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NCOLCTL 2004 Conference Report

The 7th Annual International conference of the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL) took place in Madison, Wisconsin on April 29 th - May 2 nd 2004 at the Howard Johnson Plaza-Hotel. The theme of the conference was "Identifying Individual and National Needs in Less Commonly Taught Languages." The conference was organized by the National African Language Resource Center and drew over 150 participants from various countries such as Singapore, China, Tajikistan, Nigeria, France and different parts of the United States.

This conference was sponsored by the UW-Madison International Studies and Programs, UW-Madison College of Letters and Science, Anonymous Funds, National African Language Resource Center, NCOLCTL, Center for East Asian Studies, Center for South Asia, Language Institute, Center for European Studies, Latin American and Iberian Studies, African Studies Program, Global Studies, Southeast Asian Studies, CIBER & CREECA

The conference hosted a pre-conference workshop and a pre-conference symposium for the UW-Madison Less Commonly Taught Language community. The symposium showcased the different summer language institutes organized on the UW-Madison campus and the current practices used in teaching some of the UW-Madison LCTLs. The guest speakers for the symposium were Professors Richard Chi ( University of Utah), Benjamin Rifkin (UW-Madison), and Sheldon Pollock ( University of Chicago). There were also 6 plenary sessions, 36 paper presentations, 7 colloquia sessions and 14 poster & demonstration sessions besides hosting 4 exhibition booths.

The pre-conference workshop was conducted by Dr. Andrew Cohen on Multiple Approaches to Language Assessment. Participants were engaged in paired and group discussions, and took part in a brief test construction activity in a small working group. The reception held on the same day featured six dances from various cultures across the world such as African, Chinese, Hmong, Indian, Korean and Middle-Eastern regions. There was also a Yoruba poetry reading session.

The Welcome session on the 30 th of April was led by Gilead Morahg, Magdalena Hauner, Sally Magnan, Alwiya Omar and Antonia Schleicher. There were six plenary sessions in the conference with eminent speakers from the LCTL field such as Gilles Bousquet, Richard Brecht, Fredrick Jackson, Anne Manganaro, Ann Copland, Heidi Byrnes, Keith Cothrun and J. D. Brown. These sessions focused on topics like Language Learning & Global Professionals, Congressional Attention to Needs of LCTLs, Power of Language Learning, Advanced L2 Discourse Capacities, National Standards of Learning, and Language Curriculum Development.

Papers were presented in the fields of Research, Material, Curriculum, Teacher Development, Testing and Technology. The delegate assembly meeting was held on the 30 th of April and it was attended by delegates from the constituent organizations of NCOLCTL as well as the NCOLCTL executive board members. It was at this meeting that the NCOLCTL Executive Board announced the appointment of Antonia Schleicher as the new Executive Director of NCOLCTL. This appointment was approved and supported by the NCOLCTL Delegate Assembly. A luncheon was held to honor Professor Laurel Rodd ( University of Colorado, Boulder) with the Ronald. A. Walton Award in recognition of a career of Distinguished Service to the LCTLs.

A round table on the status and future of NCOLCTL was chaired by Michael Everson on the 1 st of May. Participants included Richard Brecht, Fredrick Jackson, Gilead Morahg, Eyamba Bokamba, Teresita Ramos and Antonia Schleicher. It was announced that the next year's NCOLCTL conference will be held in Madison, Wisconsin. The in-coming president is Dr. Michael Everson ( University of Iowa).

The conference was a wonderful forum for the participants to share and communicate ideas on the common cause of promoting the Less Commonly Taught Languages and identifying the various needs in this field.

The NALRC and the NCOLCTL members are very grateful to everyone that contributed to the success of this year’s conference. Looking forward to seeing all of you again next year in Madison as we celebrate "The Year of Languages: Expanding the Presence of Less Commonly Taught Languages."