Spring 2020

AAAL Special Session

The American Association of Applied Linguistics (AAAL) Graduate Student Council (GSC) is working with FLRT to develop a special session at the 2020 AAAL Conference (March 28 – 31 in Denver, CO).  We are seeking members from FLRT to contribute to this special session.  The sign-up link is at the bottom of this page; all we need right now is your name and your preferred topic!

Please note that some of this information may change as we move forward.  We will update this page as changes occur and update presenters via e-mail. 

Purpose of the session:

We will develop teaching and language learning strategies that are rooted in advances in applied linguistics and Second Language Acquisition theory.  By presenting these strategies to high school students, we will show them how their experiences in the classroom (the pedagogical strategies employed) are connected to research in academia.

Audience of the session:

High school students and teachers from Denver, CO; graduate student attendees of the AAAL conference; faculty and other professional attendees of the AAAL conference.

  • Many of the high school students in attendance will participate in an outreach program put forth by AAAL.  In this program, the high students will be introduced to some of the fundamental ideas that are relevant to the plenary sessions.  As a result, the presentations will not need to teach this background any more than in a typical conference presentation.
  • The purpose of bringing high school students in this way is to set them up for success in participating in an academic environment.  They will be guided in how to engage with presenters in a conference before attending.

Description of the session:

Five to six presentations will be created by graduate student members of FLRT.  Ideally, these presentations will consist of collaborations between students in the World Languages Programs and Teaching and Learning Programs.   These presentations will develop concrete pedagogical and language-learning applications of the theories used in each of the plenary sessions in the AAAL conference (listed below).

The format of this session is inspired by the “teaching tips” sessions that exist at other conferences.  The physical layout consists of 5 tables arranged around a room.  At each table, a presenter has presentational and pedagogical materials, such as a tri-fold board with a poster and activity sheets.

At the beginning of the session, session attendees divide themselves evenly among the five tables.  Every twenty minutes, attendees rotate to a new table; each attendee thus engages with each presenter and each presenter with five audiences.  The total time for the session is two hours (120 minutes) broken down as follows:

  • A ten-minute introduction to the session
  • Five twenty-minute presentations (100 minutes total), each with five to seven minutes of presentation of theoretical background and the remainder dedicated to the activity and discussion
  • Ten minutes to allow attendees to transition

This session format allows attendees to participate in the activities prepared by presenters and encourages a productive dialogue between attendees and presenters.

Contributions Needed:

We are seeking at least one presentation for each of the plenary sessions.  The intention is not to create a concrete application for the plenary session itself; rather, we would like presenters to create applications based on the theoretical backgrounds drawn upon by the plenary speakers.  This is an exciting challenge to integrate these conversations into practical applications!  Links to the titles and abstracts are listed below; keywords and topics for each presentation have been extracted.

1. Biliterate writing development:


  • Literacy
  • The distinction between monolingual literacy and multilingual literacy
  • Funds of knowledge
  • Multimodal literacy acts
2. Cognitive-Interactionist SLA:


  • Interaction, feedback, and tasks
  • Psychology-based measures
  • Cognitive creativity and language learning
3. Indigenous language revitalization:


  • Indigenous Language Revitalization (ILR)
  • Socio-cultural contexts and language learning/ maintenance
  • Multilingualism
  • Social justics
4. Antiractist/ decolonizing applied linguistics:


  • Race and equity
  • Mutual construction of race and language
  • Power and social capital
  • Colonial reasoning
5. Local Voices Network:


  • Public Discourse
  • Empathy across political and cultural boundaries
  • Machine learning; AI technology


  • Presenters will collaborate in December in January to review the appropriate literature and develop a concrete application.
  • Presenters will preview their presentation at the FLRT Symposium on January 31, 2020.  At least one member of each group must present.
  • If the application is pedagogical, we encourage presenters to ‘test-drive’ their application in a classroom (the purpose here is not to conduct research on the quality of this implementation, but rather to work out any unexpected issues.  So you will not be reporting your experience/ student comments in the AAAL session.)
  • Based on feedback at the Symposium and experiences in ‘test-running’ the implementation, presenters will improve their concrete application.
  • At least one presenter from each team will attend the AAAL conference in Denver, CO and participate in the special session.

Sign-up by December 10th!

Please click the collaborative google document below and enter your name.# next to the topic that interests you.  We will follow-up with you with further details.