Oh Where Oh Where is that Perfect Resource I Know I Have?

Strategies to help keep you from losing your mind … and everything else!

Maureen Gerber, OFLA Secondary Language Learning Committee Chair
French Teacher,  Perrysburg High School 


One of the hardest aspects of teaching for proficiency, in my opinion, is keeping it all together.  Google Drive helps, but even there I’ve had my moments searching for the resource I just knew I had tucked away somewhere in the labyrinth of my drive.

I’ve come up with the following practices, those which are working for me, and so as this school year draws to a close, I pass them on to you.

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Spotlight on New Teachers: Michael Campbell

Megan Brady, OFLA Beginning Teacher Committee Chair
Spanish Teacher, Marlington 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. This spotlight edition is on Michael Campbell,  a Spanish teacher at Sylvania Northview in Sylvania, Ohio. This is his third year teaching Spanish.

What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?

My very favorite part about being a teacher is having something to celebrate every single day. Every little bit of language growth that I see in my students is an invitation to recognize and affirm their achievements, and I make sure that we all celebrate that on a daily basis. Even when I’m having tough days, applauding my students’ strides is always enough to put a smile on my face.

What made you want to teach?

As a humanities major in undergrad, I had always wondered what teaching might be like but really came to love it while working as a long-term substitute at Coventry Middle School near Akron, OH. My amazing colleagues there showed me how rewarding teaching can be when done in an environment that supports students when they face challenges and celebrates their victories when they overcome them. That experience stayed with me throughout my subsequent graduate studies and motivated me to pursue teaching as a full-time profession after that.

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Language Teacher Recruitment Must be a Priority

Kirsten Halling, OFLA Teacher Recruitment and Retention
Professor of French, Wright State University

How can we, as language teachers, ensure the longevity of our profession and avoid the epidemic of program cancelations due to the current language teacher shortage? By identifying and recruiting the next generation of language teachers. Do you have students who are natural born teachers? Students whose passion for the language reminds you of your own? Then consider mentoring these future teachers by giving them a window into the profession. 

Given the severity of the current world language teacher shortage, The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) has put together a whole program specifically targeted to language teacher recruitment. ACTFL’s Educators Rising 2.0 program can be used informally in a one-on-one setting, within the context of an after-school program, as a language club activity, or as a component of Educators Rising Ohio. Their comprehensive program provides master teachers with every imaginable resource for supporting future language teachers, from the practical to the inspirational. And in the very near future, these English-language materials will be translated into Arabic, French and Spanish and will be available at the same location for use in language clubs and even in the classroom (Back). This short article will explore the language teacher shortage and introduce ways that language teachers can inspire a future generation of educators to continue the boundary breaking work we do.

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Around the State

Ryan Wertz and Kathy Shelton, World Language Consultants, Ohio Department of Education

You Are Appreciated!

Ryan Wertz
Kathy Shelton

As we pen this article, we are in the midst of Teacher Appreciation Week, which falls annually during the first week of May. We are profoundly grateful for all that you have done to keep students learning during an unprecedented school year filled with challenges that were almost unimaginable a little more than a year ago. We want to thank every world language educator who stuck with it this year, overcoming seemingly insurmountable challenges to keep students engaged in language and culture learning. We have been duly impressed by your resilience and especially by your willingness to broadly support, collaborate and share ideas and resources with educators who have been struggling. This year Ohio’s world language teachers have shined brightly like never before, and you are to be commended!

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AATSP Update

Jonathan Harris, Ohio Buckeye AATSP President
Spanish Teacher, St. Gabriel Consolidated School, Cincinnati

The National Conference will take place in Atlanta, Georgia, from July 8-11. Georgia’s recently passed controversial Voting Laws prompted several other organizations to relocate their conferences out of Georgia. However, with a conference theme of Celebrating Diversity, AATSP released this official statement, “We believe the ideas and values we stand for will best serve our educational communities by continuing with plans for our in-person conference in downtown Atlanta (July 8-11, 2021).”

Teachers participating in the National Spanish Exam (NSE) were told that they will receive the results of the Exam on or before May 1.

