Transforming the World Language Classroom Through Instructor Self-Assessment and Reflection

Transforming the World Language Classroom Through Instructor Self-Assessment and Reflection

Wade Edwards, Sally S. Scott
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7106-4.ch006
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Second language learning is an essential part of many post-secondary education programs and curricula. While world language instructors typically embrace the importance of teaching diverse learners, including students with disabilities, they are often unfamiliar with universal design as a means of proactively developing inclusive college instruction. This chapter describes the development of a series of self-assessment tools designed to assist instructors in anticipating common barriers to language learning and reflecting on ways to provide more inclusive instruction. Case studies from the authors' experiences are provided to illustrate use of the tools.
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As described in Chapter 1, Universal Design for Learning (UDL) evolved from the broader concept of Universal Design (UD). In the United States in the early 2000s, a series of federal grants were offered by the U.S. Department of Education encouraging research and development activity that would promote the use of inclusive instruction and UD on college campuses (Zaloudek, Chandler, Carlson, & Howarton, 2019). These grants provided a major impetus in the U.S. to explore the broad concepts of proactive inclusion found in UD in the context of college teaching and learning. Over the last two decades, three models of UD applications in higher education have emerged in the research literature in the U.S. (Fagella-Luby et al., 2017). While differences exist, it has been noted that the models have more in common than they are different (Tobin & Behling, 2019). While UDL is the most prominent model, research also includes Universal Design for Instruction (UDI) and Universal Instructional Design (UID). Some scholars use the term UD-IL to encompass the full range of UD initiatives being developed and researched in higher education in the U.S. (Fagella-Luby et al., 2017).

The work described in this chapter reflects the model of UDI (Scott, McGuire, & Shaw, 2001). For conceptual clarity, this chapter uses the term UD-IL which acknowledges the common theory base of the UDI and UDL models in higher education.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Anxiety Disorder: When anxiety is intense, excessive, chronic, and overwhelming it can be considered a disorder. Symptoms include such physical responses as shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and difficulty concentrating.

Reflective Practice: Reflective practice describes a method of pedagogical self-assessment whereby the instructor considers the effectiveness of instruction on student learning. Reflective practice also entails the consideration, implementation, and evaluation of new ways of teaching.

Assessment: Assessment refers to any instructor evaluation of work submitted by the language learner, whether formative assignments (such as daily homework, reading quizzes, classroom participation, or low-stakes collaborative activities) or summative tasks (such as chapter tests, longer compositions, or high-stakes oral interviews).

Faculty Disposition: Faculty disposition describes an instructor’s openness to inclusive pedagogical practices, showing an awareness of diverse student experiences and learning needs, and implementing proactive strategies to include diverse learners.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): This developmental disorder includes a range of symptoms and behaviors that impact social interaction, speech, and nonverbal communication.

Group Work: In a world language class, group work describes any collaborative interaction among learners. Group work may include pair exercises (such as low-stakes conversations, info-gap activities that require students to negotiate meaning, and think/pair/share exercises) or exercises that involve more than one interlocutor (such as class-wide surveys, party games, or wagon-wheel activities, where partners rotate frequently).

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): This disorder is characterized by an early and ongoing pattern of difficulty with attention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity. The experience of ADHD can be mild to severe and cause impairment in school, home, social, and work performance in people of all age groups.

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