Most students in this fall’s LAN 320 (World Language Teaching in the K-12 Setting) are in their final semester before student teaching. One of the goals of the course is to prepare them for professional life, so they create a professional portfolio for their post-university job search that includes a philosophy of teaching statement, lesson plans, classroom management plans, and a resumé, among other items. Another important focus in LAN 320 is encouraging continued professional development, creating connections, and making professional contacts. For this, students become members of the Illinois Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ICTFL) and attend their first professional conference.

This year’s conference, “A Brave New World: Reimagining Language Education,” was held October 20-22. Although it was not in person, this virtual conference included the opportunity to attend a wide variety of sessions, an awards program, and the annual meeting of the members. Students chose which sessions that were of personal interest, from textbook and study abroad exhibitors, to current teachers introducing new ideas for classroom management and lesson plans, to tips for interviewing for a job. Some specific sessions that LAN 320 students attended were: “¡Sí, se puede! Teaching a Foreign Language to Students with Learning Disabilities & Differences,” “Teaching Spanish to Heritage Speakers,” and “Creating Novice Level Masterpieces Through Impactful Design.” 

Two LAN 320 students, Erin Jessup and Savanna Wilder, both future French teachers, were recipients of the Fund for the Future award, a scholarship opportunity for pre-service or first-year through fifth-year language teachers, and received 50 percent reimbursement for ICTFL-sponsored events.