support students in regulating their own learning.

Those Times We Call on Courage

Published: January 22, 2018

Continuing our month-long

series on courage, Tove Dahl defines what courage is, what makes exercising it so challenging, and why practicing everyday courage is so rewarding. Her comments reflect both her research as an educational psychologist and her long-term role as dean of the Norwegian Language Village.

Cultivating Courageous Learners

Published: January 16, 2018

In the second installment of our Perspectives on Courage series, Heidi Hamilton discusses the courage necessary to learn a new language: courage to make mistakes and to navigate the world with linguistic limitations. Since the beginning, Concordia Language Villages has worked to nurture villagers’ courage, creating a space for them to take on new challenges, and grow both in the language and in themselves.

Learning to Improvise: Lessons from der Märchenwald

Published: November 7, 2017

How can students learn to use a second language in unexpected situations? A longtime Waldsee counselor reflects on rehearsing a play without a script.

My Global Citizen Toolbox

Published: October 10, 2017

Espoir DelMain shares her experience living and volunteering in Senegal, and how her Village language skills applied to a real, diverse, dynamic world.

Immersion Excursions: Critical to Language Study

Published: October 3, 2017

Former villager and current high school senior Betty Berdan writes about the need to spend time in immersive environments outside the classroom to enhance and strengthen the learning inside the classroom. Betty has studied Spanish and Chinese for many years and plans to continue studying both in college so that she can use her language skills in her future career.

How Can Metacognition Improve Language Learning?

Published: September 12, 2017

​Have you ever wondered how we learn? Metacognition, the skill of thinking about how we think and learn, is crucial to preparing our young people for the future. Mark Chen describes several activities to concretely develop learners’ metacognitive skills.

Study Abroad and Language Learning

Published: August 1, 2017

Study abroad opens up a world of opportunities for students, and for those who incorporate language learning the benefits are even greater. In this piece, award-winning author Stacie Berdan highlights how students can enhance their international experience through language learning no matter their level. Concordia Language Villages launched innovative study abroad sessions for high school students this summer in France/Belgium, Germany and Costa Rica.

Any Age Is the Right Age to Learn a Second Language

Published: July 11, 2017

Myths abound about how, for adults, it’s “too late” to learn a second language. Kari Berit outlines how, with the right environment and mindset, adult learners can indeed be successful language learners.

Language Learning in the Wild:  Unleashing Language in the Nooks and Crannies of Everyday Life

Published: June 13, 2017

Everyday problems and challenges provide valuable chances for language learners. Mundane, unpredictable interactions like asking for more bread, dealing with incorrect change, or issuing an invitation to play are all opportunities to take language instruction out of the classroom and ‘into the wild’ of real life in another country. Heidi Hamilton discusses how learning ‘in the wild’ can benefit all language learners, from young Concordia villagers to adult international migrant communities.

Live the Language:  Integrating Experiential Learning into the Classroom

Published: May 23, 2017

Cassandra Glynn, Director of the Master of Education in World Language Instruction for Concordia College, and Brandon Locke, Dean of Educator Programs for Concordia Language Villages, continually strive to help teachers make connections between practices in the Language Villages and those in their own classrooms. The idea for this post stems from their session at the ACTFL 2015 conference entitled Live the Language: Integrating Experiential Learning into the Classroom. In this blog they highlight two examples from their professional development work with teachers.

Our Kids Need Us To Support World Language Learning

Published: May 2, 2017

One of the most critical components of a 21st century education is world language learning. Yet the United States may be the only industrialized nation in the world where it’s possible to complete secondary and post-secondary education without any world language study whatsoever. Although most high schools and colleges/universities sometimes require one or two years of foreign language study for graduation, this small effort won’t suffice if our students are to compete...

Language Educators Can—and Must—Be Champions of Change

Published: April 4, 2017

Building upon an article co-authored with Lea Graner Kennedy for ACTFL’s Language Educator, Brandon Locke examines the power of world language educators to be champions of change, using the E in the acronym LEAD: Effective practices of leaders.

Un, deux, trois, quatro, cinqo—Wait, What Just Happened?

Published: February 14, 2017

In a monolingual brain, language is represented as a web, connecting things and ideas to the words that name them, as well as information about how that word is pronounced and spelled, and how to use it. In a multilingual brain, a larger, more complex web is formed, encoding information about known words in all known languages and forming connections between languages.

Playing with Language

Published: October 12, 2016

Students at the Leysin American School learned language online -- and taught each other. Julia and Patricia taught each other Portuguese and Spanish.

There just aren’t that many high school research departments around, so as the director of one, I mostly get to make up what we are doing. Several of the projects we’re working on relate to learning language, an interest of mine that started with my first Kursteilnehmer learning group in Waldsee, the German Language Village, in 1988. Here are two cool projects we’ve worked on here at LAS Educational Research.

Powerful Arrivals and Community Stays

Published: July 29, 2016

Arrival at the Village simulates travel abroad with passport checks and stamps, and a customs check of luggage to remove any English-influenced materials.

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

Helping villagers develop a new perspective and a new global view is never left to chance. And it all starts on the first day of a Village session.

