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WEST hosts annual summer teacher workshop

June 30, 2010

The West European Studies Center recently held their workshop for secondary world language teachers organized and faciliated by Deborah Piston-Hatlen, a long time supporter of the Center. French, German, and Spanish teachers from Indiana and several other states came together for the annual event, which is in its fourth year.  The 3-day workshop has been constructed to help teachers of foreign language enhance their language curriculum through the integration of the arts and culture. This year’s theme was “Seeing Western Europe through the Visual Arts.” Teachers engaged in a variety of activities, including presentations by visual arts experts, brainstorming ideas for using workshop resources and materials in their classrooms, and work sessions spent creating lessons and activities. The first night began with Frank Cammuso, a graphic novelist and comic book artist who spoke on the history of comics and comic art in contemporary European society. A second presentation, given by Indianapolis Museum of Art education staff members Linda Duke, Emily Hansen, and Kristin Mohlman, introduced the teachers to Visual Thinking Strategies. They provided teachers with examples on ways to use art to form critical thinking skills for students. Once equipped with these new strategies and knowledge, the group broke up into language groups for work sessions. Andy Goodwin (Spanish), Lynette Liberge (French), and Randy Studt (German) served as facilitators for discussions in these sessions, in which teachers spent time preparing activities and plans to use what they had learned during the presentations. The weekend was filled with informative sessions as well as time to work and network with peers, and teachers left with innovative ways to enhance their foreign language curriculum as well as provide resources to other teachers in their schools.

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