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Lecture: Study abroad and the development of oral proficiency
Venue: Room KKLG109, KK Leung Building. HKU
Date: 18 June 2007 (Monday)

The School of Modern Languages and Cultures of the University of Hong Kong is pleased to announce a lecture (in English) by

Professor Erwin Tschirner (Herder Institute of the University of Leipzig)



Date: Monday, June 18, 2007
Time: 3.30 p.m.
Venue: Room KKLG109, KK Leung Building,The University of Hong Kong

In 2002, the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education Programs (NCATE) in the U.S. established 'Advanced Low' (AL) as measured by the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview as the minimal level of oral proficiency for foreign language teacher candidates. However, AL is not a level commonly reached by graduates of U.S. foreign language programs. Additional language training focusing on the development of oral proficiency appears to be necessary to reach the NCATE standard. This paper reports on a study focusing on the development of oral proficiency of current and prospective U.S. high school teachers of German in a four-week intensive immersion program in Germany. The paper will address the following questions: Why was the ACTFL level 'Advanced Low' chosen as minimal level of oral proficiency for teachers of foreign languages? What does it take to reach this level of oral proficiency? What role does a study abroad experience play in the development of advanced levels of oral proficiency? How doesa study abroad experience need to be structured to reach these levels?

About the Speaker:
Erwin Tschirner (PhD, University of California, Berkeley) is Professor of German as a Foreign Language and Applied Linguistics at the Herder Institute of the University of Leipzig, Germany, and Adjunct Professor of German Studies at the University of Arizona. He is an internationally recognized authority on foreign language learning, methodology, testing, and materials design, including multimedia materials, and has taught in universities in the United States, Cuba, Argentina, and Germany. He has lectured and consulted in North and South America, Europe, East and South East Asia, Australia, and the Middle East. Professor Tschirner is co-author of Kontakte: A Communicative Approach (McGraw-Hill 2004) and A Frequency Dictionary of German: Core Vocabulary for Learners (Routledge 2006) and has published numerous articles, book chapters, books, and edited volumes in the field of foreign language teaching and learning. He has been a tester and tester trainer for the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview since 1989 and 1993, respectively.

For enquiry, please contact Ms. Yvonne Yeung by phone (28598030) or by email (

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