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August 29, 2008

ULM foreign language faculty conduct in-service for Monroe City foreign language teachers

On Thursday, Aug. 14, four members of the ULM foreign language faculty conducted a two-hour workshop for Monroe City teachers, the result of an invitation from Monroe City Schools.

Teachers from Carroll High School, Carroll Junior High, Wossman High School, Lee Junior High, and Neville High School participated.

Dr. Charles Holloway, professor of Spanish, and Dr. Fred Adams, assistant professor of French, made presentations.

Holloway reviewed various methods that have had an influence on foreign language teaching over the past several decades and discussed types of activities associated with these. He then mentioned ways in which some aspects of the methods might be incorporated into the modern foreign language classroom in an approach that has been described as “informed eclecticism.”

Adams, who is teaching an online French course for ULM, demonstrated the types of activities and teaching tools that can be constructed for Internet instruction. Some of the activities are also adaptable to a regular classroom and can be used to enhance in-class work.

María Blanca Wortham, instructor of Spanish and president of the Louisiana Foreign Language Teachers Association, brought information to the teachers about the LFLTA and upcoming workshops in Baton Rouge sponsored by the State Department of Education.

Dr. Ruth E. Smith, head of the ULM Department of Foreign Languages, discussed a recent article in the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Annals highlighting the results of studies indicating improved performance on the SAT by students who had studied languages. The Monroe City system's theme for this year's in-services was literacy, and by briefly reviewing the types of questions and testing approaches on the SAT, Smith demonstrated what she said language teachers have always known: “Students of languages are better prepared to do well on the items on reading comprehension and critical thinking, both of which are key components of literacy.”

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