LaTeS is back! May 6, 2023


CERCLL’s Language Teacher Symposium (LaTeS) is normally a biannual in-person workshop at which K-12 language teachers can share ideas and issues that are specific to their community, leaving with methods and materials that they can implement into their own classrooms. Because of the pandemic, we have not been able to host this event since 2019, and we are excited to be back in-person with LaTeS once again!


Performance-Based Activities for the World Language Classroom

Presented by Melanie Mello, award-winning teacher and teacher-trainer, specializing in language acquisition and theater-pedagogy

Event Date: May 6th, 2023

Time: 9:00 am to 2:00 pm (includes lunch)

Location: In-person at The University of Arizona, Tucson. (There are no remote access options for this event.)

Event registration is now closed. Stay tuned for information about the next LaTeS in the Fall!

Limited funding for travel is available. Applications must be received by April 10. Details about eligibility and a link to the application form are below. Thankyou to the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Center for Latin American Studies, and Arizona International for their contributions to these awards!

Access video link, handout and PPT slides below!


Recent studies found that participation in performative play can lead to significant improvement in cognitive functions, such as visual and auditory memory. This is because when we act we enter a state of full concentration and simultaneous relaxation allowing the brain to enter a processing mode in which previously stored information can be linked to new information improving retention (Ganz et al, 2020). Additionally, Drinko’s research on improv and neuroscience (2013) shows that performative practices help improvisers communicate more engagingly and interactively; accelerating language learner’s progress in proficiency in the interpersonal mode of communication.

In this workshop, participants will be introduced to several performance-based activities and concepts connecting improv, neuroscience, film, and language acquisition in theory and practice. After a couple of warm-up activities through which participants will learn how to control their voice and use their body to convey status and express feelings, we will try out several proven improv activities to explore firsthand how students’ communication and collaboration skills can be further developed through improv.

During the second half of the workshop, participants will be introduced to two drama-based pedagogical concepts developed by Ingo Scheller – Rollenbiographie and szenische Intpretation – that can be used in a variety of classroom activities. In this presentation, we will connect these ideas to a lesson focused on the study of a film. Both methods focus on the actor’s dramatic interpretation of the behavior patterns, feelings, and experiences of the character they represent based on their own personal feelings, thoughts, and experiences. In small groups participants will come up with their own dramatic interpretations of a “challenging” situation as presented in the movie Sachertorte (2022); a Vienna-based rom-com. After each group’s performance, we will watch the film scenes to compare our versions to the original.

About the Presenter:


Melanie Mello (M.A in Education) is an award-winning teacher and teacher-trainer, specializing in language acquisition and theater-pedagogy. In 2023, she was named Distinguished Alumna in Humanities and Fine Arts by her alma mater, California State University, Chico. She has taught German at the Saturday school, middle school, high school, and collegiate level since 2008 teaching classes ranging from beginner German to the graduate level. Melanie is currently co-authoring the intermediate level book in the Interkulturell series with Wayside Publishing. She is a German Educational Multiplier and Coach with the Goethe-Institut’s Teacher Training Program where teachers receive mentorship tailored to their needs.

Scholarship information:

The deadline for scholarship applications was April 10, 2023..

Scholarships are for those who would like to attend this workshop but would need financial assistance for hotel lodging and/or travel costs. A small of these awards are for full-time K12 teachers and full-time graduate students. They cover one night in a hotel near the university for the night before the workshop (i.e., May 5), and they may also include some reimbursement for travel costs for educators in the US (maximum amount, including hotel, is $500). To be eligibile, applicants must live more than 60 miles from Tucson. We will verify eligibility, before we make award notifications on April 19th.