Town Hall and Symposium Events April 8-9 to Promote World Language Education in Arkansas

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Keynote speakers Sam Eisen, left, and Kim Potowski.

The U of A Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures will host a two-day series of events promoting world language education in Arkansas, including:

  • A Town Hall and Reception focused on “Mapping the Future of Language Education in Arkansas” from 5:30-7:30 p.m., Friday, April 8, at the Carnall Hall Inn, and
  • The Symposium on Teaching Spanish and World Languages ​​will be held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, April 9, at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.

To register or request more information on any of the events, visit or contact [email protected]

April 8 Municipal Assembly

At Friday’s town hall meeting, keynote speaker Sam Eisen, director of programs for the U.S. Department of Defense’s National Security Education Program, will present on “World Languages ​​for National Security and Global Competitiveness: needs, opportunities, careers”.

In his presentation, Eisen will address language gaps in the national security sector, some of the economic needs identified in some of the state’s roadmap projects, and introduce grant and scholarship programs as well as careers for alumni of the state. NSEP.

The main town hall presentation will be preceded by a performance of Latin American music by U of A teachers Lía Uribe, Miroslava Panayotova, Matt Brusca and Fernando Valencia.

The public meeting is also part of an upcoming Spanish Landscape Report on Spanish in Arkansas, addressing the following questions:

  • What is the state of world language education in Arkansas?
  • How far are we from meeting national standards and how do we compare to surrounding states?
  • What are the challenges and opportunities of teaching world languages ​​in our state?

The Spanish Landscape Report will be a policy guidance document that will assess the state of K-16 Spanish education in Arkansas and provide key recommendations for continuing the language education of the world in our state. The report is expected to be released in fall 2022.

Colloquium April 9

During Saturday’s Teaching Spanish and World Languages ​​Symposium, keynote speaker Kim Potowski, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, will present “Apples and Oranges: The Best Approaches to working with speakers of Spanish origin”. Heritage speakers are increasingly common in Spanish classrooms across the United States, and Potowski will explain how they differ in important ways from beginning second-language students. Teachers of both types of students are encouraged to learn more about this important aspect of the profession.

Questions explored will include:

  • What are the typical profiles of native speakers (“apples”) and how are they linguistically and emotionally different from second language students (“oranges”)?
  • How can we determine the appropriate curricular objectives, pedagogical approaches and placement procedures to best serve heritage speakers?
  • And what can instructors do when it’s not possible to hold a separate course for heritage speakers, resulting in a classroom with a mixture of ‘apples’ and ‘oranges’?

The Symposium on Teaching Spanish and World Languages ​​is a collaborative effort of the Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and the Department of World Languages ​​at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.

The main objective of the symposium is to provide an opportunity for teachers of Spanish and other world languages ​​at the elementary, secondary and university levels to come together to share ideas, best practices and cutting-edge research on teaching. languages, literatures and cultures.

“Because Arkansas is home to global businesses and vibrant multilingual immigrant communities, teaching the world’s languages ​​is highly relevant in Arkansas today, providing students with an education that will enable them to build communities more just and inclusive and to be effective and ethical global citizens and global leaders,” said Luis Fernando Restrepo, a university professor and one of the town hall and symposium organizers.

Restrepo said the Spanish Landscape Report and the Spanish and World Languages ​​Symposium are part of the Arkansas Participation in a 500 Million Person Community grant. Building Capacity for Innovation in Spanish Teaching State Wide”, a two-pronged project funded by the U of a Chancellor’s Humanities Fellowship and co-sponsored by the Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures; the department’s Spanish program; the Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies program; the Latin American and Latin American Studies program; the Diane D. Blair Center for Southern Politics and Society; and Vista Higher Learning.

The project is led by Professors Restrepo, Brenda Magnetti, Raquel Castro Salas, Elkin Pérez and PhD student Chloe Spellman, with support from Professor Rebecca Foote, Betina Arellano and Clinton School of Public Service intern Farrah Beck.

To register or more information, visit or contact [email protected]

Friday’s presentation by Eisen can also be accessible through Zoom.

Saturday’s presentation by Potowski can also be accessible through Zoom.

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