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To NECTFL and Beyond: A Journey Through a Language Educators Conference!
Master’s candidate and future Arabic educator Casey has been sharing with us her experience of what it’s like to become a language teacher.
This month, she reflects on attending a conference—one of the best ways for both students soon entering the profession and established teachers alike to network, discover innovative techniques, gain professional development, and get inspired!
In her words:
When my advisor at Boston University said she was able to take two students to the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (NECTFL) in New York City, I jumped at the opportunity. Boston University’s Wheelock College had a table at the exhibition hall, and the two attendees were to be at the table and also attend the conference.
There are hundreds of sessions at conferences and the session I learned the most at was actually one I did not plan on going to—it was about how to create an environment in your classroom that was less stressful, since students have so much going on. The presenters went over creating rubrics for things like classwork and participation, quiz and test retakes, and how to give feedback effectively.
The Monday after returning home, I went into my classroom and used some of those tactics, and they worked like a charm.
Something I learned was to have a contingency plan for when sessions I wanted to attend were full, or not what I expected. Because there were so many sessions available, it was easy to pick and choose which ones were the most useful to my development.
Outside of the sessions, at the exhibition booth, I was able to connect with so many language educators who are working hard to inspire the next generation of students. I even met members of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) headquarters office that were there!
Attending NECTFL was inspiring because I have never seen so many language educators in one place at the same time.
NECTFL is a regional conference, but there are many national conferences like ACTFL’s Annual Convention & World Languages Expo, and many language-specific conferences as well.
If the opportunity presents itself, attend a conference that best suits your interests, whether it’s a national, regional, local, or even an online conference, and let the learning never stop taking place.
Interested in exploring language teaching as a career path? Check out our Become a Language Teacher page for information about scholarships, certification by state, and more. Or want to catch up on previous posts sharing Casey’s journey? Read her “Ask Away” interview and her other posts as a guest blogger here.
And as always, don’t forget to share your language learning story with us @LeadWLanguages on social media.