Topic Thread

Topic: Introduce Yourself Here!

1.  Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-10-2016 12:51
Edited by Genevieve Borello 03-11-2016 13:09

Welcome to the ACTFL Community!

Our ACTFL community gets bigger every day. Many of you already know one another, while others are brand-new faces. For everyone new, and not-so-new, take a little time to introduce yourselves.

Share your name, where you're from, what language(s) you teach, at what level, and why you believe language education is important.

I'll start: I'm Genevieve, I'm the Membership Manager at ACTFL. I'm from Virginia and attended the University of South Florida in Tampa (Go Bulls!) One summer in college, I taught English in Costa Rica for to young adults, it was a learning experience for everyone! In college, I minored in Spanish and studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain. I think language education is important because it expands our horizons, exposes us to new cultures and traditions, and empowers us to learn a little more about the rest of the world. 

Join the conversation - introduce yourself today and begin networking with your peers. I look forward to "meeting" many of you, learning more about you, and hearing the opportunities and challenges that you are facing.

Genevieve Borello
American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)
Membership Manager
(703) 894-2900

2.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-11-2016 11:03

Hi all,

I'm Lisa Campo, ACTFL's new marketing & communications manager.

In south Louisiana, I grew up in a family descended from Canary Islanders, who had assimilated by losing their original language and picking up some French sayings and words. As a result, I studied French all through elementary, high school & college, but still probably couldn't hold a full conversation in it. I love linguistics and learning about different dialects. I've also briefly studied Russian, Czech and my family's original language, Spanish. Eventually, I would like to have at least limited proficiency in Spanish so that I can reply when people assume I speak it!

As you can tell, I'm close to my extended family, who all still live in Louisiana -- many of whom are teachers or administrators in my hometown, St. Bernard Parish. I'm a huge supporter of education, and, by proxy, language education. 

I am excited to contribute to ACTFL's mission by helping Genevieve communicate our many benefits to you! I hope to speak to you all online and then at the conference in November.

Please message me with any comments, questions, suggestions, et cetera.

p.s. - if you're interested in learning more about the Canary Islands community in Louisiana, check out

Lisa Campo
ACTFL Marketing & Communications Manager
(703) 894-2900 ext 119

3.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 07-15-2016 09:35
Edited by Kristi Shaffer 07-15-2016 09:35

 I'm Kristi and I have taught high school Spanish in Dexter, Michigan for the past 13 years. I attended school at the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan. I studied abroad in Seville, Spain from '96-97 and in Queretaro, Mexico in the summer of 2003. I also taught English to Korean junior high school students as a Fulbright English teaching assistant. Recently I have become more active as a teacher leader and enjoy presenting at language conferences. I also recently traveled to China in December of 2015 to train teachers who will instruct Michigan students in Mandarin. World Language is a core class and I know that all students can learn another language when we teach them with a communicative approach. I really appreciate all the work that ACTFL has done to write standards that have a basis in research and require students to do things with language rather than just talk about pieces of the language. My approach to teaching has completely changed for the better.

Kristi Shaffer

4.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 11-04-2016 08:55

Bonjour tout le monde.

Hello, I'm Dan Teitelbaum and I have been teaching French since 1988 (do the math :-) ) I am currently working at Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, NC. For the previous 9 years I served as the Chair of the World Languages Department here and this year I am taking a much needed year off! Currently I teach first year, second year, second year honors and AP French. I have been an AP reader since 2006 and for the last two years I served as a table leader for the Cultural Comparison. 

I earned my MA in French from American Univ. in DC and many years later earned an M. Ed. from NCSU here in Raleigh. 

Our department's current overarching goal is proficiency based planning, instruction and assessment. We are striving to incorporate comprehensible input along with IPAs. If there are colleagues our there with successful suggestions, strategies and even trials/errors that you've learned from, I would love to hear from you. 

Thanks, Genevieve, for the nudge to post. 


Daniel Teitelbaum

5.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 11-05-2016 10:19

Hi, I am a world language chair of Saint David's School in Manhattan, NY and last summer I taught a course for teachers who came to Spain on how to integrate authentic resources in planning for an IPA unit. I am happy to share materials from the course and outlines of units with you since I think they could very easily be adapted to French. One example that comes to mind is having students design a tour (brochure, video or poster) of their own town for visitors (in the target language ---including famous persons) after they study a model tour of a target culture site.

