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Spanish Teacher Receives Honor

Middle School Spanish Teacher Lauren Fosnight’s session from the Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association’s (PSMLA) 2021 conference was selected as the "Best of PA''!  Her presentation awarded Fosnight the opportunity to present at NECTFL 2022 (the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages).  Fosnight’s presentation was titled “Total Participation Techniques for the Comprehension-based Classroom.” 

“It is no surprise to me that Lauren has received this distinguished recognition from PSMLA,” said Head of Middle School Jonas Jeswald. “Lauren is a creative and dedicated Spanish teacher whose pedagogy is on the cutting edge of best practices in second language acquisition. ‘Total participation’ from all her students is what Lauren strives to achieve in every class she teaches, and we are lucky to have her teaching Spanish in the Middle School here at GA.”  

Total participation techniques (TPTs) “allow for all students to demonstrate, at the same time, actively participate and cognitively engage in the topic being studied" (Himmele & Himmele, 2017). The session provided actionable strategies to help learners process the language intently, demonstrate their comprehension regularly, and interact confidently during input-driven instruction. Attendees discussed ways of building a strong foundation for effective TPTs. They then experienced TPTs via a teaching demonstration and discussed how to make the most of the techniques they observed.

Fosnight presented this session in person at NECTFL. Part of the presentation included techniques used frequently in her Spanish classes. “I did a teaching demonstration in Portuguese in which I modeled use of turn and talk prompts, choral responses, quick write/draws, and TPR (total physical response), as attendees and I worked together to imagine our own co-created character.”

It was a special honor to be recognized at the Northeast Conference. NECTFL serves educators in all languages (including classical, less commonly taught, and English as a New Language), at all levels from Kindergarten through University, in both public and private settings. It is the largest of five regional associations of its kind in the United States, representing educators from Maine to Virginia.