It Takes a Village to Prepare a Great Language Teacher

Teacher Education and Licensing Committee Report

marthacMartha Castañeda, Teacher Education and Licensing Committee Chair

As I reflect on the tasks completed by the Teacher Education and Licensing Committee (TELC), I can’t help but notice a trend.  The course of action taken in the past year has created a convergence between two TELC goals: to help Ohio educators build their capacity to prepare students for proficiency in the foreign language and to provide Ohio teacher candidates with the optimal professional development situations.  During the last academic year, the TELC committee moderated and participated in sessions at the co-hosted OFLA and Central States. Moreover, the committee secured a grant to bring model teachers to the methods classrooms.

At the jointly hosted OFLA and Central States Conference, the TELC chaired one session to foster communication about the status of teacher education in the state of Ohio.  This was a very productive session where participants discussed effective techniques and methods, materials to assist in the preparation of language teachers, updates and strategies to assist teacher candidates with the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) and Writing Proficiency Test (WPT) requirements, ways to maximize the student teaching experience, as well as the format of the new Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA).  In this very constructive session, participants shared successes and pitfalls in all areas.  Similarly, the TELC participated in a very worthwhile panel discussion on bridging the gap between beginning teachers and teacher education.  Experienced mentors, new teachers, and a teacher educator shared their views on ways to improve the articulation between teacher preparation and the induction years.  In both of these sessions, we learned from each other, networked, and made important connections will colleagues around the state.

In the same vein, the TELC applied for and secured a small grant for exemplary language teachers to ‘visit’ the methods classroom via an edited video. The OFLA community nominated exemplary teachers who will create a 10-20 minute videos.  In these videos, teachers will first discuss their philosophy related to an essential theme in language education (e.g. use of target language, Standards, Culture, three modes of communication, etc.). The teacher will then be asked to identify relevant artifacts for each topic that will be included in the final video as well as videotape a short classroom segment illustrating the theme.  The videos will be edited and compiled to create a comprehensive, yet succinct, video collection that can be used to enrich the foreign language methods course sequence.  In turn, the videos can be used by practicing teachers to hone in their skills in current methods that will help prepare students for proficiency based language learning.

The efforts of the TELC committee reflect the growing need in the State of Ohio and in the nation.  We need to support and connect practicing teachers and teacher candidates.  The bottom line: it takes a village to prepare a great language teacher.  We need to work together to provide teacher candidates with a sound grounding, excellent experiences, and mentorship throughout.

This entry was posted in Committee News, Vol. 51, No. 3 - Spring 2013. Bookmark the permalink.

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