Language heaven: a week of magic in Santa Barbara

Every summer, magic happens. If you’re a language teacher, if you’re thinking of becoming one, or if you’re interested in what happens in the profession, you might have heard of these two acronyms: CLTA and ACTFL. Summer camp for teachers? Yes, that exists. For the last 25 years, the California Language Teachers’ Association (CLTA) has held what I like to call just that– camp specifically for teachers of world languages. It is an environment where teachers can exchange ideas, share what works and what doesn’t, listen to research conducted in the field and engage in a network of like-minded individuals who support each other and each other’s battles. Moreover, CLTA, with its generous sponsors and donors, has been able to fund students considering teaching world languages as a profession. These youngsters have the opportunity to attend the getaway made up of workshops and social events. And I can humbly say that I appreciate being one of those students receiving a scholarship to attend. I have spent the last week in University of Santa Barbara where I met educators and organizers who share my interests. First and foremost, I bow down to Lorraine D’Ambruoso the CLTA / CWLP Summer Seminar Co-Convenor and Duarte Silva the Executive Director California World Language Project. This pair is like a king and queen who rule a magical kingdom. Among the many energetic presenters, Paul Sandrock, Executive Director of the American Council of Teaching Foreign Languages (ACTLF) explained the 5C’s of world language education and the idea of backwards planning (a topic for a future post!). Francis Yaiche professor at University of Paris IV/ René Descartes explained how to incorporate commercials, photography and global simulations in a classroom (another topic for a future post!). I poked teachers with some of my favorite questions: how has technology played a role in your classroom? How important are first impressions on the first day of school? How do you intimidate yet inspire students? The week was characterized by friendly faces, heart-warming facilitators and new friends that made the journey fun and funny. The week also consisted of a few long conversations which pushed to realize that this IS the real world. The four years I have spent at UC Berkeley were transformative, and now it’s time to put skills to use and think about a future career. I think this would be an appropriate time to announce to my fellow readers that I will be going back to France to teach English this fall! Yes, yes: another future topic.



  1. Lorraine D'Ambruoso · August 1, 2014

    Merci, Nika! C’était un véritable plaisir de faire ta connaissance et de t’accueillir parmi nous. Duarte et moi, on apprécie ton blog. Mais nous ne sommes pas roi et reine – nous travaillons dur et pendant très longtemps pour que le seminaire réussisse. Bon voyage et bon séjour en France. Que nos chemins se croisent à l’avenir – peut-être à Santa Barbara où tu participeras comme prof!


    • Nika · August 1, 2014

      Merci Lorraine, c’est très gentil— j’espère le même. Et on sait que vous travaillez dure car ça se voit 🙂


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