If you would like to know more about these projects and how we worked to design them I can discuss further. Please contact me offline at or let me know if you will be at ACTFL.

Victoria Gilbert, Ed.D.
Chair, Modern Languages

6.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 11-14-2016 10:58

Hello everyone, My name is Benson Ulysse. I'm from Haiti and I will be part of the group that represent CAPPA-Sourds-Haiti, an organization that are working with people with auditory loss. I'm very excited to attend my first ACTFL convention.

See you soon!

Benson Ulysse
ulysseub@yahoo.frLanguage Consultant

7.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 15 days ago
Hello everyone, I am Yang Ling in Chinese, but Ling Yang in English. Taught English in China and been teaching Chinese to adult learners here for more than 20 years!

Love to share culture differences and similarities, especially through modern technology, with many apps to engage our students to discuss and share what they find interesting, either in contents or in content deliveries. I am learning from our students something new everyday!

Love to read the comments and ideas posted here. This "individualized" platform is great!


8.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-11-2016 12:30

I'm Gina Covello. I founded Habla Language Services in San Jose, CA to bridge the communication gap between English and Spanish speakers. I teach and tutor English and Spanish at all levels including interpreter level. I offer Medical, Legal, Business and Conversational Spanish and small classes for children. We offer other services as well.

I double majored in English Literature and Language & Culture Studies at the University of California and earned an MA in Hispanic Studies from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. I studied in Mexico and Chile and served in the US Peace Corps in Costa Rica. I also worked as an interpreter for the US Dept. of Justice. 

I think language studies is important to learn about communicating with others and to understand other cultures and other ways of thinking. It also helps with brain development and understanding your native language better. I attended the ACTFL conference for the first time last year. I've been on these boards for a while though. 


Gina Covello, MA

9.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-12-2016 09:09

I am Kelly Ochoa. I teach AP Spanish at a small high school in south eastern Massachusetts. I spent 15 years teaching Spanish 1 at the middle school level and 3 years ago switched to being a high school Spanish teacher. I went to Union College in upstate NY and earned a BA in Latin American Studies. I then joined the Peace Corps and served in Honduras. After Peace Corps, I decided I wanted to teach and entered a Peace Corps Fellows program to get my teaching license. I graduated from Wichita State University in Wichita, KS with an MA in Curriculum and Instruction. I also taught for 3 years in the Wichita Public Schools for 3 years as a middle school teacher. Shortly after the birth of my twins, I moved back to Massachusetts to be closer to my family. I love teaching language and am very intrigued by the way in which our profession (language teaching) is evolving. I think the next few years we will see lots of new things in education due to technology. 

Kelly Ochoa

10.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-13-2016 11:36

Aloha from Maui!

My name is Jeenna Canche and I teach Spanish 2, 3, and 4 at Maui High School.  I have been teaching Spanish for ten years and I have also taught at Kihei Charter School and King Kekaulike High School.  I am very passionate about teaching and learning languages and I am especially interested in finding and testing teaching strategies that work and in finding ways to positively impact student self-efficacy and motivation in the classroom.  My passion for languages stems from my belief that learning languages opens doors that can change people's lives by providing opportunities and bringing people and cultures together.  Plus, it's just a lot of of fun!  :-)

Jeenna Canche

11.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-14-2016 14:16

Maria Spicer-Escalante
maria.spicer@usu.eduAssociate Professor

12.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-14-2016 22:24


My name is Paula Dimler. I teach Spanish at Cody High School in Cody, Wyoming. I actually am on schedule to retire this year but recently renewed membership with ACTFL because I really don't know what lies around the next bend. I am a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Ecuador, South America, where my husband and I both served and am also proud to have a daughter who served as a Volunteer in the Dominican Republic. I am a veteran teacher but have always been passionate about the Spanish language. On a personal note my daughter married into a Spanish speaking family and my grand-daughter is growing up bilingual. She lives right here in Cody and just turned 2 years old in March. I love to hear language explode from her and am fascinated how at present she uses English and Spanish vocabulary interchangeably. She is yet to have a filter for one language over the other. 

 I have been eyeing the scholarship opportunities for Spanish in Mexico, Chile and Guatemala. I have been involved in mission work in Guatemala with Living Waters of the World and would genuinely just like an opportunity for an intensive language experience abroad as I have had in previous experiences in my past. I do not know if the scholarship opportunities through ACTFL are a match for me, but I am hopeful.

I wonder what others might contribute to this conversation.

