CALICO Journal, Vol 38, No 1 (2021)

Galleries of Language : Maker‑Centered Learning and the Language and Culture Classroom

Jaya Kannan, Sara J. Brenneis, Sanam Nader-Esfahani
Issued Date: 28 Jan 2021


The use of digital exhibitions in two advanced language and culture courses within a liberal arts curriculum provides an innovative pedagogical approach to promoting language learning and critical analysis. This article proposes a pedagogy to incorporate Maker-Centered Learning (MCL), the framework that emerged from a Harvard Graduate School of Education research project, Agency by Design (AbD) in 2012, into language courses. Through the lens of the three indicators (“looking closely,” “exploring complexity,” and “finding opportunity”) and related descriptors put forward by the AbD project, the analysis of the two language courses— one French and the other Spanish—as case studies reveals how, despite differences in course objectives and design, they achieved similar results by (1) facilitating learner autonomy, (2) developing learner communities, and (3) fostering learning on a continuum by going beyond the classroom. We demonstrate that creative projects made possible through digital tools can generate opportunities for engaging with language, literature, and culture in ways that transform students into collaborators and creators of knowledge. This approach consequently displaces the MCL framework from its more traditional association with Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) fields, and bolsters the claims of scholars who view the arts and humanities as equally fertile ground for its application. The pedagogical methodology detailed here could be replicated in any language classroom.

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DOI: 10.1558/cj.40995


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