Language Sensei

Thoughts on The Journey of Teaching Languages

Opportunity, Advocacy, Connecting: My First ACTFL Conference

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actfl_newOkay – I’m excited and a little bit nervous. Why? Well I’m off for my first big, really big, languages conference ACTFL 2014 (American Council on the Teachers of Foreign Languages) in San Antonio Texas. It’s the largest teaching conference I’ve ever attended, and my opportunity to hear and learn from some amazing teachers. Nervous also as I am helping to present the benefits of the #langchat PLN on Saturday (10am) to people who are interested in learning how Twitter can be a great source of Pro-D. I’m not nervous about presenting the information but I’m excited/nervous about the opportunity to meet my #langchat co-moderators in person. They are people who I look up to and respect but have never actually physically met before. What are they like in person? Are they taller than me or not? What do they sound like? Questions Questions! It’s going to be a lot of fun!

Opportunity – I’m so excited to be able to attend workshops to learn. One of the thrills of a conference is to be able to hear and ask questions of someone who is doing something that you hope to one day be able to do. It’s the energy and the confidence of presenters that often help to carry me into a new way of thinking and doing. Information I get at any time but it’s the personal input, the stories and the ‘cheerleading’ that makes all the difference and a conference is a great way to charge the batteries!

Advocacy – It’s no secret I am a big big #langchat fan. It has revolutionized my teaching and made me a way better teacher. I used to think I’d be content with a textbook, a workbook and some master copies – but nope, not any more. I’m making big changes in how I approach teaching, in small manageable ways, because of what I learn. The #langchat hashtag is my go-to for the latest ideas, problem sharing and food for thought. The #langchat chat is my go-to for diving into specific topics in a more detailed way. Both are essential to me as a professional.

Connecting – This year I was so lucky to be able to take a Pro-D day and drive 1 1/2 hours south of Vancouver to visit with Catherine Ousellin in Mt. Vernon (@CatherineKU72). When the border agent asked me how I knew the person I was going to meet in the US I replied sheepishly “I met her online”.  Ultimately I was allowed through and spent a morning with Catherine and her French classes – what a treat. There are many #langchat peeps who I will have the opportunity to meet in person – to actually speak to. They are the people who have supported me, laughed with me and provided me with inspiration and resources and more. I look forward to meeting them and thanking them – thanking them for being so willing to share and grow as part of the #langchat PLN!  I’m even going to seek out Joe Dale, the first person I ever followed on Twitter and my first resource for technology ideas for the language classroom.

meSo look for me at the conference, I’ll be wearing my #langchat T (red or black) and hopefully will get to say hi. If you see me – tshirt redplease say “Hi” too. If you know of any teachers who are curious about what #langchat is, or how to follow the chat etc., come see us Saturday at 10am. If you are a #langchat regular watch for tweets about our ‘in person’ meetup on Thursday night.

I look forward to reporting out what I’ve learned. See you in Texas y’all!

Colleen

 

 

 

 

 

 

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