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TESOL 2021
International Convention & English Language Expo

Derek Braun, TESOL/OFLA Liaison
Columbus City Schools, EL Science Teacher

Like so many parts of our lives now, the International TESOL Conference that took place in March of 2021 was of course, virtual.  Beginning on Tuesday, March 2021 and occurring over a four day period, the conference offered hundreds of presentations, workshops and networking opportunities.  More than 8000 plus English language professionals gathered virtually to share experiences and expertise in the field of English language instruction.  Clint Smith, one of the keynote speakers and staff writer at The Atlantic, discussed the power a teacher can have on creating a transformative classroom in which students can have conversations to deconstruct and reconstruct ideas to build something better.  On Thursday, James Alatis presented on the topic of Courageous Conversation™: Building Bridges, Not Borders. In this presentation, James presented his work engaging with a protocol and framework entitled Courageous Conversation™ in which he develops methods for individuals to achieve sustained and deepened dialogue. Also on Thursday, Cindy Mi, founder and CEO of VIPkid, which connects English Learners in China to online teachers for virtual lessons, discussed the current and future implications of the new global classroom experienced through online learning.  Friday began with a Keynote address from Dr. Janet Zadina, author and neuroscientist, who presented on the science and strategies for optimal learning. Finally, the conference concluded with remarks from the Presidential Keynote, Dr. Deborah Short, in which she recounted many stories of resilience and reinvention from teachers in the field of English language instruction.

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Bringing Ohio’s French History into the Classroom

Decoding the Céloron Plaque

Dr. Roger Anderson, Assistant Professor of International Languages & Cultures, Central State University

The Great Lakes and Ohio River regions boast a fascinating French history.  In fact, the French even claimed Ohio as property of the French crown!  Ohio instructors of French should welcome this history into their classrooms. 

The Céloron Plaque refers to six metal plaques that were buried by the French in Ohio’s soil in 1749.  What follows is a brief overview of its story, followed by suggested classroom activities for French language instruction.  

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“From OFLA to OWLA”

Rethinking the “Foreign” in “Foreign Language”

Dr. Roger Anderson, Assistant Professor of International Languages & Cultures, Central State University

Editor’s Note: The OFLA Board has been discussing changing our association’s name in order to remove the word “foreign”. This process would require a change in our official documents including our certificate of incorporation, insurance and banking and it will impact the association financially. Therefore, the board must determine how to move forward with our mission and vision while respecting the work of those who came before us and were responsible for creating the name and logo.

The turbulence of 2020-21 has taught us that we must critically examine how our identities, our ideologies, and our work impact society’s most vulnerable or marginalized members.  Now is the time for critical self-reflection.

Are “foreign” languages really foreign?

For the Ohio Foreign Language Association, critical discussion is needed about our organization’s identity as educators of “foreign languages”.

As an association of Ohioans, “foreign” is problematic.  We know that language operates on many levels.  On a legal level, foreign means of a different nationality.  To the U.S., it means that the person or thing is not of the United States.  It is out of place from where it belongs.  It does not really belong there, or does not fully belong there.

We must ask ourselves:  are the languages we teach foreign languages?  Do they not belong in the United States, or in Ohio?  In other words, are our languages not used by Americans?   

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COVID is No Match for CAAP!

Rebecca H. Bias, Ph.D., The Ohio State University
Assistant Director, Center for Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

The CAAP Program (Collaborative Articulation and Assessment Project) at The Ohio State University is in its 29th year!  CAAP is a creative, action-oriented articulation project designed to address the problems typically associated with the language learner’s transition from high school to post-secondary world language instruction.  Collaborative refers to the collective effort of high school and university instructors to create a core curriculum and a common set of instructional objectives for students at each stage of a four-level language program.  Articulation ensures that students move smoothly through a course of study, from one level to the next. It addresses the problems that students encounter when they make transitions between high school courses and the college classroom.  Assessment measures give students an indication of their potential university course placement.  

The project was initiated in 1992 by The Ohio State University, Columbus State Community College, and Columbus Public Schools, with a grant from The Ohio Board of Regents.  CAAP is currently funded by The Ohio State University College of Arts and Humanities and the Center for Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.  In 1994, CAAP added suburban schools in the greater Columbus area. Since then, over 250 schools from all over Ohio have become CAAP participants.  

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In Memory of Theresa Minick

Susan Colville-Hall, University of Akron, Professor Emeritus

“There are some who bring a light so great to the world, that even after they have gone, the light remains” (Leanin’ Tree.)   That is so true of our dear friend, Theresa Minick.  It’s been almost a year since the passing of our beloved Theresa (June, 2020) and we members of OFLA have missed her greatly.  Theresa brought us together in so many ways.  First, she helped us celebrate the language profession with her creative ideas to engage everyone in language interaction and culture learning.  Second, she thrust new ideas in technology at us and helped us make sense of new-fangled gadgets and procedures through professional development.   Third, Theresa seized the opportunity to fund summer workshops for teachers of specific interests and made these opportunities possible for many of Ohio’s teachers.  Finally, Theresa was generous with her time and took on the necessary dissemination of state standards and the sharing of curriculum development.  While these acts of professional service were ongoing, Theresa taught her own students at Kent State University and served on the board of several other important international non-profit organizations, such as Global Ties- Akron, the International Institute of Akron, and the International Institute Women’s Board.  She was also a member of Women’s Interfaith Spiritual Heritage (WISH) and a strong advocate and friend of the Arts in Akron.

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