New Projects

New Projects

Current Projects

Advanced Pronunciation Instruction in Arabic

Amanda Huensch (Project Coordinator, University of Pittsburgh)

This project will first conduct a survey amongst instructor of Arabic to discover their needs, attitudes, and practices regarding pronunciation teaching and learning. It will then compile an oral learner corpus to document pronunciation features in L2 Arabic and finally create professional development workshops to support instructors in creating effective pronunciation activities.


Augmented Reality Applications for Korean

Jayoung Song (Project Coordinator, The Pennsylvania State University)

This project will develop a mobile-based augmented reality (AR) application for teaching reading and cultural awareness in advanced Korean language learning contexts.


Language Instruction Using Immersive Technology

Brody Bluemel (Project Coordinator, Delaware State University)

This project will create lesson plans and a digital guidebook for language educators to confidently implement the available technology resources in their classrooms.


Language Use in World Language Classrooms

Kevin McManus (Director, The Pennsylvania State University)

This project will document how teachers use the target and other languages in Arabic, Korean, and Russian language classrooms and create teaching resources and a guide for best practices for language use.


Literacy Instruction to Support Advanced Proficiency in Heritage Language Russian

Olesya Kisselev (Co-director, University of Texas at San Antonio)

This project will develop instructional materials to improve literacy skills of Russian heritage learners focusing on raising awareness of morphological and phonological knowledge of the language.


Pragmatic and Interactional Competence in Japanese

Stephen D. Looney (Project Coordinator, The Pennsylvania State University)
Akiko Imamura (Project Coordinator, Michigan State University)
Innhwa Park (Project Coordinator, West Chester University)

This project will build a corpus of video-recorded and transcribed spoken interactions between Japanese speakers. Using the corpus, it will then create teaching materials for advanced learners of Japanese to develop their pragmatic and interactional competence.


Supporting Chinese Immersion Teachers

Zhongfeng Tian (Project Coordinator, University of Texas at San Antonio)
Becky Huang (Project Coordinator, The Ohio State University)

This project will develop a series of professional development workshops that focus on the specific pedagogical, curricular design, and assessment needs of teachers in Chinese immersion classrooms.


2018-2022 Projects

A Corpus Approach to Academic Chinese

Hongyin Tao

The project will develop instructional materials for teaching academic Chinese for high-intermediate/advanced learners. The materials are based on a range of authentic academic texts which are compiled into a corpus. Academic word lists, publications on how to teach academic language, information on critical features of academic language, and concrete teaching units are the main units that the project will create.


Concept-based Language Instruction (CBLI)

James P. Lantolf
Rémi Adam Van Compernolle
Eduardo Negueruela Azarola
Jie Zhang
Prospero Garcia

Concept-based Language Instruction is a pedagogical approach that connects explicit instruction and communicative practice. This project will develop innovative teaching materials in Chinese, French, and Spanish and also professional development materials to enhance teacher knowledge of some critical concepts in the respective languages.

Scholarly Publications:

  • Garcia, P. (2017). Implementing concept-based instruction in the heritage language classroom: A pedagogical proposal. E-JournAllEuroAmerican Journal of Applied Linguistics and Languages, 4, 1-19. doi: 10.21283/2376905X.6.86 [PDF]
  • Lantolf, J. P. & Zhang, X. (2017). Sociocultural theory and concept-based instruction. In S. Loewen & M. Sato (eds.), The Routledge handbook of instructed second language acquisition (pp. 146-165). New York: Routledge.
  • Walter, D. R., & van Compernolle, R. A. (2017). Teaching German declension as meaning: A concept-based approach, Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 11, 68-85. doi:
  • van Compernolle, R. A., Gomez-Laich, M. P., & Weber, A. (2016). Teaching L2 Spanish sociopragmatics through concepts: A classroom-based study. The Modern Language Journal100 (1), 341-361.

