Monday, June 9, 2014

Professional Development

As a non-native speaking Spanish public school teacher who is a true believer in the power of effective professional development, I am constantly searching for teacher education that is steeped in both content and pedagogy. While I believe that the tide is turning for the better in terms of the variety, access and source of development opportunities, I still get frustrated with the one day workshop model which provides little in the way of sharing and/or reflection. In my search for some really interesting and meaningful professional development opportunities for the spring/summer, I've run across some programs that I thought were worth sharing. I think the opportunities below do a lot to address these issues. Some are local to me in DC and others require travel. If anyone has any experience with any of these opportunities or knows of any others, please feel free to comment and/or share.

ACTFL's Spring Webinar Series-- these might not be the best in terms of addressing my "one shot" complaint of mine but I think they're an easy way to get some PD in and they look like they might have some value! (Also, might be worth checking out if there are any PD opportunities in the form of MOOCs in Spanish content and/or pedagogy- I wonder if any Districts have figured out how to give credit for these...)

National Capital Language Resource Center and The George Washington University is hosting a Spanish Immersion Weekend! I've subscribed to them for some time and they offer some great resources in their newsletter alone.

Middlebury 4 Week Summer Program for Spanish Teachers-- Who better to get PD from than Middlebury?!

Bennington College- Their graduate language school is offering a weekend intensive language workshop in both French and Spanish. It's called Le silence et la voix or, in Spanish, El silencio y la voz. They don't have a website but you can check out the flyer below.

The World Affairs Council-Washington, DC again offers its week-long Summer Institute on International Affairs for Educators. This year's theme is "Realities & Revolutions: A comparative look at civil society and its pathway to change," which will be explored from a historical and comparative perspective. Expect an intensive week of expert speakers, hands-on practical application, and developing classroom resources. Participants will receive 40 professional development credits/hours; three (3) graduate credits are available through Howard University ($300 total). To register contact Amanda Stamp at or 202-293-2051.

NTPRS- This is the annual conference for TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling) and, if you're not familiar with it, is a research based methodology for teaching languages that focuses on acquisition rather than learning. This means that teachers teach with the objective of students acquiring the language instead of learning about how the language works. The underlying philosophy is that students acquire language through compelling and comprehensible input in the target language. I was introduced to TPRS by a colleague at our local High School and I've found it to be the most intuitive and effective methodology that exists. Further, it's focus on reading allows language teachers to align their objectives with many of the objectives of English Language Arts thereby allowing us to creep out of the corner of the "elective course" just a little.

CARLA Summer Institutes-- hosted by University of Minnesota's Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition

iFTL Conference 2014 I attended the conference last year in San Diego and it was an awesome learning experience for me. The conference was filled with incredible educators throughout the country and tireless Carol Gaab who was never short of fun ideas for teaching. I would recommend this institute which as it both laid back and incredibly informative to anyone interested in learning about CI/TPRS.

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