Paula Dimler

Paula Dimler

13.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-16-2016 15:58

Hello, I'm Pete Swanson and I'm the 2016 ACTFL President. This year has been a pleasure for me as I traveled to each of the regional conferences and met a lot of great people working hard on behalf of language teachers. I started my career as a Spanish teacher in the late 1980s teaching in Colorado and Wyoming. After 15 years in the classroom, I decided to pursue my doctorate.

in 2006, I accepted a tenure track position at Georgia State University (GSU) in Atlanta. At GSU, I am the Coordinator of the FL Teacher Education Program and I work with some of the best colleagues in our profession. Each year we prepare highly qualified language teachers in five different languages. I am also the Director of Graduate Studies for our department. I teach undergraduate and graduate classes in a variety of areas such as pedagogy and assessment, technology integration, and research in second language to name a few. 

As ACTFL President this year, we are focusing efforts on language teacher recruitment and retention. I've been writing about the language teacher shortage and the need to address teacher recruitment and retention in both Foreign Language Annals and The Language Educator. It's something that is close to my heart as we are advocating nationally for the Seal of Bliteracy and increased funding for world languages in the newly reauthorized Every Student Succeeds Act, formerly known as No Child Left Behind. I hope you will join the advocacy effort and let your legislators know about the virtues of language teaching and learning.  Finally, I hope to see you at the 2016 ACTFL Convention in Boston in November. It's ACTFL's 50th anniversary of the founding of the organization that is working daily to help language teachers and learners. 

Pete Swanson

14.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-18-2016 09:31

Hi Everyone!

I am currently the Executive Director of ACTFL located in the Headquarters Office in Alexandria, Virginia.  We just started an office renovation to expand our offices a bit so we have a lot of dust right now.  But I invite any of our members to visit us when you are in the Washington, DC area!

I started my career in Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia and taught Spanish and Latin to high school students.  I also taught some classes at the elementary level and methods courses for teachers at the postsecondary level.  I have always missed the students but make it a point to visit classes and meet with teachers whenever I can.

We are striving to be a pro-active and collaborative organization that meets the needs of our members and the profession at large so we welcome your participation in the community and your input regarding how ACTFL can better meet your needs.

Hoping to see many of you in Boston!


Marty Abbott
mabbott@actfl.orgExecutive Director

15.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 04-04-2016 12:18

Hi my name is Lizette Cherres and I am a graduate student at San Diego State University in the Spanish and Portuguese Department. I am a Teaching Associate and I currently teach two intermediate Spanish courses. Last year I taught introductory courses.

I like to learn about different cultures. I am interested in social justice issues and I try to implement diversity and social justice talks in my class. For example, in power point presentations I like to put different pictures of people of diverse backgrounds. Also, there have been times when students say something that may offend someone else due to stereotypes in which I address the best way I can. However, I must admit, that having these conversations in Spanish is difficult.  

I am excited to be part of this community and hope to learn from you all. 

Lizette Cherres
etcherries24@gmail.comTeaching Associate

16.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-18-2016 10:06

Hey Paula, 

You should definitely look into the Spanish scholarships. While they are not administered through ACTFL, we reserve a certain number of spots for our members. The Celas Maya or IMAC scholarships would probably be best for you as some of the others are for newer teachers. The Celas Maya also offers this option if you aren't already certified by the Cervantes Institute: "winners of this scholarship have the option of changing one week of Spanish instruction to one week of DELE preparation"

Glad you've joined us on the community!

Lisa Campo
ACTFL Marketing & Communications Manager
(703) 894-2900 ext 119

17.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-16-2016 15:31

Hi everyone!  I'm Bill Anderson.  I live on Long Island, New York.  I was a Spanish teacher for many years before becoming an administrator.  I'm the World Language supervisor in the Massapequa School District.  Learning language not only prepares our students to be globally competitive, but it helps them to become global citizens who understand the world.  Our job as teachers is to encourage them to love it.

William Anderson
K-12 Curriculum Associate for World Languages
Massapequa School District

18.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-16-2016 16:35

Thank you to everyone who has participated! It's been wonderful to learn more about everyone and see the passion everyone has for world languages. Thank you again for participating, we hope you enjoy our Community!

