Friday, November 20, 2015

LIVE! from ACTFL-2

So, what's here at ACTFL for K-8 teachers? This weekend there are sessions on staying in the target language in FLES, practical tips on integrating technology, content ideas for elementary, developing deep thematic units, learning stations and dual language programs-plus sessions sponsored by NNELL, who has a presence here, too.  A ton of great sessions for us, K-8 language teachers!

My biggest take away from today was not about pedagogy, writing assessments or tracking proficiency growth.  Today centered around global engagement and justice.  This morning's keynote was presented by well-known travel writer and guide, Rick Steves, who challenged us to keep traveling and to seek building more bridges than walls.  This was followed with a plenary on global engagement with a notable CNN correspondent and an author/teacher and four time Peace Corps volunteer who highlighted the life changing experiences they've had because they ventured beyond our borders...and comfort zones.  These experiences have me reflecting on myself as a person in this world. How do I fit into this global community? What are my responsibilities to help others in this community?  What bridges am I building? 

Isn't this what we want to cultivate in our students?  From an early age, children can start to form stereotypes and assumptions- I am reminded today that as a world language teacher, it's my work to challenge and debunk these stereotypes, to cultivate interculturality and encourage respectful investigation of this world.  Yes, TL use and performance benchmarks are important, but if I only focus on the language, I'm missing the heart of the matter. We can do this..from the very start.

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