Individual Faculty Projects
Jeffrey Bain-Conkin and Parker Ladwig
Academic Technologist (OIT) and Librarian of Mathematics and Life Sciences
In Spring 2015, Dr. Jeffrey Bain-Conkin and Parker Ladwig collaborated with ND's Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures (CSLC) to analyze the results of three recent surveys on the use of language by students and faculty at the University of Notre Dame.
These surveys were distributed to undergraduate freshman and seniors as well as all ND faculty members. Respondents were asked to list all the languages in which they are fluent and with which they are familiar. More than 90% of the undergraduates queried responded while more than 50% of the faculty responded. Graduate students and staff employees were not included.
Among the surveyed undergraduate population, the most common language on Notre Dame campus, outside of English, is Spanish: More than 300 undergraduate freshman and seniors claimed fluency while more than 500 claimed an ability to communicate. After Spanish, the next most common languages among undergraduates are French and Mandarin. (Each was reported by over 130 respondents.)
Among faculty, the top three languages on campus are French, Spanish, and German: Over 100 respondents described themselves as fluent or able to communicate in each language.
One surprising result of the surveys is that over 100 languages were reported as being spoken on campus. Another surprising result is that a few languages, particularly from Southeast Asia, were listed by a dozen or so students but not by any faculty members. (See the Results)
Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL)
Joachim Castellano's research focuses on Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL), in particular how digital and multimodal literacies are essential to L2 development in the modern era. Currently he is investigating how design principles can lead to more effective learning outcomes with respect to learning materials and environments. In addition, Joachim experiments with different hardware and software for educational purposes and reports back to educators through workshops and blog posts.
Second Language Acquisition
I have two current research topics: foreign language writing acquisition and learner identity. First, for foreign writing acquisition, I am conducting a research project on Chinese learners’ writing acquisition, learners’ attitude toward writing, and their process of writing. This study analyzes real-time Chinese character writing, which may include participants’ eye-tracking data, in order to show the relationship between the reading and writing processes. Furthermore, I am planning to expand my research to English writing and investigate the writing of advanced (i.e., graduate-level) ESL students. Second, for learner identity and their language use, I am examining the languages in multicultural literatures focusing on characters’ code switching and discourse. The data collected will help to identify the strategies on how authors of these literatures use multiple languages in their work to reveal characters’ identity.
English for Academic Purposes
Her research interests include the integration of Second Language Acquisition theories and practice, as well as the effects of perception training on production intelligibility and accentedness.
Irish Foreign Language Teaching Assistant 2014-2015
My study, "Language Instruction at the University of Notre Dame: Exploring Current Faculty Views," explores the views of language faculty at the University of Notre Dame concerning key elements of language learning and teaching, namely the structure and features of language classes. The structure of language classes includes the role of peer tutoring and language tables/ conversation group, and independent study. The features of the language program include the exploration of grammar, culture, the use of technology, the role of assessment, and finally plurilingual approaches to language learning. This CSLC-sponsored study compares and contrasts faculty views in relation to their respective language programs, and examines the extent to which a co-ordinated approach to language teaching is present (or possible) in the College of Arts and Letters, as well as identifying perceived challenges and strengths to promoting language proficiency. This research is being conducted by Claire M. Dunne, Irish Language Fulbright Teaching Assistant under the supervision of Professor Brian Ó Concubhair.