Professional Development:

  • NECTFL Presentation 2018 – “Concept-based Teaching for Effective Learning of Complex Language Features” (James P. Lantolf and Kevin McManus, Penn State)
  • ACTFL Presentation 2017 – “The Relevance of Explicit Instruction for Successful Language Develoment” (James P. Lantolf and Kevin McManus, Penn State)
  • CBLI Summer Workshop 2017 – “Teaching Social Meaning in Language” (R. Adam Van Compernolle, Carnegie Mellon University)
  • ACTFL Presentation 2016, Friday, November 18. “A Concept-based Approach to Pragmatics Instruction” (James P. Lantolf, Penn State and R. Adam van Compernolle, Carnegie Mellon University)
  • CBLI Summer Workshop 2016 – “How to Integrate Explicit Knowledge in the Second Language Classroom” (James P. Lantolf, Penn State and R. Adam van Compernolle, Carnegie Mellon University)
  • ACTFL Pre-conference Workshop 2015 – “Concept-based Language Instruction” (James P. Lantolf, Penn State)



L1 Use in World Language Classroms

Kevin McManus (Penn State)

While first language use in world language classrooms has traditionally been considered a controversial topic, research shows that principled use of the L1 can significantly improve language development, especially for grammar. However, despite increasing evidence that that L1 use and awareness can play an important role in L2 development, very little is understood about teachers’ use of the L1 beyond the amount in percentage. This new CALPER projects will document teachers’ use of the L1, the target language (and other languages if applicable). Using this evidence, the project will develop best practices  for L1 and target language use. The project will concentrate on Arabic, Chinese, French, Korean, and Russian classrooms, and audio-record the classroom talk/discourse, then transcribe and analyze it. The resulting classroom talk/discourse corpra will include audio-recordings and transcripts, which we plan on making available to teachers and researchers once our study is completed.


NECTFL 2020 – “Instructional practices of English-Chinese and English-Spanish dual-language immersion teachers”,  McManus, K., and Bluemel, B.

ACTFL 2019 – “Instructional practices in dual-language immersion classrooms”, McManus, K., and Bluemel, B.

ACTFL 2018 – “Evidence-based Grammar Teaching in the Classroom”, McManus, K.

Related Websites:

Kevin McManus Personal Page

L2 Writing in Arabic

Myriam Abdel-Malek (University of Pittsburgh)

Our research has shown that instructional materials for teaching Arabic are often not reflective of the social context of language use. To fill this void, this CALPER project seeks to develop a series of genre-based modules to support the teaching f writing in Arabic at several levels of proficiency.

Genre analysis is a social theory of language that describes language in relation to the context in which it occurs. there are three meanings that interplay in any genre: ideational, which is concerned with how experiences are presented; interpersonal, which is concerned with the relationship between writer and eader; and textual, which is concerned with the organization of a text. The goal of this pedagogy is to make the language features signaling these meanings visible to students and thus help them advance in their language learning.


[upcoming] Abdel-Malek, M., “A genre pedagogy: Making the features of culturally-informed texts visible”, ACTFL, Boston, November 18, 2022

Abdel-Malek, M., “Teaching culturally-informed writing in Arabic”, ACTFL, Washington, DC, November 23, 2019


Urban School Districts

Richard Donato (University of Pittsburgh) and James P. Lantolf (The Pennsylvania State University)

Partner: The Center for Urban Education at the University of Pittsburgh & Pittsburgh Public School District

High-leverage Teaching Practices for Underserved Urban School Districts
The Center for Urban Education (CUE) at the University of Pittsburgh is a unit that strives to positively transform educational opportunities and experiences of educators and students in urban school districts. Focusing on language education, CALPER is partnering with CUE to identify underserved school districts in Pittsburgh, and will work with language teachers in these districts to determine specific instructional needs and support activities that will enahnce culturally responsive pedagogical practices. In addition, the project team will develop concrete procedures, including in-service workshops and mini-courses that will support language educators to strengthen classroom relations between educators and diverse student populations.