Secrets Gandhi Knew About Language Learning

July 11, 2011

Regular readers of this blog know about my passion for connecting language learning to leadership. I truly believe that language learning helps us to improve our leadership skills, understand others with a deeper sense of compassion and see the world in wiser ways. I am inspired by the work of Gandhi, who was a strong advocate of learning second and foreign languages.

Here’s a reprint of an article that was published on the topic. It was originally published in Zephyr, the newsletter of the Second Languages and Intercultural Council (SLIC) of the Alberta Teachers’ Association. It is reprinted here with permission:

View this document on Scribd

Related posts:

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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


12 Great Resources on Strength-Based Leadership

July 10, 2011

Last Thursday I did a leadership workshop with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology Students Association (SAITA) in Calgary. We did an entire afternoon around strength-based leadership. I led the group through a personal and large-group strengths inventory. Then, we did another activity to see how people can leverage the strengths of the associations and groups they belong to. We wrapped up by helping the newly elected student leaders revisit their goals to see how they could achieve them more effectively using an asset-based approach.

A few of the participants asked for the titles of some reading materials on this topic. This post is dedicated to the wonderful leaders at SAITSA. Here are a dozen of my favorite books on asset-based or strength-based leadership. The authors may call it by different terms, but the underlying ideas are shared among these works:

Appreciative Inquiry Commons. (n.d.).   Retrieved May 1, 2008, from http://appreciativeinquiry.case.edu/

Cooperrider, D. L., Whitney, D., & Stavros, J. M. (2003). Appreciative inquiry handbook. Bedford Heights, OH: Lakeshore Publishers.

Cooperrider, D. L. (2007). Business as an agent of world benefit: Awe is what moves us forward.   Retrieved February 21, 2008, from http://appreciativeinquiry.case.edu/practice/executiveDetail.cfm?coid=10419

Cooperrider, D. L., & Whitney, D. (2008). A positive revolution in change: Appreciative inquiry.   Retrieved March 27, 2008, 2008, from http://appreciativeinquiry.case.edu/uploads/whatisai.pdf

Cramer, K. D., & Wasiak, H. (2006). Change the way you see everything through asset-based thinking. Philadelphia: Running Press.

Eliot, C. (1999). Locating the Energy for Change: An Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry. Winnipeg: International Institute for Sustainable Development / Insitut International du Developpment Durable.

Faure, M. (2006). Problem solving was never this easy: Transformational change through appreciative inquiry. Performance Improvement, 45(9), 22-31.

Kretzmann, J. P., & McKnight, J. L. (1993). Building Communities from the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community’s Assets. Skokie, IL: ACTA Publications.

Kretzmann, J. P., McKnight, J. L., Dobrowolski, S., & Puntenney, D. (2005). Discovering Community Power: A Guide to Mobilizing Local Assets and Your Organization’s Capacity. Asset-Based Community Development Institute, School of Education and Social Policy,
Northwestern University. http://www.abcdinstitute.org/docs/kelloggabcd.pdf

Murrell, K., L. (1999). International and intellectual roots of appreciative inquiry. Organization Development Journal, 17(3), 49-61.

Northwestern University. (n.d.). The Asset-Based Community Development Institute: School of Education and Social Policy.   Retrieved October 1, 2010, from http://www.abcdinstitute.org

Tzu, Sun. The Art of War (L. Giles, Trans.). London: Arcturus Publishing Ltd. (The original was believed to have been written between 505 B.C. and 473 B.C., though exact date unknown).

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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


Portfolios to Assess Literacy and Second Languages: An Annotated Bibliography

July 5, 2011

Portfolios to assess literacy and second languages by Sarah EatonFor a few years now I’ve been interested in the topic of using portfolios and asset-based (also known as strength-based) approaches to assessment. Significant theoretical research and applied classroom practice has been done in the field of alternative assessment, and specifically in area of using portfolios and e-portfolios.