Genevieve Borello
American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)
Membership Manager
(703) 894-2900

19.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-18-2016 16:07


I’m Chris Cashman, and I teach Spanish for L2 learners and heritage speakers at a public fine arts high school in Chicago.  I appreciate the invitation to discuss challenges we are facing.  I’d like to throw a conundrum out there that I’ve hit in my teaching career recently – I’m in year six – and see if any of you can speak to it.   

I have felt recently like there are clashes between my “linguist” self and “educator” self.  I sense that a few things that are said to be “best practices” in both realms seem mutually exclusive –as if the SLA people and the education experts aren’t talking to each other.  But maybe I’m wrong, so here goes my own interpretation of my problem: 

The field of SLA tells me that grammar structures are acquired in stages, it takes a long time for them to emerge, learners make many mistakes before successfully producing them, and that repeated exposure over time is the key to vocabulary knowledge and production.  This translates into a teaching style that “teaches for proficiency” – allowing learners to make mistakes, exposing them to a variety of structures in comprehensible contexts over time, emphasizing frequently used vocab like “quiero” instead of “zanahoria”, etc etc. 

The education experts say that we need daily and weekly “I can” statements, that units should have measurable objectives, that students should be able to observe what they have learned between the beginning and end of a unit, that rubric criteria should be specific, and that students should have a clear understanding of what they are being assessed on. 

In case anyone is preparing an “Oh, do you know about TPRS?” type of response, please know that I taught for two years (2 ½ if you include student teaching) at a high school that did only TPRS, and I wasn’t too impressed with the results there – and that school has since moved on to incorporate more explicit teaching.  I’m now at a high school that teaches thematically, with specific grammatical benchmarks every unit, but we’re also a small department that is open-minded and willing to change and incorporate the best things that ultimately help students achieve language proficiency. 

I know that 100’s of pages have been written about all of these issues I’ve listed above, but if any of you can speak to my conundrum, I’d love to hear how you educators have sorted this out!   I’m thinking about taking this issue to “Tea with BVP” some time.  

Christopher Cashman
Spanish 2-3, Spanish for Heritage Speakers

20.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-19-2016 13:03

Hi Chris!

Here's my take on your conundrum.  I think you're putting your energy into the wrong place.  You're wondering about "how" you should teach.  I suggest you should be putting your energy into how well the students are learning.  (Learning being defined, in this case, as indicated by the ACTFL Standards, Proficiency Levels, Rubrics developed to determine formative and summative assessments.)  You can track your students now as they move from Novice-Low, Novice-Mid, Novice-High, etc.

If you usually teach by standing on your head in the middle of the classroom and spinning and your students are becoming proficient, keep spinning!  But, if students aren't becoming proficient, re-think the spinning thing.  ; - )

As a former World Language Coordinator, I always told "my" teachers, I don't care "how" you teach, as long as the students are becoming proficient.  But, if they're not becoming proficient, change what your doing.

Everything in your classroom should be driven by how proficient students are becoming in Communication.

Try something, if it works, keep it and improve on it.  Try something else, if it works, add it to your toolbox.

That's my take on it.



[David] [Burrous]
[World Languages Educational Consultant]

21.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-28-2016 01:06

Hi all -

Jeenna Canche’s entry on March 22nd is pretty much along the same lines as what I inquired about here back on March 18th.  The responses I got indicated that perhaps I needed to use an example in order to illustrate the tension I’m feeling between what SLA tells me and what the general field of education tells me.  

Let’s use the teaching of present tense in Spanish as an example.  

The “educator” side of me wants to put the endings and formation of present tense verbs as a clear objective for a given unit, and then assess students at the end of a unit on their accurate usage of it.  To work towards that end, we can do all sorts of communicative and cultural activities in context that require them utilize and learn present tense.  At the end of the unit, they will need to demonstrate their understanding of present tense (among other things) through assessments with a rubric detailing that correct present tense usage will be evaluated.

The linguist/SLA/“teach-for-proficiency” side as I currently interpret it would say… Expose students to a wide variety of comprehensible input.  They may even be exposed to different tenses.  Students might get bits and pieces of different grammatical structures, but not an entire paradigm.  Maybe they’ll catch él / ella and yo forms of present tense now, but nosotros and ellos forms will be “caught” at some time down the road as they are exposed to it over time.  

My question is, at what point along the way do I as a language teacher hold my students accountable to learn present tense if I’m “teaching for proficiency” and let them acquire it over time?  In fact, how do I hold them accountable for anything at all if everything needs to be “caught” instead of “taught”?  