Arriving at Concordia Language Villages is a signature experience and those first moments and next few hours set the stage for the stay. Approaching the Village ‘gate’ indicates to villagers that once they cross the border, they are entering a special place where they will join a community of language and culture explorers. They will, in fact, become citizens of the Village.

Creation of a Playworld at Concordia Language Villages

Published: July 7, 2016

Villagers learn to manage a bank account in a new currency

The key to creating opportunities for learners to try out a new language is a learning community that continuously constructs and maintains a kaleidoscopic playworld; this world begins for each individual at Concordia Language Villages by going through customs at the Village border on opening day with a Village passport and entering the grand simulation of a Village adventure.

Trickle-Up Internationalization: a.k.a How I Hope to Lose My Job

Published: June 16, 2016

Twenty years from now I hope to be out of a job. Don’t get me wrong – I love what I do. I work for the American Council on Education’s Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement (CIGE). As our title suggests, CIGE focuses on the “internationalization” of U.S. higher education, as well as how U.S. colleges and universities engage and collaborate with the rest of the world. I contribute to the design and delivery of CIGE programs that facilitate institutional internationalization such as the Internationalization Laboratory, conduct research on policy and related issues, and gather and disseminate “good practices” in these areas.

Early Language Learners Discover the World by Sharing Personal Experiences

Published: May 19, 2016

Young children enjoy dramatic play through puppetry and spontaneous storytelling.

I remember acquaintances of mine wrinkling their noses at me when I told them about Barnehage, the Norwegian Pre-K Immersion Program, wondering why I was torturing my child with academic studies at such a tender age. I think they envisioned a small stable of weary, dead-eyed toddlers being forced to complete conjugation charts and chanting in unison with one another (in Norwegian), “This is my pencil. It is green. Do you have a green pencil?”

Literacy for the Globe

Published: April 28, 2016

Pirjo teaching in Kenya

When my Salolampi path crossed those of Pirjo Tuuri and Aino Wheler in 1998, our obvious connection was Finnish language and culture. Almost 20 years later, we clearly see the deep thread of literacy that began our lives, brought us together and profoundly affects our current professional roles.

Learning Unbound

Published: April 14, 2016

Every place and every activity in the Villages is a language-learning opportunity.

Time and Place. Classroom teachers understand the importance and luxury of these two learning variables. There is never enough time. And, classrooms are mostly spaces, not places. Try as we might to decorate and personalize, the typical classroom is sharp and angular. Sometimes windowless! Usually cold.

The Creative Tilt: Motivating Villagers to Seize Their Own Learning Opportunities

Published: March 29, 2016

Creativity, or Kreativität, is an integral part of life at Waldsee, the German Language Village

Routine is important to learning. At Concordia Language Villages staff members help villagers on their language journey by establishing clear practices and expectations. But sometimes the best learning happens when we’re caught off-guard. Recognizing this, counselors occasionally act in ways that fly in the face of crystallized routines. The element of playful surprise motivates learners to participate more energetically in our explorations of language and culture. We call this practice the creative tilt.

Concordia Language Villages:  Perhaps Even Better Than Being There?

Published: February 9, 2016

When I talk about Concordia Language Villages to parents, teachers and others, some ask why they should send a family member or student to northern Minnesota to spend one, two or four weeks surrounded by another language. They wonder why learners shouldn’t go abroad for truly authentic experiences in the language and culture. After all, the price tag might not be so different – and aren’t the Language Villages just offering a pretend version of life in another country anyway? Some may even remember that our motto used to be “the next best thing to being there!”

Gifted Kids and Language Immersion: The Perfect Match

Published: October 9, 2014

Gifted kids—and adults—are intense. They ask probing questions, make lightning-fast connections, consider several perspectives at once. They seem to be wired twice for input, seeing details that others don’t, feeling more fear or joy, sadness or excitement than others, delighting in complicated ideas. Teaching them (and living with them) is a mental, emotional and physical challenge—and a whole lot of fun. Their need to understand and tackle...

4 Reasons Children Benefit From More Interaction With Nature

Published: August 27, 2014

Richard Louv, author of The Nature Principle, spoke recently with a CTV morning host about the importance of encouraging children to have positive experiences in the natural world. Louv argues that there are mental and physical benefits for children and families if kids have greater involvement in the natural world. “We may need nature in ways we don’t fully understand.”

The Importance of Camp: Developing Skills for the Future

Published: July 16, 2014

Steve and Susie Baskin are parents of a Lac du Bois villager and camp directors themselves. In this TEDx San Antonio talk, Steve articulates the reasons for attending camp and the important lessons youth learn with excellent role models and engaged in a positive learning community.

An Interview with ACTFL’s Marty Abbott

Published: June 4, 2014

Marty Abbott

Martha G. Abbott is the executive director of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, an organization comprised of 12,000 language teachers from elementary through higher education. A frequent spokesperson for the importance and value of developing language proficiency, Marty took some time to answer questions for our e-newsletter and to share her insights on developments in language education, 21st century skills, and why everyone can learn a language.