Fifth International Symposium on Languages for Specific Purpose Announced

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This is a must-attend conference for anyone interested in Languages for Specific Purposes–service-learning, languages for the professions, social justice.  The site just went live on March 19th.

At every LSP conference, I get wonderful new ideas for languages for specific purposes programming and fresh understanding of what people are doing with languages outside of academia and how LSP educators are addressing their needs.

I have always been interested in medical Spanish and here are just two related memories from the symposium last year in Gainesville, FL:

1- A presentation by Glenn Martínez and José Pares-Avila, “From the Medical Interview to the Motivational Interview: Training Health Professionals for Chronic Care Counseling” covered behavior modification treatments, such as smoking cessation or diet and exercise prescriptions for type-2 diabetics, and emphasized the “language resources” required to provide that type of medical care to speakers of Spanish.  The actual grammatical structures needed at the beginning of the treatment are more “advanced” than the ones needed at the end of treatment, but when treated as “resources” required to provide care, language educators can equip health care professionals to work with Spanish-speaking patients. The importance of culture was not neglected, as the field of syndemics, which looks at social determinants of health, addresses issues of culture (among others) as they relate to health.

2- “From Workplace Tasks to Language Functions: An Interdisciplinary and Collaborative Approach to LSP Curriculum Design” by Maura Velázquez-Castillo and Shannon Zeller had it all–it was wildly entertaining as the presenters mimed some of the issues livestock workers experience interacting with cattle and the difficulties of not only communicating with veterinarians with a different native language, but having to do so over a distance from rural locations. At the same time, the issues they presented could not have been more serious–immigrant livestock workers, lack of veterinary professionals, language and cultures barriers, the economic impact of all their work, and the essential grant that was funding the presenters’ work. 

These were just a couple presentations that piqued my interest–many language groups, including French, Arabic, and Russian, were represented and the topics ran the gamut. Here’s a link to the full program from the 2018 symposium.

There is always a ton of support from like-minded colleagues working in LSP fields that can buoy you from one symposium to the next.

The symposium happens every other year and will be at UNC-Charlotte March 5-7, 2020. Mark your calendars now–and see the call for proposals to submit to present.

LearHeadShot2018Darcy Lear is a career coach specializing in  job search documents, interview preparation, and academic documents. She is the author of “Integrating Career Preparation into Language Courses” from Georgetown University Press.  For help customizing your job application documents and navigating your career transition, contact Darcy:
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