Spring Outreach is an annual event put on by MFLA. It offers a free professional development opportunity to the teachers of world languages in a specific area of MD. We typically bring two presenters that offer sessions on different pedagogy techniques and instructional tools for teachers to immediately take back and use in their classrooms. It’s perfectly timed for the end of the school year when you are in competition with spring fever and need a boost to grab your students’ attention for the last few weeks of school. This year’s event was held on the Eastern Shore at James M. Bennett High School in Salisbury MD.
Thomas Edison from Anne Arundel Community College presented on the benefit of games in the world language classroom. Today’s language students are a very multitask-oriented population that is able to use smart phones, play video games for hours on end, therefore as teachers we have to integrate many levels of educational activities to stimulate them and to keep them engaged. Thomas showed us many examples of no tech games, low tech, and high tech. It is important to keep students engaged whether you have the most advanced classroom with every gadget or are still using a chalkboard as your most advanced tool. This session also stressed the importance of the educational value of the games. Teachers don’t use games to babysit their students. There is an educational goal of providing students with skills to speak, write, and listen, etc. in the target language.
Erin Troncone from Northern High School in Calvert County presented a selection of hands-on manipulatives for use in any level to increase confidence and study skills. Post-it-notes, index cards, and scratch paper are common items in a classroom. Erin presented ideas to teach students better study techniques, to reinforce patterns, and even encourage communication skills. Often hands-on activities provide a low affective filter so even the most timid students participate. The goal is to have activities that keep students involved and in the target language. That often involves giving directions and acting out the activities so that students aren’t confused.
The event was well received. Look for us in spring of 2015 as we will be going back to the Eastern Shore for another outreach event.
But, in the meantime, consider attending the MFLA Fall Conference to be held at Notre Dame University of Maryland on October 10-11, 2014. Click on Conferences to register.
Northern HS, Calvert County