IPA, ACTFL, SLOs and MUCTL were just some of the acronyms I learned about at the Miami University Conference on the Teaching of Languages this past Friday.
The conference, held every two years at Miami University in Oxford, OH, brings together language teachers from around the state to discuss new state standards and new ideas to implement in the classroom.
I went to the conference alongside senior Spanish major Lauren O’Connor and Roth Hoff, associate professor of languages and department chair.
For me, the conference was the perfect way to put all the instruction methods I learned in the classroom at Wittenberg into my classrooms for field experience, and eventually, student teaching.
While Integrated Performance Assessments (IPA) and Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) are new to the world language field, the conference did a great job at breaking them down and explaining not only what they did, but also how to create and use them in your own classroom.
Throughout the eight-hour conference, our group went to sessions on vertical articulation, authentic resources, IPAs, fun ways to get students involved and the not-as-fun new state standards. If you’re preparing to be a language teacher, like I am, these sessions are extremely helpful in learning how to effectively teach students, keep lessons in the target language and, overall, make things fun for students.
Before this semester, I wasn’t sure if I still wanted to teach. I was taking all the classes, I was nearing the end goal of licensure, but I was also looking at other jobs.
All of that changed since starting my field experience with first and second graders at a local elementary school. The students are so eager and excited to learn. They love speaking Spanish, and they ask so many questions about the language.
Because of them and students like them, I want to be a better teacher, which is where the conference kicks in. I learned not only about fun ways to teach Spanish (including lots of Pinterest!), but I also learned how to plan for students to grow and move through multiple levels of Spanish. These were things I hadn’t necessarily learned about in my classes, but would definitely need to know once I started working. I wish I would have known about the conference before, but I’m glad I got to go and get a better handle over all the new educational jargon that I learned in class but really understood at the MUCTL conference.