Which “best practice” should win at the end of the day -- giving students clear objectives to be met within a defined timeframe, or giving repetitive comprehensible input until students produce it naturally?  And if it’s the latter, how does it happen in a classroom context?  

If someone has a better way to frame this whole thing, please feel free to contribute.

Christopher Cashman
Spanish Teacher

22.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-19-2016 10:29

Hi everyone,

I'm Grant Boulanger, a Spanish teacher at a middle school near St. Paul, MN. I've been teaching for 16 years and in a variety of contexts - I helped cofound a project-based bilingual high school, taught middle school immersion but ultimately I've found passion teaching middle school novices in a traditional secondary program. 

I'm a firm believer in finding ways to deliver language that build real and measurable fluency. That may look different depending on one's context, but my path has been marked by an intense focus on getting better at making learning learning more meaningful, relevant and equitable to the students in front of me. I've learned I need to create an environment in which all my students are welcomed and honored - one which allows them to come into language learning on their own terms.

Language learning is important because it connects us. It connects us to others throughout the world, but equally as important is that it helps us trust and connect with our neighbors. I've learned, teaching novices, that building students' abilities to trust, connect with and honor one another is a crucial first step to helping them build bridges across world cultures.  

Grant Boulanger

23.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-20-2016 10:23

Hi Language Educators, I am Ali Moeller, a foreign language educator at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and at present serve on the ACTFL Board.  My experiences in language education include TA coordinator in a modern language department in higher education, a public school teacher for 11 years, a department chair of high school language department and, at present, a professor of language education. My main focus is on teacher development, both inservice and professional development. I conduct research at the classroom level to better understand how students learn and what teachers need to optimize student engagement and achievement. I particularly promote theory and research into practice; most recently my areas of inquiry have been in assessment and intercultural communicative competency--what do these look like at the classroom level.  I look forward to exchanging ideas and  approaches to language learning and teaching with you.

Aleidine Moeller

24.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-19-2016 18:27

Hola and Hi everyone,

My name is Laurel Derksen, raised in Minneapolis, but living outside of Anchorage, Alaska for the past 40 years. I have recently retired from the Anchorage School District as a Spanish teacher, and for the past 22 years as the World Language curriculum support teacher for World Language teachers and the K-12 immersion programs. (Spanish, Japanese, Russian and next fall, Chinese). 

This is my last year on the ACTFL Board of Directors as the representative for the Pacific Northwest region, and it has  been my sincere pleasure and honor to serve on it.  

 At St. Olaf College long ago, I studied abroad in Thailand and Mexico, and I have never stopped believing in and promoting the importance of discovering and opening one's mind to other peoples, cultures and languages. I believe it is the only way to share our mutual humanity with our global community.

In fact, I believe so strongly in studying abroad, I sent my son on a semester to Morocco, which stretched into a year, with the result that he brought back an amazing Moroccan young lady, whom he has married and now they have 2 sets of twins (4 and 1yr olds)! :)

As lifelong students of languages and cultures, we continually find ourselves as good will ambassadors representing  our own little corner of the world, which results in cementing empathy and understanding among those who may not have the opportunity to involve themselves in other cultures elsewhere.

Laurel Derksen
Anchorage School District (Retired)
World Languages Curriculum Support
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness."-Mark Twain

25.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-19-2016 22:47

Greetings!  I'm Lisa Lilley from Springfield, Missouri.  I taught Spanish for 20 years and presently work as our district's IB Middle Years Program Coordinator.  In my position I provide support to teachers of all subject areas but stay heavily involved with world languages.  I serve on the ACTFL Board of Directors as its Treasurer and member of the Executive Committee and the Convention Committee.  I am also involved with many others in bringing a Seal of Biliteracy to Missouri students.  When we have free time and nice weather, my husband and I can be found on a hiking trail.

Languages are a core component of offering a true world class education to today's students.  Educators make this possible through involvement in ACTFL as well as state and regional organizations where we further develop our professional practice and ability to advocate for programs.  In a shrinking world, languages matter and the role of language educators is vital to promote better understanding among peoples.

Lisa Lilley

26.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-21-2016 21:00
Edited by Susann Davis 03-21-2016 21:08

Hello! I'm Susann Davis.  I teach beginning and intermediate Spanish at Western Kentucky University.  I have just recently begun my term on the ACTFL Board of Directors and am serving on the Convention Committee.  I am passionate about helping learners establish and meet proficiency goals.

