UAH to host World Languages and Cultures Workshop

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Dr. Linda Maier, UAH Professor of Spanish will be the first UAH professor to teach a full-term course in the Jemison College Academy Magnet Program (Huntsville City Schools) in August. The World Languages and Cultures Workshop hosted on the UAH campus will kickoff the university's educational alliance with the school system.

Michael Mercier | UAH

The University of Alabama in Huntsville's (UAH) Department of World Languages and Cultures will host a workshop for K-12 teachers in the Madison County area Thursday, July 21.

Co-sponsor for the event is The Alabama World Languages Association (AWLA). The workshop will be from 8 a.m., to 5 p.m., in UAH's Louis Salmon Library (room 111). Participants will be welcomed by UAH World Languages and Cultures faculty. Additional attendees may include educators from across the state representing universities, colleges and public and private secondary schools.

"In designing our workshop, we aim to meet the practical needs of both novice and veteran elementary, middle, and high school world languages teachers and assist them in achieving instructional standards," said Dr. Linda Maier, UAH Professor of Spanish. "We expect that this workshop will refresh teachers' foreign language skills, stimulate them intellectually in preparation for the coming school year, and provide concrete lesson planning materials."

Children who have studied a foreign language in elementary school achieve higher scores on standardized tests in reading, language arts, and mathematics, and there is a positive correlation between foreign language study and SAT scores

Linda Maier
UAH Professor of Spanish

Maier said the UAH Department of World Languages and Cultures is eager to partner with area school systems to enhance overall educational quality and deepen relationships between K-12 and the university.

She is scheduled to be the first UAH professor to teach a full-term course in the Jemison College Academy Magnet program in August. The World Languages and Cultures Workshop will serve as the kickoff to UAH's educational alliance with the Huntsville City School System.

According to Maier, research shows that foreign language study has both academic and cognitive benefits. "Children who have studied a foreign language in elementary school achieve higher scores on standardized tests in reading, language arts, and mathematics, and there is a positive correlation between foreign language study and SAT scores."

Additionally, Maier said, recent psychological research into brain functioning reveals that multilingual people have more flexible and resourceful brains and are better at reasoning, decision-making, multitasking, and grasping and reconciling conflicting ideas.

"Their brains are also more efficient-that is, they work faster and expend less energy doing so-and retain cognitive faculties longer," Maier noted. "Furthermore, learning another language requires students to learn life skills of perseverance, tenacity, and resourcefulness."

UAH professors and instructors presenting at the workshop include Dr. Leslie M. Kaiura, Associate Professor of Spanish; Maria Boyette, Lecturer, Spanish; Karl Keller, Lecturer, Spanish WLC Internship Coordinator; and Maier. Topics presented include "Let's Be Practical: World Languages for Professional Purposes," "Strategies for Reading in a Second Language," and "Second Language Acquisition". Lunch will be provided. Participants will receive certificates of participation to count toward professional development.

The mission of AWLA is to motivate educators to contribute to and advocate for improved world language education for all students. AWLA is working to raise public awareness on the benefits of language learning in order to influence the direction of world language education in Alabama.

UAH alumna Mary E. Crouch ('09, BA Spanish, Foreign Language and Literatures), who teaches Spanish/World Languages at James Clemens High School in Madison County, was recently named AWLA's 2016 Most Promising New Foreign Language Teacher. After graduating from UAH, Crouch received a Fulbright Grant to teach English as a Second Language in Ibagué, Colombia from 2010-2011.

AWLA will hold its Annual Conference in February 2017 in Auburn, AL.

 

Contact

Dr. Linda Maier
Professor of Spanish
maierl@uah.edu

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