In the Good ‘ole Summer Time!
Debbie McCorkle, Unioto High School
Chair, Secondary Language Learning Committee
Summer! For World Language teachers this season brings reflection, revamping and rejuvenation. During the summer there is time to reflect upon World Language curriculum. Using Ohio’s New Learning Standards for World Languages, Linguafolio “I Can Statements” and Intercultural Competencies “I Can” statements, it is easy to think about and insure that Ohio’s World Language students are acquiring all the competencies necessary to make them citizens of the 21st century. Using these tools and researching the many excellent curriculums across the state, revamping curriculum is a stimulating endeavor. Rejuvenation occurs during this season also. World Language teachers spend time traveling abroad. Traveling gives us energy, enthusiasm and reminds us and underscores the importance of what we do the other nine months of the year.
Personally, I get rejuvenated by spending my summer time on a sort of Treasure Hunt. While I can travel to experience culture, while some of my students can travel to experience culture, not all of my students can do so. So, in the summer, I find ways of making culture accessible to my students. Of course, food is always easy to find. As a French teacher, I know where I can get a steady supply of Orangina or where I can buy sugar cane for the tasting. I also research which of our “local” pro-soccer and pro-hockey players are francophone with the hopes of arranging interviews and I learn whether my students can Tweet any of them. I check out the upcoming opera, symphony, and theater offerings in my area for field trips. Visiting Ohio museums, in real time or virtually, always produce a great find on my never-ending Treasure Hunt.
Finally, the Secondary Language Learning Committee is continuing its work on the Principals’ Evaluation tool. It is our hope that this tool can be field tested next year and then used by principals across the state as part of our Ohio’s Teacher Evaluation. What does good teaching in a World Language classroom look like? It is the hope that this tool will help our administrators evaluate us more effectively.