I’ve been quite fortunate over the past several years to participate in much professional development locally in Ohio: regionally, nationally, and internationally. I have always appreciated the hard work and collaboration of my Ohio colleagues. Now, though, I feel the need to publicly acknowledge the truly phenomenal work taking place here.
I am cautious in writing this article so as not to diminish the good work taking place in other states. Really, what I need to say is, “Bravo, Ohio!”
At the 2014 ACTFL conference, I understood that many of our national colleagues were just coming upon the three modes of communication. For many, they are now beginning the task of redesigning curriculum to support real communication for the 21st century.
Ohioans have a good problem! Being ahead of the curve, I have found myself several times at conferences talking to colleagues from elsewhere who are so curious about implementing this new curriculum. I always have to share the great work you all have put together, be it our new ODE learning standards, OFLA committee’s work, resources related to proficiency- and performance-based assessments. As an out-of-state French teacher told me, “you are ten years ahead of other schools and states” in terms of second language acquisition methodology and standards. This is quite empowering, and yet a little scary.
To quote the assistant principal from my high school (and my Sylvania Southview colleagues and friends would have to agree), “We are building the plane as we are flying it.” Creating a standards-based curriculum has required us to start moving away from our textbook and to embrace our tools and resources. This is certainly not an easy job; it has not happened overnight (even if we have lost some sleep in the planning process!)
Bravo Ohio! We are well on our way to making a better and more meaningful learning opportunity for our Ohio students. Keep up the good work! Even though we might not have the best weather, we do have the best world language teachers. I am so proud to call you my colleagues!