Idaho Association of Teachers of Language and Culture
By Madison Shumway, ISU Bengal Staff Writer
More than 80 educators and students traveled to ISU October 6 and 7 for the annual Idaho Association of Teachers of Languages and Culture conference.
Attendees came from all over the state for two days of instruction on teaching techniques and standards. The schedule featured a mix of specialized breakout sessions and conference-wide gatherings.
“Every year that I come down to this conference, I go back with new ideas and new energy,” said Linda Hall, an educator from Bonner’s Ferry who is retiring this year. “When I come here, I feel like I’m part of a family.”
Some workshops targeted only French, German or Spanish teachers, while others were intended for all audiences. Specialists in the field shared effective teaching strategies for high school classrooms and led discussions.
Topics ranged from “Pourquoi Brexit?” to presenting movies in the Spanish classroom. Teachers could receive professional development credit for attending.
“I learned several things that I can immediately employ in my classroom to get my students to use the language more,” said David Swenson, a Spanish teacher at Highland High School in Pocatello.
The association conducted general business and elected new officers at the end of the conference. Sponsors and supporters included ISU’s Diversity Resource Center, the College of Arts and Letters, the Department of Global Studies and Languages and ISU Credit Union.
The theme of the conference, which is the 55th the association has hosted, was “Quality of the World Language Classroom.” A keynote speaker, Chris Loether of ISU’s anthropology department, discussed national World-Readiness Standards for teaching world languages.
The standards fall under five categories, known as the five C’s: communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, and communities. The five areas are goals of teaching languages to students.
“I hope [teachers] take back a lot of enthusiasm to their own classrooms, because to me, language learning is always fun,” Loether said. “You see some students always struggle, and I can understand … but I think you really need to make it fun. Because it really is.”
Loether mentioned his experiences with other languages and cultures, incorporating anecdotes with the specifics of the standards. He emphasized the impact culture has on language.
For example, it’s considered rude in Navajo to talk to strangers, or in Welsh to ask a person his or her occupation. He said he was surprised to learn that the news differs in other languages because what is important to the people differs.
The professor speaks German, Spanish, Welsh, Swedish, Japanese, Hebrew and Arabic at different levels. Originally a political science major, Loether found his calling in a Native Americans in the Southwest course and eventually studied linguistic anthropology.
Loether discussed his time studying the Mono language in central California. In the 70s, when he first met a native speaker, the language was only spoken by a dozen people.
Now, Loether has helped publish two Mono dictionaries and is working on a book of pedagogical grammar to teach the language in schools.
“Learning a language is like being a violin player. You’ve got to practice,” he said. “You’ve got to put in the time every day … It’s a lot of work, but it’s very rewarding at the end.”
After Loether’s speech, IATLC president Valia Tatarova presented the association’s Teacher of the Year awards to Heather Ohrtman Rogers from Jenifer Junior High and Cassie Shelton from Mountain View High School.
“I know that not every student is going to leave my class fluent. Most won’t,” Shelton said. “But if they can leave with an appreciation for a culture and a language that is not their own, and their perspective of the world can be broadened, then I’ve done my job.”
TPRS Intro Session
I hope you have enjoyed your summer thus far. I sure have!
At the last IATLC Conference, some of you attended the TPRS intro session where I did a demo of this powerful tool and some of you expressed interest in how to get training with it. Well, fortunately, you will not need to travel far because one will take place right here in Idaho (Boise) and will be from Thursday, August 4th through Saturday, August 6th.
Each day will be full of demonstrations and practice of skills you can use right away. There are also up to 3 University Credits available in case you need them. For more information you can go to the IATLC facebook page or straight to the TPRS website. There are even discounts available. Let me know if you have any questions since I will be the one running it! Hope to see you all there!
email@example.com or text/call me at 208 917-0197.
55th Annual Idaho Association of Teachers of Language and Culture Conference, 2016 at
Idaho State University-Pocatello, October 6 & 7
Many Foreign Language teachers from across the state will travel to Pocatello to attend the 55th Annual Idaho Association of Teachers of Language and Culture Conference, 2016.