Knowing a second language is imperative more than ever before, as today's markets are globally competitive and our work environments are culturally diverse.  Bilingual and multilingual individuals have an exponentially wider circle with whom they can communicate and connect, whether it for professional reasons or personal fulfillment. However, perhaps even more importantly, studying a second language provides us another lens through which we can begin to see beyond our ethnocentrism to more profoundly understand and appreciate the values and perspectives of other cultures. 

Susann Davis

27.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-22-2016 14:56

everyone, I'm Dolly, I am the founder of The Language & Cultural Club in Ellicott City, Maryland and I brought the Tic-Talk Spanish Immersion Program to Howard County, MD. We provide enrichment opportunities for young children to learn the Spanish language and culture through fun activities, music and play/TPR.

I’ve found passion creating new lesson plans, developing projects and activities to make Spanish fun and easy for novice learners. I also enjoy training and teaching new methods and best practices to my team of Spanish instructors.

I think bilingual education is a MUST and learning another language can only give a child an advantage in future endeavors plus the opportunity to experience cultural and linguistic diversity.


Dolly Bermudez

E-mail: or


Dolly Bermudez
dollybermudez@yahoo.comFounder, Director

28.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-22-2016 15:35

Привет! I'm Bill Rivers, the Executive Director of the Joint National Committee for Languages and the National Council for Languages and International Studies. Our 115 organizational members, of which ACTFL numbers among the founding organizations, work in DC and nationally to advocate for languages. I'm a Slavic linguist by training and have been an ACTFL member for more than 20 years. 

Dr. Bill Rivers

29.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-22-2016 16:51


I am the Foreign Language Education director and assistant professor of Spanish at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.  We offer undergraduate programs in French, Spanish, and German with the option of teacher certification.  I am originally from Venezuela but complete my graduate studies here in the US.  I would love to attend ACTFL's conference this year and meet colleagues from other parts of the US.  I enjoy following the discussion from this group!          

Heidy Carruthers
hcarrut@siue.eduAssistant Professor

30.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-23-2016 10:26

Hello! I am a college adjunct Spanish instructor in the New York City area; my normal "gig" is at Fordham University. Typically I teach one or two classes per semester at the introductory or intermediate level.

I used to teach high school Spanish, and the main curricular difference I've had to adjust to is the pace. College semesters are short, and our (department-decreed) syllabus requires us to get through several chapters in a class that meets only two or three times a week. This means that there is no way to devote an entire class to a single learning objective. You have to make progress on several fronts during each lesson. I try to mix it up so that each topic we cover during a lesson springboards into the next. Asking for a tarjeta de salida that covers all the topics is a good way to wrap things up and to give me feedback on how well the lesson succeeded.

My academic background is in linguistics. This is pretty unusual for a Spanish instructor and gives me a passion for the nitty-gritty of grammar. For example, I love irregular verbs, because each one opens a window into the history of the language. I try to pass some of this onto my students. For example, conozco and the present-tense subjunctive forms of conocer make sense when you know that the Latin ancestor of conocer was cognoscere. That sc sequence (pronounced sk) was simplified in most forms of the verb in Spanish.

Please visit my blog,, for more such tidbits, and also read there about my forthcoming book from Bloomsbury Academic Press, ¿Por qué? 101 Questions about Spanish.

Judy Hochberg

31.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-28-2016 13:29

Hello Everyone,

I'm Jiawen, and I'm studying in University of Pittsburgh in Med Foreign Language Education. I've ever taught English for K-12 students in China and now help in Carnegie Library in Chinese two class. I have experience in both teaching English and Chinese.

I'm really interested in dealing with online education, and want to do some research on this aspect. I focus more on classroom interaction part. If you share the same interest with me, please feel free to contact with me.

Hope to see all of you at the 2016 ACTFL Convention in Boston in November.

Jiawen (Aliana) 

Jiawen Zhu

32.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-28-2016 23:23

I am Jacques du Plessis, president of the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages. I teach at the university of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. This semester I am also teaching Afrikaans at Yale, and to a USAID employee in Kabul, Afghanistan.

I have been working in the virtual teaching space for some time and I have seen good success with synchronous online teaching.

My research centers of the sustainability of LCTLs and online models that can support these languages.

I have been teaching Afrikaans in the USA since 1984.

Jacques Du Plessis

33.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-29-2016 15:56

Hi everyone,

I am Wendy Gómez Campos (formerly Brownell) and I teach Spanish to heritage and native language speakers in an urban school in Denver, CO.

