Department Events · Faculty research · Uncategorized

ACTFL in Nashville

Earlier this month Dr. Wiggers and Dr. Howards presented in the annual ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) conference in Nashville, TN.  The WFU crew found it to be a very rewarding experience, and share their thoughts below.


Dr. Wiggers says:

Business German and German for STEM

On Saturday, Nov. 18, I presented a joint paper at the Annual ACTFL Convention (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) in Nashville, TN.  My three colleagues are from Georgetown University, George Washington University and the University of Rhode Island, and we are all members of the ACTFL’s GPP committee (German for Professional Purposes).

We had a 60 minutes session and presented the results of a survey that we started last year.  In this survey we had contacted over 500 academic institutions (Middle Schools, High Schools, Universities) in the United States to see whether they offered Business German or German for STEM to their students.  We received a total of 417 responses, and we had spent most of this year to evaluate the data. It was a really interesting presentation, and it also consisted the first survey on Business German and German for STEM of this magnitude since the early 2000s.

We left ca. 25 minutes for questions, and all in all our talk was very well received.  We might continue with our evaluation and eventually write a joint article.

The size of the annual ACTFL conference always amazes me. This year, there were ca.7.000 attendees, which makes it the largest one of its kind in the United States.  It was held at Nashville’s Music City Center (see picture), and wherever I went at this conference I heard all kinds of foreign languages, such as Spanish, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian, Korean, Arabic, Italian, etc. In addition, there is always an exhibition hall which houses stands from publishers, embassies, potential employers interested in foreign languages, and many more.

Unfortunately, it was raining all day on Saturday, and I didn’t get to see much of this really interesting city.  But nonetheless, it was a very interesting and productive trip!

Nashville Music Center Music City Center, Nashville, TN

Dr. Howards reports:

One Piece at a Time

Last weekend, Dr. Wiggers and I both ventured to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) annual convention in Nashville, Tennessee.  I have included my obligatory Johnny Cash museum picture to prove I was there.
Shameless confession: it was my first time in Nashville, and my umpteenth time at ACTFL, a gold mine of teaching ideas and mini-reunions with colleagues that I don’t get to see more than once a year, and what was my favorite part?  HANDS DOWN being holed up in my hotel room Saturday night, ignoring the tornado sirens and watching WFU beat NC State! Go Deacs!
A close second, however, was the reminder at ACTFL that our department is doing something right: among the dozens of panels offering various new teaching ideas, the conference unfailingly offers panels on more than one variation of “How to boost German enrollments.”  Enrollment issues in lesser-taught languages are always on our collective minds, and with a general national trend of declining enrollments, we dearly value every one of our majors and minors.  This year was no exception, and as Dr. Wiggers and I sat in on one particular session that rattled off its list of what good programs do, it was nice to see that most of the items on the list sounded a lot like what we already do: good teachers who love interacting with their students, study abroad opportunities and funding, internship possibilities, a capstone language exam, course offerings in English that include students from the general university population, etc. etc.  I’m not claiming that we have the secret sauce, but all of these little pieces, one at at time, make our work here fun, and help us turn out some really great students.
The next stop is New Orleans for ACTFL 2018!
Johnny Cash Museum

And a reminder that Dr. Wiggers will be giving a joint presentation on smaller, regional, and non-Western languages on Wikipedia and Twitter Friday, December 1st, at 3:30 pm in Greene 341!



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