The main topic of the conference will be the Quality of the World Language Classroom. The National World-Readiness Standards for Teaching Foreign Languages is closely related topic. The IATLC conference participants are going to discover new ways of teaching foreign language in the traditional classroom. They are going to experience Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Story Telling or TPRS method and will explore blending traditional and digital technology styles of teaching. The conference will focus on methods to develop strong Foreign Language Communicative Teaching Strategies, using the National World-Readiness Standards. The main goal of the conference is to shape and influence various aspects of our Foreign Language everyday teaching strategies and to involve the teachers in an open dialogue. In addition every teacher is going to earn Professional Development Credit, meet new colleagues, shear ideas, embrace new ideas, reconnect with colleagues and celebrate the Idaho Teacher of The Year.
The Online registration will start on May 1 and will continue until Sept. 25, 2016.
Keynote speaker – Dr. Christopher Loether, College of Arts and Letters, ISU-Pocatello
At the IATLC Annual Conference, October 6&7, 2016, Dr. Loether will present the changes of the National Standard for Teaching World Languages.
Dr. Loether is the Director of the American Indian Studies Program, Director of the Linguistics Program, and Co-Director of the Shoshoni Language Project.
Dr. Loether specializes in Uto-Aztecan, Celtic, Germanic and Semitic languages. He has worked specifically with the Western Mono, Owens Valley Paiute, Shoshoni and Welsh languages. His other specialties include sociolinguistics, ethnopoetics, lexicography, language revitalization, and the ethnology of California and Great Basin Indians.
Pacific Northwest Council for Languages is offering each member state two scholarship registrations to attend the combination Oregon (COFLT) and Washington (WAFLT) fall conference in Portland, Oregon October 13-15. If you decide to attend this year, the entire PNCFL board will be meeting there. It would be a great opportunity to meet these terrific people. You can find the application at
Would you like to speak at various conferences in Alaska, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, or Washington? PNCFL is always looking for additional PAWS speakers. Please see
pncfl.org for more information.
IATLC representative to PNCFL
News of the French section
Since our conference at BSU, we have had our immersion week-end, which in the fall is always the week-end after Halloween. Just as we have done in the past, we met in McCall. We were not a big group (twelve people, including three French-speaking children) and we had a good time. For the first time, we were joined by a French Canadian translator, who took great pleasure being part of our group.
We really enjoyed seeing one another again, we cooked, ate, spoke French, took walks, watched movies, laughed, exchanged ideas, books etc… and we can say that this week-end was a success.
We are definitely looking forward to our next get-together in McCall the week-end after Mother’s day. So mark your calendar ! Hope to see you there !
*Above: Kyle and Loïc, Geneviève, Valia and Johanne, either saying or thinking “Fromage!"
News of the Spanish Section
Last November several Boise-area Spanish teachers, as well as court certified interpreters, spent an afternoon together, at the Boise State World Languages Lounge, in a full immersion setting where the topic was "Hablando se entiende la gente". Amongst this lively group were native speakers from Argentina, Guatemala, Mexico and Spain.
Teachers set aside their lesson plans, class objectives, national standards, etc., and simply engaged in a lively conversation about places they wished they could visit if they won the lottery, the celebrity they would like to dine, and the one item they woudl request if they were alone in a deserted island. It was a very pleasant afternoon with engaging colleagues and delicious food. Join us next time (likely in November 2016)!
News of the German Section
The first workshop of 2015 was held at Mountain View high School in Meridian, Idaho on April 3-4, 2015. Eight teachers were in attendance. University credit was offered for taking part in the workshop. After the workshop, the teachers gathered at a local restaurant to eat and converse in German. On October 2nd and 3rd of 2015, IATLC hosted their annual conference at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho. Our IATG chapter was represented well and several presented workshops on various topics. A German immersion weekend was held at Rebecca Mason’s cabin in Cascade, Idaho on January 30 and 31, 2016. It was extremely well-attended. Cooking, card games, skiing, watching German movie classics, visiting the McCall Winter Carnival and enjoying conversing in German kept us all engaged.
The annual BSU “Do Deutsch Day” was February 29, 2016. There were hundreds of high school German students from Mountain Home and throughout the Treasure Valley in attendance. BSU’s Becca Sibrian created a high-energy, engaging atmosphere where students would do activities to earn stamps on their “passports” and in turn win prizes. It is always one of the most anticipated events of the year for the students! (picture is from the teacher question and answer portion of Do Deutsch Day)
GAPP programs in our chapter continue to grow. Mountain View High School, Meridian High School and Kuna High School traveled to Germany in June 2015. Borah High School and Boise High School partnered to begin and new GAPP exchange and they traveled to Germany for the first time. Centennial High School will participate in their first exchange this year and new GAPP exchanges are on the horizon for Timberline High School and Capital High School.