Language Teacher Symposium (LaTeS) Fall 2023 – Sara Lee

LaTeS is a biannual in-person workshop at which K-12 language teachers can share ideas and issues that are specific to their community, and leave with methods and materials that they can implement into their own classrooms. Arizona Continuing Education is available. There is limited travel funding available for participants who wish to participate from outside the Tucson area, See all the details below!

Small Changes – Big Impact, Classroom Strategies for More Inclusion

Presented by Sara Lee, Arizona State University

October 28, 2023

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

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

Registration is FREE! Deadline extended through October 25th at 11:59 PM. Limited spaces are available!

Limited funding for travel is available. The application deadline was October 16. Details about eligibility below. Thank you to the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Center for Middle Eastern StudiesCenter for Latin American Studies, and Arizona International for their contributions to these awards!

See what Arizona teachers had to say about LaTeS!

The presenter provided relevant teaching strategies that I am highly interested in trying out in my classroom. Besides that, other teachers inspired me to apply different methods to make our classrooms more inclusive. I find it highly empowering when Sara asked us to write down two things we want to use next week, which reassured us that we don’t have to be perfect; every little thing counts. We also shared that these strategies apply for everyone. On a micro level, I will allow students to take photos when taking notes, be more consistent with classroom structure, create more interactive activities, and provide alternative assignments. On a macro level, I will get to know students better so they feel more comfortable with communicating their needs and feel more empowered in learning a new language.

High School Mandarin Teacher , Maricopa Unified School District

Ms. Lee is an amazingly eloquent presenter and her entire presentation was engaging and motivational. 

Being a world language teacher, many times I feel we don’t receive enough training on how to reach students of different abilities.  Students with autism, ADHD, or other conditions are sometimes not enrolled in world languages because the adults in their lives fear they will not be successful.  On the other hand, sometimes they are placed in this class just for the sake of filling in their schedule.  Students with these conditions usually get easily frustrated, cause discipline issues, and give up almost immediately.  I feel attending this training is helping me see my students, regardless of their ability, from a different, more empathetic perspective.  I thought I was already as empathetic and patient as I could possibly be, but in retrospect, I can always do more.

Spanish Middle School Teacher, Mesa Public Schools

Not only did we learn about the facts and strategies; but we were also given information that allows us to better understand behaviors. I find this incredibly powerful because it allows us to remove judgment and reactions to behaviors which, as we have learned, have a neurological explanation. This information empowers teachers with the ability to be more empathic, effective in establishing meaningful relationships with students, and supportive in many ways.  

Numbers of neurodivergent students are only increasing in the classrooms, and it is our responsibility as school administrators and educators to provide the strategies and scaffolding that best support each of these students. As language teachers I find it important to understand that our neurodivergent students do have a place in dual language immersion classrooms and in world language classrooms. We have the power to create learning environments in which all students will be confident and successful.

Spanish K-12 Academic Coach, Chandler Unified School District

Abstract for the Fall 2023 LaTeS event: 

Dyslexia, ADHD, autism – shall we even bother to learn a second language?


Learners with disabilities often worry that their struggles will be multiplied in the world language classroom. However, the opposite can be true. Learning a second language means focusing on communication and culture instead of spelling tests and reading speed.

How can we as teachers help these learners reach their potential and minimize the impact that their disabilities have on language learning?

This workshop will focus on strategies that teachers can use to support students with different disabilities in the classroom. We will also examine how assessments can be adjusted and what ‘fair’ grading looks like.

Teachers are invited to share their experiences with learners with disabilities, and we will discuss how to create a more inclusive classroom and achieve this with just minor changes to our daily routine.

About the Presenter:

Sara is 2023 AZLA Teacher of the Year!

Sara Lee is an Associate Teaching Professor at Arizona State University for German in the School of International Letters and Cultures. She is a dyslexia consultant for the AATG and a Coach and GEM (German Educational Multiplier) for the Goethe Institut. As a certified K-12 teacher, she has taught elementary to high school students and developed a program for dyslexic middle school children to learn German. Her research and teaching focus is learning languages with disabilities and bilingual teaching and learning. In addition, she is the director of the CEFR language tests through the Goethe Institut in Arizona. Her current research project is the development of an error analysis to determine dyslexic tendencies in language learning based on the neurological and linguistic fundamentals of language learning.