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EPIC Workshop: Project-based Learning for Language Instruction

Friday, June 14, 2019
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Bunche Hall 10383

This project-based learning (PBL) workshop intends to provide hands-on training sessions that demonstrate ways of applying the PBL concept to foreign language teaching and learning, focusing on traditional foreign language learners as well as heritage language learners.

As a student-centered model that aims to increase both the range of students’ interest and their conceptual understanding of course content, PBL has been adopted in various disciplines, examples being medical education, engineering, and education, in higher educational settings over the past two decades. Studies on its practice in foreign language teaching and learning, although limited, have shown numerous benefits for 21st-century student-centered learning, including increased engagement and motivation on the part of the students. Research also shows that PBL has been more widely practiced in K-12 settings than in higher education. In this context, the workshop aims to provide tools for the incorporation of PBL into our foreign language classes at UCLA, a move that would capitalize on students’ prior PBL experiences.


Workshop’s Schedule:

  1. Part One will be an online module covering the framework and essential best practices of PBL.
  2. Part Two will be an all-day face-to-face session on campus on June 14, 2019. Four presenters will give presentations on various PBL topics and work with participants on developing ideas for their own projects.
  3. Part Three will be 2-3 follow-up webinars that will serve as “office hours” or consulting time for participants to meet with the faculty.


Workshop’s goals:

  • Introduce the design principles of the PBL model.
  • Demonstrate how to turn a traditionally taught language class into one that connects language learning to real-world use.


Workshop’s topics:

  • What is PBL?
  • Why is PBL recommended for language teaching and learning?
  • What are the design principles of PBL in language teaching?
  • How can PBL be incorporated into a course design in various language teaching configurations, including traditional second-language courses, heritage language courses, and mixed courses?
  • How can the outcome of a PBL course be assessed?


About the Presenters:

Professor Maria Carreira has served as co-director of the National Heritage Language Resource Center (NHLRC) for 12 years. Her research focuses on heritage language pedagogy, Spanish as a heritage language, and, most recently, project-based language learning. She is the author of six Spanish-language textbooks, including one for heritage language learners. She is a professor of Spanish linguistics at California State University, Long Beach.

Professor Alegría Ribadeneira is director of the World Languages Program and Associate Professor of Spanish at Colorado State University- Pueblo, a Hispanic Serving Institution. She actively researches and presents on issues of instruction, assessment and program development at local, national and international conferences where she highlights the benefits of project-based and content-based learning for the development of HL and L2 language skills. She is involved in heritage language teaching advocacy through ACTFL and participates as a presenter and faculty mentor at the NHLRC Summer Teacher Workshop. Last year Dr. Ribadeneira was awarded the Olga E. Kagan award for advancing heritage language education in institutions of leaning. Because of her enthusiastic presenting style, Dr. Ribadeneira was selected to represent the Colorado Congress of Foreign Language Teachers as “Best of Colorado” at the Southwest Conference on Language Teaching this year.

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Sponsor(s): Center for World Languages, National Heritage Language Resource Center, UCLA College of Letters and Science