Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

WT to Host Unique Language Teaching Workshop


CANYON, Texas — More than 70 area language teachers will polish their skills during a workshop held by West Texas A&M University that’s the only one of its kind in the region.

WT’s Panhandle Language Teachers Association, part of the University’s Spanish program in the Sybil B. Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities , will host its Fall Kickoff Teacher Development workshop from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sept. 8.

Dr. Diane Neubauer, a Mandarin instructor and foreign language teaching researcher from Arizona State University, will offer hands-on training on current teaching techniques, said Dr. Andrew Reynolds, WT professor of Spanish.

“Dr. Neubauer emphasizes using the target language 100 percent of the time in early-learner classrooms,” Reynolds said. “She’ll provide the audience with classroom demonstrations, having the workshop members role-play as Mandarin students so that they will authentically experience her classroom methods.”

PTLA is the only organization providing foreign language teacher development to area teachers, Reynolds said.

“Foreign language learning is severely undervalued in our culture, and although many of us will assert the benefits of being bilingual, teaching and prioritizing language learning has largely been a failure in the U.S.,” Reynolds said. “PLTA aims to change the perception of language learning by improving language teaching and advocating for our current foreign language programs.”

Photo: Michael Cole

During the workshop, Michael Cole and his Pampa High School Spanish program will be given the PTLA Teaching in Excellence Award.

Cole’s Spanish program has “consistently demonstrated student success and has been a strong regional proponent of bilingualism and excellence in Spanish teaching,” Reynolds said.

“Every year, his advanced-placement classes earn 100 percent pass rates on both the AP and College-Level Examination Program tests,” Reynolds said. “This spring, a stunning 60 percent of the AP Spanish class earned the highest score possible on the AP exam. The program is an exemplary model for language teaching in the Panhandle.”

Addressing regional challenges is a key component of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World .

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the campaign — which publicly launched in September 2021— has raised more than $125 million and will continue through 2025.

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