Pamela Wesely, Social Justice in the Language Classroom: A New Lens on Learning; and Toni Theisen, Activating Communication: Designing Learning and Creating Meaningful Assessments.

Fall 2017 LaTeS

Social Justice in the Language Classroom: A New Lens on Learning

Presented by Pamela M. Wesely (University of Iowa)

Saturday November 4, 2017, on the University of Arizona campus.

Description: Teaching for and about social justice positively influences all students, yet social justice education can be challenging to integrate into the language classroom.  Teaching for social justice includes building off of students’ talents and strengths, encouraging critical thinking, disrupting misconceptions and stereotypes, and giving students resources to reach their potential.  There are natural points of connection between these goals and other goals of language teaching (e.g., developing language proficiency and intercultural competence), and this workshop will help teachers to make those connections more explicit, and to be more deliberate about how they teach for social justice in today’s classroom.

In this workshop, participants examined the principles of social justice education, looking specifically at how those principles connect with the guidelines and standards in language teaching.  They also reflected on their own interests and strengths in becoming language educators for social justice as those concepts were reviewed; proceeded through activities and discussions designed to help the participants to plan and adapt curriculum, classroom activities, and assessments that help students to understand and enact principles of social justice while still developing their language proficiency; and addressed how teachers can address unplanned and challenging moments that arise in the classroom in a way that respects students and encourages critical thinking.

Participants left this workshop with clear ideas about how to integrate principles of social justice education into their language classes.

Dr. Pamela M. Wesely is an Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of Foreign Language and ESL Education at the University of Iowa.  A former middle school French teacher, Dr. Wesely is now a language teacher educator and researcher who focuses on K-12 foreign/world language contexts.  She particularly enjoys studying how teachers innovate and create engaging classrooms for the language student.

Dr. Wesely is a co-author of the 2014 ACTFL publication Words and Actions: Teaching Languages Through the Lens of Social Justice, and she has given workshops, guest presentations, and keynotes on the topic of social justice to language teachers across the United States.  She has published scholarship in publications including the Journal of Teacher Education, Foreign Language Annals, Language, Culture, and Communication, and the Modern Language Journal. She is the current President of the Iowa World Language Association and the Past Chair of the ACTFL Teacher Development Special Interest Group.

Spring 2017 LaTeS

Activating Communication: Designing Learning and Creating Meaningful Assessments

Presented by Toni Theisen (Loveland School District, CO; 2013 ACTFL President and 2009 ACTFL Teacher of the Year)

Saturday April 8, 2017, on the University of Arizona campus.

Click here for the flyer

Description: Our 21st century learners need a multi-sensory learning environment designed around authentic learning experiences that encourage collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. How can teachers use focusing lenses to guide thinking when creating relevant instruction that is more meaningful and engaging? How can focusing lenses be used to shape the instruction of a thematic unit? How can rigor and relevance encourage learners to critically think of solutions to real-world global issues in innovative ways? How can appropriate technology be integrated to support student learning? How can learning be differentiated to need the diverse needs of our students? And finally, how can we assess our students so they can demonstrate their learning? During this workshop, participants explored these questions and experienced learning activities that promote deeper, richer thinking that can enhance communication in all three modes.

Toni Theisen, the 2013 ACTFL President and the 2009 ACTFL Teacher of the Year, is a former French teacher Loveland High School in Loveland, Colorado. She is the current Loveland School District WL Curriculum Representative and the Director of the Dual Language Immersion Programs. Theisen is a National Board Certified Teacher with a M.A. in Foreign Language Teaching and a M. A. in Education of Diverse Learners. She is a Google Certified teacher. She currently serves as the Colorado Dept. of Education’s World Language Liaison.

Very active in the foreign language profession, Theisen has presented many workshops, keynotes and webinars for national, regional, and state conferences and has authored articles on Multiple Intelligences, Differentiated Instruction and Technology for the 21st century learner. Theisen presented “Activating Communication” as part of the first ACTFL Webinar series and also presented at the 2011 LARC STARTALK Institute at San Diego State University. Theisen also helps facilitate the STARTALK Leadership Strand at the CLTA/CWLP California Summer Seminar in Santa Barbara, California.

Theisen has participated on many committees including the revision of the Colorado World Languages teacher standards for licensure. She chaired the 2009 revision of the Colorado World Languages Academic Standards. She served on the committee for the National Board for Professional Teacher Standards in 2000 and was the co-chair for the revision committee of the NBPTS Teacher Standards for WLOE in 2009. She also chaired the ACTFL 21st Century Skills Map committee in collaboration with the Partnership for 21st Century Learning.

Toni served as President of the Colorado Congress of Foreign Teachers in 1988-89. As an ACTFL Executive Board member from 2001-2005, Toni served as the program chair for the 2004 and 2005 conferences. She was the Local Chair for the CSC, SWCOLT and CCFLT Joint Conference in 1988 and the Program Chair for the 1991 Central States Conference.

Toni has received many honors including the ACTFL Nelson Brooks Award for the Teaching of Culture, The Colorado Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, the SWCOLT Excellence in Teaching Award and the Genevieve Overman Memorial Service Award from the Colorado Congress of Foreign Language Teachers.