Saturday, September 27, 2014

15 Ideas to Increase Awareness of Your Language Program and Share Your Students' Success

This is one of those blog posts that practically wrote itself in my mind over the last 24 hours. It is a reminder for me, as well as others, to continue the work to go beyond our own classroom and promote our language programs in our school and community, become involved in language organizations, share what we've learned, and encourage others in their journey as world language teachers.

Below are ideas that show the part that we, as language teachers, can play to increase understanding of the process of language acquisition, share our class activities and student-centered lesson plans, and showcase the success our students experience in our classrooms. 

Disclaimer: I have not done all of these. Some, such as #12, are out of my comfort zone but they are still on my radar to (hopefully) complete some day.  By posting the list on my blog, I can revisit it from time to time to check how much progress I have made on completing these tasks.

1.     Willingly share materials and activities with other language teachers at your school. (Share with others also, but ESPECIALLY those at your school!) If you created an activity that provided an opportunity for your students to succeed, don’t hesitate to share it, even if your colleagues don’t teach using the same methods that you do. A ready-made, proven lesson plan, may be a welcome sight to veteran teachers. (Better yet, share your CI- packed emergency lesson plans with your colleagues. Few teachers will turn down that offer!)

2.    Submit a proposal to present at a conference. Write a proposal to share TCI activities and reading strategies that you use in class that help your students to increase their proficiency in the target language. Submit the proposal to present at a local, state, or national conference. If that feels like too big of a step out of your comfort zone, ask a colleague to co-present with you.

3.    Invite your administrators to your class.  Give them a front row seat to the excitement and progress of your students. 
4.    Go to School Board meetings.  Let the board members know you are interested and invested in your school. You may be surprised how often discussions at board meetings are directly related to the subject you teach. Talk to your administrator and request an opportunity to showcase your students' language proficiency by having the students present what they are doing in class at the School Board meeting.

5.    Write and submit articles.  The Language Educator and other language publications are always looking for articles from teachers and what they are doing in their classroom that will be of interest to their readers.

6.    Submit a comment in the “So You Say” section of ACTFL's publication, The Language Educator. This is a less intimidating and less time consuming way to reach many readers with information on your methods and successes. 

7.    Write letters to the education department of nearby colleges. Offer to open your classroom to prospective teachers to observe your classes and techniques. An open invitation that welcomes the college students to observe a TCI teacher in action and to see the students’ responses will increase awareness and understanding of TCI and TPRS methods of teaching.

8.  Submit an article to your local newspaper. Write an article about a class project (i.e. a class community service project, a global collaboration project, or the success of your students in their language proficiency). 

9.  Participate in Twitter chats.  Participants in twitter chats such as #langchat both share their experiences and are actively searching for teaching strategies to add to their teaching methods.

10.  Use the power of Twitter.  Tweet links about Language acquisition articles, links to blog posts and Pinterest boards, and links of youtube videos of great TCI teachers in action. 

11.  Participate in a local TCI teacher group and invite others to the meetings.  If one is not available in your area, work with other like-minded teachers to organize one.

12.  Videotape yourself teaching. Videotape examples of storytelling/storyasking, MovieTalk, PQA, circling with balls, and other TCI-heavy activities in your classroom and upload them to a public source. (with permission of your administration and pupils)

13.  Create excitement about languages in the elementary level.  Submit a proposal to your district's administration for a short-term, fun-filled, after school language program for elementary students for "X" number of days.  (Examples: 10 sessions - 2x/week for 5 weeks; or 12 sessions - 3x/week for 4 weeks). If your school doesn't offer languages in the elementary schools, this will create excitement about your program among the students (and parents) years before the students step foot in your classroom.

14.  Blog about your experiences.  The number of language blogs is growing faster than ever, (check this list and my Pinterest board of CI blogs and other language blogs) but NONE of those bloggers have the same experiences than you.  Blog! Many will learn from your experiences. 

15.  Be an active participant on language blogs.  Comment on their posts, ask questions, and write words of encouragement.  When they ask for your ideas, join in on the conversation by offering suggestion and sharing what has worked in your classroom.



  1. I hope I'm not posting twice... Google just did something I don't quite understand. Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for your blog post and introduce myself. I am a Spanish teacher in DC and two years ago was introduced to the CI/TPRS methodology of teaching which I absolutely love. Since then I've reached out to the online community for strategies, support and materials and I've even started my own blog. My question is how do I join the Thursday night foreign language chat forum on twitter? I'm a bit of a luddite and so am struggling a bit. Do I need to be invited to join or apply? And how do I participate?

    1. Hi Señorita Henderson
      A teacher in DC ... will you be attending NTPRS in July 2015 in Reston, VA? I'm thankful it will finally be on the East Coast!!

      To join Thursday night's Twitter chat, go onto Twitter and follow #langchat. I suggest you use Twitterfall or Tweetdeck to make it easier to follow the conversation and comment. Check this post by Emilia Carillo for more specific directions (scroll to the bottom of post for a video tutorial):

      video tutorial on joining #langchat

      If the link doesn't work you may have to copy and paste the URL below:

  2. Can I post a link to this posting on my blog? I've taken your advice and have been sharing CI ideas with my non-Ci department biweekly, and many of them are very appreciative of it, so I wanted to do a write up about how to share ideas. I want to give you credit for motivating me!

    1. Sure thing Keith! It's great to hear that you're sharing your knowledge and ideas about CI with your department.
      I look forward to reading your blog post for more ideas on how to share. :-)