The practice of using portfolios for second and foreign language teaching has increased in popularly, with an increased understanding and adoption of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Almost simultaneously, there has been a rise in the use of similar frameworks in the field of literacy. However, there is little collaboration between those who work in literacy and those who teach second and modern languages.

This annotated bibliography is an attempt to collect, select and share resources that may be relevant, helpful and useful to professionals working in both the second language and literacy sectors. The deeper values that guide this work are predicated on the belief that researchers and practitioners working in both fields have much in common and would benefit greatly from increased dialogue and shared resources.

Download a copy here: http://hdl.handle.net/1880/51923

Check out these related posts:

Student portfolios for Language Learning: What They Are and How to Use Them

Using Portfolios for Effective Learning

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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


Report (Canada): “The Business Case for Lifelong Learning”: Adult education and Literacy

July 4, 2011

On Canada Day I posted about a report from the US on the impact of adult education on the American economy. I took a bit of flak for posting about the US on Canada Day, so let me make up for it by celebrating the 4th of July with a newly-released report from Canada on the very same topic.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (Canada) has just released, “The Business Case for Lifelong Learning and Job-Based Training”, a 28-page report on the economic impact of lifelong learning and adult education.

The report addresses:

  • Workforce learning and development: A key lever of innovation
  • The economic case for investment in workforce training
  • The role of government in a competitive education and training system
  • Recommendations

You can download a copy of the report here: http://occ.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Workforce-Training-Report_Electronic.pdf

Here is a video (3:17 in length) that introduces the report: http://www.youtube.com/user/OntarioChamber?feature=mhsn#p/a/u/0/jyDt9k0NLCY

Although this report deals specifically with one Canadian province, it may be useful to reference in grant applications, position papers and other research, as it helps to document current trends in the field of literacy and in particular, the economic impact of lifelong learning and adult education.

So, Happy Canada Day (belated), Happy Independence Day. Wherever you are, celebrate lifelong learning and the positive impact it makes on our world!

Related posts:

New Report: The Economic ROI of Adult Education Programs (U.S. report)

The economic impact of language programs on communities

Research: ESL programs boost Calgary’s economy by $26M+ per year

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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


Strength-based approaches to evaluating literacy and language learning

July 4, 2011

Looking for new ways to assess literacy and language learning that focus on students’ strengths, instead of their weaknesses? So was I. I started digging, found some resources and compiled them into an annotated bibliography, that’s just been archived on ERIC.

Alternative and Asset-Based Evaluation and Assessment in Language Teaching and Literacy: Resources for Research, Classroom Instruction and Evaluation of Language Competence

Full text report available from ERIC. (Release date: June 1, 2011): http://1.usa.gov/lf2NvT

This annotated bibliography surveys key resources and research related specifically to language learning and literacy. It focuses on resources that will be valuable to teaching professionals and researchers who specialize in the areas of foreign and second language teaching, language arts and first and second language literacy.

Significant theoretical research and applied classroom practice has been done in the field of alternative assessment, and specifically in area of using portfolios and e-portfolios (Barrett, 2010; Brear, 2007; Dominguez, 2011; JISC, 2008; Meuller, 2011; North Carolina Regional Educational Laboratory, n.d.; Shao-Ting & Heng-Tsung).

The practice of using portfolios for second and foreign language teaching has increased in popularly, with an increased understanding and adoption of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (Council of Europe, 2001). Almost simultaneously, there has been a rise in the use of similar frameworks in the field of literacy (Alberta Advanced Education and Technology, 2009; Literacy BC, n.d.)

However, there is little collaboration between those who work in literacy and those who teach second and modern languages (Eaton, 2010).

This annotated bibliography is an attempt to collect, select and share resources that may be relevant, helpful and useful to professionals working in both the second language and literacy sectors. The deeper values that guide this work are predicated on the belief that researchers and practitioners working in both fields have much in common and would benefit greatly from increased dialogue and shared resources. A bibliography is included.

Related posts:

Using Portfolios for Effective Learning

27 Great Resources on Using Portfolios for Language Learning and Literacy

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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


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