Modern Languages Professional Development
On Thursday, Nov. 17, Dr. Yu and Mrs. Cazabonne traveled to Boston to attend the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) annual meeting. The program consisted of a series of classes regarding modern language resources and ideas, different perspectives, and strategies all related to teaching a foreign language. The languages represented included Japanese, Chinese, German, Irish, Arab, Italian, Spanish and French. The conference was robust: Mrs. Cazabonne estimates that in three days about four hundred presentations were offered.
One of the sessions she attended covered the use of films for authentic learning of culture and language. She already uses this media in the form of documentaries, television news, short and long movies in order to teach culture and history, and is always looking for new resources. She says that watching films also helps students hone their listening skills. Two University of Wisconsin professors taught this class, and introduced a university-published book with ideas and exercises on how to integrate visual media into the classroom. Mrs. Cazabonne also attended sessions on the different levels of ACTFL guidelines for gaining proficiency, teaching without a textbook, and integrating culture into the classroom.
Dr. Yu enjoyed reviewing the textbooks and teaching materials of some of the organizations and publishers at the conference. She was able to see books and materials from both American publishers and others from around the world, including the United Kingdom, Japan, Beijing, and Taiwan. She even found the author of the textbook she uses, which is popular and widely used in colleges and high schools around the country, and looks forward to introducing the new edition next year. Dr. Yu also attended workshops on different methods of teaching Mandarin in secondary schools. She is excited to use new digital resources to maker her classroom even more engaging and interactive.
Dr. Yu wrote, “We have our hands full of a rich harvest from this conference. We improved our knowledge of teaching pedagogies and were enlightened by our peers’ teaching methods. We built our network of travel agencies for student trips and useful publishers for good materials.”
Dr. Yu throws tea overboard in Boston Harbor, and Mrs. Cazabonne enjoys the beautiful weather in front of the Tea Party Museum. They were able to see the historical sites of Boston and learn about the city’s rich history while at their conference.