I am originally from rural Missouri, where I attended Mizzou for my Bachelor's degree and Missouri State University for my Master's degree.  

I have been teaching Spanish for 22 years. I pretty much love everything related to the Spanish language and Spanish-speaking cultures.

My future goals are to either teach at the post-secondary level or work at an administrative level with language teachers and programs.

Wendy Gómez Campos
KIPP Denver Collegiate High School
Denver, CO

34.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-29-2016 16:15
Edited by Alicia Quintero 04-02-2016 13:44


My name is Alicia Quintero. I have been teaching Spanish as a second language for the past 11 years. I have 10 years experience imparting the IB curriculum (MYP), 2 years experience teaching a College Hispanic Literature course and 4 years experience leading IB Language Acquisition workshops, reevaluation student assessments, and conducting school viability evaluations. In addition to teaching, I just finished a Master’s in Education Leadership. I am putting those skills in action through curriculum leadership, World Language Teacher evaluation protocols in addition to planning cultural excursions with colleagues for our extensive travel program at school.

Currently, I teach in an urban selective enrollment high school in Chicago. I teach three levels of Spanish: I, III and IV. I am very passionate about bringing new perspectives to my class. This is why I am so thrilled to be joining this discussion group. I took a Hispanic Film class at a neighboring college a few years back and I was hooked. As a result, I include an extensive film unit every year in my upper level class on films in Latin America. Actually, I use films throughout the year as they have a way of visually connecting students with the thoughts, perspectives, ideologies and cultural nuances of people of the target culture. I hope to learn and contribute to the discussion here.

In terms of my hobbies, they are pretty nerdy. Desperate to create more comprehensibly material of high interest for students in my middle school, I created a book- Spanish Curriculum Companion. I also love to write and am now creating a short story for students in my Spanish IV class.

I started a blog not to long ago that offers great activities, mostly of which I discover everyday to do with my students.  


Klase Kastellano- Spanish blog, Activities, Resources and Teacher Therapy!

I also have a Facebook page titled " Teaching Spanish Made Easy."

Alicia Quintero

Alicia Quintero

35.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 03-30-2016 11:16

Hello all,

I'm Kelleen, a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. I'm working on my dual Masters in German Literature and Modern Languages Education. Any other GOLDEN Students out there?  Last year I worked in the Fulbright program as an English Teaching Assistant around Aachen, Germany. 


36.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 04-02-2016 08:48
Edited by Pia Garate-Gomez 04-02-2016 08:58

Hello everyone,

My name is Pia Garate-Gomez and I have been teaching French and Spanish for nearly twenty years.  I teach at Mountain Lakes High School, a public high school in northern New Jersey.  I am very happy to have become part of the ACTFL community!

My first experience of learning a second language began when I was only nine years old, as an ESL student.  I am originally from Chile but did all of my secondary and higher education in the United States.  While in college I discovered the beauty of French and German, major and minor respectively, and rediscovered Spanish as well through literature and civilization courses.   I have a BA from SUNY Albany and MAT in ESL from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

It's been wonderful reading everyone's introductions and connecting with educators across the country.


Pia Garate-Gomez
Teacher of French and Spanish
Mountain Lakes High School

37.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 04-02-2016 13:38

My name is Alicia Quintero. I have been teaching Spanish as a second language for the past 11 years. I have 10 years experience imparting the IB curriculum (MYP), 2 years experience teaching a College Hispanic Literature course and 4 years experience leading IB Language Acquisition workshops, reevaluation student assessments, and conducting school viability evaluations. In addition to teaching, I just finished a Master’s in Education Leadership. I am putting those skills in action through curriculum leadership, World Language Teacher evaluation protocols in addition to planning cultural excursions with colleagues for our extensive travel program at school.

Currently, I teach in an urban selective enrollment high school in Chicago. I teach three levels of Spanish: I, III and IV. I am very passionate about bringing new perspectives to my class. This is why I am so thrilled to be joining this discussion group. I took a Hispanic Film class at a neighboring college a few years back and I was hooked. As a result, I include an extensive film unit every year in my upper level class on films in Latin America. Actually, I use films throughout the year as they have a way of visually connecting students with the thoughts, perspectives, ideologies and cultural nuances of people of the target culture. I hope to learn and contribute to the discussion here.

