Pre-Conference Workshops

Workshop #1

Humanities Learning Assessment

Peter Pfeiffer & Marianna Ryshina-Pankova

German Department
Georgetown University


This workshop models questions to ask to assess students’ learning of the humanities content of foreign language (FL) classes and a decision-making process that can be followed. FL programs are major contributors to the humanities learning mission of colleges and universities. As the value of FL humanities learning has become increasingly challenged, it is important to show what FL program contribute to humanities learning and how it can be achieved in the classroom. A humanities learning assessment initiative allows programs not only to explicitly state the learning outcomes but also use the results to improve their programs and to answer key questions from various stake holders.

The workshop will draw on materials from the participants’ institutions and programs as well as materials from the Georgetown assessment project. Participants in the workshop should prepare for it by collecting institutional/departmental mission statements, course learning goals, and relevant materials used in the courses/curricular levels that they wish to assess. (We will provide a list of materials prior to the workshop.) Since the scope of this assessment is programmatic, i.e., collaborative, we encourage teams of people from a program/department to participate. 

Workshop #2

Teaching and Testing Interactional Competence

Maryam Emami, Kevin García, Katharina Kley & Hélade Scutti-Santos

Center for Languages & Intercultural Communication (CLIC)
Rice University


This workshop provides an introduction to the teaching and testing of Interactional Competence (IC). As interactional patterns are culturally specific, learning interactional phenomena combines language and culture learning and also opens up possibilities for students to discuss and reflect on the similarities and differences between their own and the target language and culture. Findings from Conversation Analysis provide insights on interaction, language and culture and can be used to develop IC teaching and testing materials for the classroom, even for the beginning and intermediate levels of foreign language instruction.

This workshop will first introduce the notion of IC. The participants will then be familiarized with a set of instructional phases to teach IC in the classroom (Betz & Huth, 2014). The instructional phases will be illustrated on the basis of a sample lesson plan that language instructors at Rice University’s Center for Languages and Intercultural Communication (CLIC) have developed and implemented in their first-year foreign language classrooms. Second, the workshop will provide samples of testing tools that CLIC instructors have created to assess IC. The workshop participants will then have the opportunity to develop their own IC testing materials for their respective classroom settings. Based on a set of test development guidelines, they will write blueprints for IC assessments.