Richard Emch, Ohio Foreign Language Association President
French Teacher, North Royalton High School
In an ever-changing field of education, the Ohio Foreign Language Association has focused our strategic plan to “build the capacity of foreign language teachers to prepare learners to demonstrate their [second language] proficiency.” The 2022 OFLA conference committee has taken on this endeavor and has invited education professionals recognized by the American Council on the Teaching Foreign Languages, the Central States Conference on the Teaching Foreign Languages, the Ohio Department of Education, as well as resident experts from Ohio, to provide the best professional development opportunities. We are pleased to present, at nominal cost to our members, our 60th Anniversary annual conference, July 25-27, 2022 in Dublin, Ohio.
More information and registration are available here: https://ofla.wildapricot.org/event-4728960
Kaleigh Baker, OFLA Executive Vice-President
Spanish Teacher, Butler High School
With the final weeks of the school year approaching, we are entering that time where classes are constantly interrupted with various forms of testing, field days, and the general disengagement that comes with the last month of school. It becomes increasingly difficult to gain the attention of our students and even harder still to maintain it!
Lisa Howie, OFLA Executive Treasurer
Spanish Teacher, Smithville High School
I have been going to OFLA conferences, except for a few years, since I was a senior in college. I want to tell you why.
During my senior year at the University of Toledo, the Annual OFLA Conference was held in Toledo. Our professors took us to the conference. I loved it! I went to a session about a technique to teach pronunciation with a Japanese teacher and actually learned some Japanese in the process. I was so excited that I called a friend in Yokohama and told her what I had learned. My mom was not happy about the long distance phone bill that month! Mana replied, “Very good, Lisa, but your Japanese has a Spanish accent.”
Beth Hanlon, OFLA Executive Recorder and Editor of The Cardinal
Spanish Teacher, Oberlin High School
As the 2021-2022 school year winds down, the typical end of the year feelings are starting – the sense of accomplishment that I have made it through another year and the excitement for summer. But I also experience feelings of uncertainty…what do I do with this time off? How much time should I be dedicating to “school stuff”?
For many years, I would leave in June with the trunk of my car filled with boxes full of materials. My husband would watch in horror as I moved half of my classroom into our house each summer. I would spend the summer beating myself up because I had not “gotten enough done.” I mean, why don’t I have the syllabi for all of my classes done a week after school was out?
Milton Alan Turner, OFLA Editor for Electronic Media
French Teacher, Saint Ignatius High School
Education in general and world language education in particular is not about just getting the right answers on a test. How students learn is as important as what they learn. Pedagogy matters. This has given rise in recent years to increased research in asset-based pedagogies. Instead of focusing on what students get wrong or what they lack, their deficits or liabilities, educators now often focus on what the students get right, what they bring to the classroom, their gifts or assets.
Education Week writers Madeline Will & Ileana Najarro discussed the differences between three types of asset-based pedagogies in their article “What Is Culturally Responsive Teaching?” published on April 18, 2022. The asset-based pedagogies they examined in the article were culturally relevant pedagogy, culturally responsive teaching and culturally sustaining pedagogy.
OFLA is in good hands
Teri Wiechart,OFLA Membership Chair
Delphos Jefferson High School (Retired)
It has been a pleasure and an honor to be a part of the OFLA Executive Board for the last 17 years. After volunteering with the 2005 conference, Barb Andrews asked me if I wanted a more formal role. I gladly agreed. Since then I’ve had a variety of roles, including being president, membership chair, conference committee, and professional development chair, each giving me the opportunity to help the teachers in Ohio further their professional growth.
Marianela Serrano, OFLA Professional Development Chair
Spanish Teacher, Hathaway Brown School
This past April, I had the wonderful pleasure of speaking to Dr. Russell Simonsen, a professor at Miami University. Dr. Simonsen holds a PhD in Hispanic Linguistics from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. He is also a Certified Healthcare Interpreter (Spanish-English), and a member of the OFLA Professional Development Committee. His work focuses on theoretical linguistics and his main area of expertise is second language acquisition. Dr. Simonsen looks at how people learn Spanish as a second language and how this knowledge informs teaching pedagogy.
In our conversation, I asked him about his current work and the future of second language teaching and learning. Here are his insights:
Megan Brady, OFLA Beginning Teacher Committee Chair
Spanish Teacher, Northwest Local Schools
The OFLA Beginning Teacher Committee is working hard to connect with new teachers and to support them in becoming excellent, innovative, resourceful, and long-lasting world language teachers. Our goal is to provide a network of resources, strategies, and tools for new teachers. We want new teachers to know that they are not alone and that OFLA is here to help them. To this end, we will be interviewing new teachers throughout the year and highlighting them in The Cardinal. Kaylen Sanor is a Spanish teacher at Alliance High School in Alliance, Ohio. This is her first year teaching Spanish.
Avoiding Teacher Burnout in a “Post-Pandemic” World
Lauren Racela, OFLA Technology Integration Committee Chair
French Teacher, Milford High School
It’s no secret that after two pandemic years, getting adjusted to the “new normal” has teachers feeling burnt out. This school year has been characterized by a return to in-person activities and the shedding of mask mandates. Most of us are back to the configurations we had built before COVID interrupted our routines.
The 2020-2021 school year felt like peak chaos – we were in survival mode, just trying to know enough to get through the week, the day, or even the class period. Personally, I spent the 2020-2021 school year teaching in hybrid form. I was in two different buildings teaching five grade levels, and in each of those grade levels I had a mix of online and in-person students. It had me feeling frazzled, and just delivering the material seemed to take all my energy. Now that we are “post-pandemic,” our communities are returning to normal and our calendars are filled with all the activities that were canceled during the pandemic.