In terms of my hobbies, they are pretty nerdy. Desperate to create more comprehensibly material of high interest for students in my middle school, I created a book- Spanish Curriculum Companion. I also love to write and am now creating a short story for students in my Spanish IV class.

Alicia Quintero ( I might have posted this once before)

Alicia Quintero

38.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 04-04-2016 17:40

Hi everyone!

My name is Fernando Najera. I´m an ESL teacher in Aguascalientes with undergraduate students in Mexico. I’m also a Language Department director at Universidad Tecnológica del Norte de Aguascalientes.

In case that someone of you is interested in working in different virtual projects where our students practice English and Spanish I´ll be glad to participate. Developing in our students their 2nd. /3rd. language and  global competence and understanding is so important. This is one of our challenges and teachers´ aims.

Fernando Najera of Language Department

39.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 04-05-2016 09:09

Leigh Sapp

40.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 04-12-2016 00:07


My name is Olivia Aguilar and I am Spanish teacher and ESL teacher.  

Olivia Aguilar

41.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 04-13-2016 23:46

i'm andrea casson and i teach Italian at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and  I look forward to finding fun and engaging ways to further the teaching of ITalian culture in our language classes!.

many thanks, andrea

Andrea Casson
andrea_casson@fitnyc.eduItalian Instructor

42.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 04-14-2016 22:05

Hello everyone,

My name is Yung-Yung Chang. I am from Taipei, Taiwan. I am an associate instructor and a graduate student in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Indiana University Bloomington. The language I am teaching is Chinese and the course is Chinese 101 for undergraduate students. I taught Chinese for advance levels for 2 years at Catholic University of America before as well.

I love teaching Chinese and sharing Chinese culture with many people. My interest is teaching with technology which support learners to understand a language and experience a culture authentically.

Thank you and it is my pleasure to join this group.

Yung-Yung Chang
Chinese Program, Associate Instructor
Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
Indiana University Bloomington

43.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 04-15-2016 09:06

Hello everyone! My name is Khadija Idri, I am an Arabic native speaker and French near native speaker. I just graduated from East Carolina University French and Education with a license for teaching. I love languages and I am looking forward sharing strategies and pedagogies with this community to improve my skills.

Khadija Idri

44.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 04-18-2016 12:42

Hi Everyone!

I am Sean from Tulsa. I taught English a foreign language for over 12 years. I love learning and teaching languages. I have also taught Turkish,which is my native language. I studied Arabic and French. I think everybody should teach and learn languages in a way to promote love and peace between the people. What we need is to understand each other even though we do not speak the same language. I am so glad to be a part of ACTFL, and looking forward to getting to know and work with people and educators who make a difference teaching a language.


Sean Tunbak
Tulsa, OK

45.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 04-27-2016 09:57

Hi, my name is Anna. I am from the Detroit area. I am new to the field, as I just finished my Bachelor's degree in Secondary Education, with a certification in Spanish and ESL. I student-taught in Spanish: that is the extent of my experience in that area. I have been tutoring and teaching free ESL classes for about three years now, as well.

Anna Vallance

46.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 04-28-2016 16:41


My name is Angel Alvarado and I have been teaching Spanish for a wonderfully long time at the Secondary level.

I love teaching Spanish and believe that teaching and learning a language, no matter which one, provides an even deeper understanding of the human experience, and we can all use a little deeper understanding of each other!

I have enjoyed reading a lot of your posts!

Have a great last few days/weeks/months or whatever is left of this school year!


Angel Alvarado
Holy Names Academy, Seattle

47.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

Posted 04-29-2016 08:56

Hola, My name is Victoria Gilbert and I am from NYC. I currently teach Spanish, have also taught French and Science for over 29 years at all-boys independent preK-8 school. I have taught methods courses at NYU and abroad and also been a lead instructor for STARTALK programs.

I also work with the Global Language Project to provide language learning to students in underserved communities and professional development to world language teachers. At GLP, we currently focus on Spanish, Chinese and Arabic. Look us up at and if you sign up for our newsletter you can get our free cultural guide to NYC. We also have a weekly text program in each language that shares a quick language exploratory task that parents, students and teachers can sign up for. Contact for more information about that.

I think language education is ever more critical in a global society because understanding how to communicate in a different language is understanding another way of thinking/being. This makes us more flexible, more patient with one another and ultimately better connected. My wish is that all children have a chance to acquire another language!


Victoria Gilbert
Chair, Modern Languages

48.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!