Spring 2015


Let's Talk: Language on the Boards

The Center for the Study of Languages & Cultures at the University of Dame is proud to announce our second annual Let's Talk conference. This year's topic is performance-based pedagogy in the second language classroom and organized by Professor Paul McDowell, Romance Languages & Literatures. The conference will begin with a performance by Prof. McDowell's French theatre students on April 12 at 7:30pm in DPAC and continue with one and a half days of presentations from scholars and teachers as well as artists and practitioners in McKenna Conference Center. 

"Let's Talk: Language on the Boards" conference explores the impact and praxis of performative teaching and learning in the second language classroom. Scholars, teachers, artists, and practitioners from around the world will gather to explore how theatre and film can enhance and enrich the experiences of foreign language students.

Keynote Speakers



Florent Masse will speak about the role of theatre in the language classroom, and how he designed his French theatre courses at Princeton University.  His credentials are impeccable: the French theatre courses he created at Princeton in 2001 have resulted in four French theatre productions each year performed by undergraduates. Masse has developed trans-Atlantic ties with major figures in French theatre, regularly bringing professional actors and directors from France to Princeton.  His courses and productions are most certainly the most impressive and ambitious examples of how performance-based pedagogy can impact undergraduate language learners in this country, if not the world.




Colleen Ryan, formerly an Associate Professor of Italian at Notre Dame, and currently an Associate Professor of Italian at Indiana University, Bloomington has quite literally written the book on this topic. Her 2011 book Dramatic Interactions: Teaching Languages, Literatures, and Cultures through Theater  addresses the pedagogical and theoretical foundations of this approach to language learning and contextualizes the benefits of this method. Ryan began the Italian Theater Workshop at Notre Dame, and has continued her work in this arena at Indiana University. She documents the substantial gains in proficiency that her students have made as a result of this creative approach to language learning in her article “Full Scale Theater Production and Second Language Learning” (Foreign Language Annals, Fall 2004).















Notre Dame undergraduates performed Le Malade imaginaire under the direction of Prof. Paul McDowell at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.













Prof. Florent Masse of Princeton University presented on "How to Build a Successful Foreign Language Theatre Program."


Sunday, April 12

7:30pm: Le Malade imaginaire 
Performed by Notre Dame undergraduates under the direction of Prof. Paul McDowell
DeBartolo Performing Arts Center

Monday, April 13

9:30am: Coffee/Tea
McKenna Hall 100-104

10:00am: Opening of the Conference
McKenna Hall 100-104

10:30am: Panel Sessions
Jeannette Böttcher (Universität Paderborn), Kristin Cook-Gailloud (John Hopkins University), and Claire Dunne (University of Notre Dame) 
McKenna Hall 100-104

12:00pm: Lunch
Private Dining Hall, Morris Inn

1:30pm: Roundtable with Student Cast of Le Malade imaginaire
McKenna Hall 100-104

2:30pm: Darach Ó Tuairisg (Artistic Director, Fíbin) "Irish Language Theatre and Young Audiences"
McKenna Hall 100-104

3:30pm: Panel Sessions
Kelly Kingsbury-Brunetto (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) and Hana Kang (University of Notre Dame) McKenna Hall 100-104

4:30pm: Break
McKenna Hall 100-104

4:45pm: Florent Masse (Princeton University), "How to Build a Successful Foreign Language Theatre Program"
McKenna Hall 100-104

Tuesday, April 14

9:00am: Coffee/Tea
McKenna Hall 100-104

9:30am: Elena Mangione-Lora and Kevin Barry (University of Notre Dame), "Video Production: Developing Language and Media Literacy through the Telenovela"
DeBartolo Hall B011

10:45am: Break
McKenna Hall 100-104

11:00am: Colleen Ryan (Indiana University, Bloomington), "Assessing Proficiency Gains of Student Actors: Theory and Practice"
McKenna Hall 100-104