Summer Summit: Connecting in New Ways!
July 6-10, 2020
Over 300 participants recently attended the first ever virtual NNELL Summer Summit. With five days of professional development offered, attendees were able to listen to amazing presentations and to interact in break-out groups and social functions.
Presenters included 2019 ACTFL Teacher of the year , Rebecca Aubrey, and 2020 ACTFL Teacher of the Year, Rebecca Blouwolff, Julie Speno of Mundo de Pepita, and Helena Curtain, co-author of Languages and Children:Making the Match, New Languages for Young Learners.
Some of the topics touched on during the Summit: How can teachers address issues of social injustice? How does setting and using language target goals increase proficiency? What are some advantages of using proficiency based classroom centers and activities? How can teachers create a deep and rich curriculum using themes rather than topics? How can teachers stay connected with students during distance learning? What are
authentic assessment tools and why should teachers use them? How to reach diverse learners using researched based strategies?
The sessions are all available to view for members of NNELL on the “Members Only” section of the NNELL website. To join NNELL go to nnell.org. Individual memberships are $30 and are good until August 31st, 2021
A few words from our NNELL Liaison, Joelle Jones....
The NNELL summer conference has become my favorite conference to attend. Even though the format was different this year it was still a really excellent, worthwhile experience. The NNELL board members stepped up and made the best of a difficult situation. The usual attendance for the Summer Institute is around 60 teachers. This year over 300 teachers attended!
As I reflected on my takeaways from the conference, I realized that they were the same takeaways I have from when I have attended an in-person conference. For me, networking with the other teachers is the number one biggest plus about attending a conference. Speaking with other language teachers who “get” my passion for language learning is so encouraging to me. After each session during the Summer Summit we went to break out rooms in our Zoom sessions to share ideas and discuss questions from the session. It was so good to talk and to share ideas with other teachers from across the country. It reminded me that I am not in this alone and that educators everywhere are struggling with the issues and difficulties caused by COVID-19.
My newest favorite saying is “Iron sharpens iron”. Not only do other teachers encourage and inspire me they challenge me! Listening to the presenters speak about what I call “Big Questions”, I found myself asking how I can address issues of social injustice, environmental concerns, and the myriad of other challenges that will be faced by my students as they grow into adults. During the conference I was challenged by my fellow educators to get out of my comfort zone and to become an educator that explores these challenges with my students. It’s not easy nor is it particularly comfortable but I think opening a dialog with our students about the struggles they will be facing as adults is imperative.
If you teach world languages to students in Pre-K through eighth grades I would highly recommend joining NNELL. It’s been a game changer for me.