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Phase 2

Teacher Retention Seminar

During the summer of 2016, CULTR executed phase two of its Language Teacher Retention Project called the Teacher Retention Seminar. As phase two of the three phase Language Teacher Retention Project, CULTR held weeklong summer workshops that established the base of a multi-layered mentoring/enrichment program to reduce burnout and attrition in language teachers. Through a cohort of 50-75 K-12 language instructors, attendees joined intensive workshops focusing on strategies for class management, efficacy, technology integration, student engagement, and professional development. Unlike traditional summer workshops, these workshops serve to develop communication and professional mentoring networks that will continue through the following years.

CULTR has pushed this project forward as national teacher shortages for positions across foreign language education have worsened in an era where resources for education are even scarcer. At this time, foreign language teachers have one of the highest attrition rates in K-12 education due to factors including self-efficacy concerns and a lack of professional mentoring resources. Correspondingly, this dilemma underscores an urgent need to increase recruitment into the field of education. In this alarming landscape, the rate of teacher attrition, especially among new foreign language educators, remains particularly distressing across certain areas of the southeastern United States. As a Title VI LRC based in Atlanta, Georgia, research into the development of new approaches and tools to reverse these negative trends remains imperative.

In an innovative approach to address both the shortage of qualified language instructors and the challenges in retaining experienced instructors, the Language Teacher Retention Project is a three-stage endeavor that will endure over CULTR’s four year funding cycle.


Greg Kessler

Greg KesslerGreg Kessler is the Director of the Language Resource Center and Associate Professor of Computer Assisted Language Learning in the Department of Linguistics at Ohio University. He is also an affiliated faculty member in Instructional Technology in the Patton College of Education. His research addresses instructional technology, teacher preparation, language teaching, language learning and associated human behavior. He has published widely and delivered featured talks around the world.

Manuela Wagner

Manuela WagnerManuela Wagner is Associate Professor of Foreign Language Education in the Department of Literatures, Cultures and Languages and Director of the German Language and Culture Program at the University of Connecticut, CT, USA. Her teaching and research interests include intercultural citizenship, intercultural competence, first and second language education, intercultural communication, humor, pragmatics, emergent bilingualism and advocacy for language education. She enjoys collaborating with colleagues in a variety of contexts in order to combine theory and practice.

Anne Cummings Hlas

cummings_anne_webAnne Cummings Hlas is associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where she teaches methods courses for future language teachers and Spanish language courses. A veteran teacher, she regularly incorporates improvisation and creative thinking techniques in her classes to promote interpersonal communication and collaboration. Her research interests include high-leverage teaching practices, brain-based learning, and technology.

Aleidine J. Moeller

Moeller Ali1Ali Moeller is a professor of foreign language education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where her main responsibilities lie in teacher education, professional development and research in language education. She has taught 11 years in public schools, served as a language instructor and TA coordinator in a department of modern languages and at present is a professor of foreign language education. Her areas of expertise lie in assessment, learner centeredness, intercultural communicative competence, and integrating language research and theory into classroom practice. She has served as president of the American Association of Teachers of German and the National Federation of Modern Language Teachers Association and served as AP College Board Advisor for German language and culture. At present she is on the Board of Directors of ACTFL and is active nationally and internationally in professional development of language teachers. She has led numerous grant funded seminars and workshops aimed at increasing teacher effectiveness and research informed practices that enhance student motivation and achievement.

Bill VanPatten

Bill VanPattenBill VanPatten is Professor of Spanish and Second Language Studies at Michigan State University where he is also affiliate faculty in Cognitive Science. His research areas include the psycholinguistics of second language acquisition, the acquisition of morpho-syntactic properties, and the effects of instruction on formal properties of languages. He has published six scholarly books, eight edited volumes, over 120 articles and book chapters, and four college-level language textbooks. He is an award-winning teacher, mentor, and scholar. He is the host of the popular Tea with BVP radio show and podcast. He is also a writer of fiction and in his not-too-often spare time he performs stand-up comedy. For the workshop, he will present seven underlying principles for contemporary language teaching based on our knowledge about language, communication, language acquisition, and the nature of the classroom context.

Deborah Hammons

HAMMONSD-H27Deborah Hammons is a Positive Psychology Consultant, specializing in Education and Aging issues. She obtained her BA in English and Creative Writing from Stanford University and a Masters of Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. A former English teacher, Deborah produced and wrote over 90 television shows for Wyoming PBS before being elected to the Wyoming State House of Representatives. During her 6 years in the State Legislature, she helped write and sponsor the Hathaway Scholarship bill, which provides college tuition funding for all qualified Wyoming high school students. Additionally, she sponsored mentorship programs and significant salary increases for the state’s educators. Deborah lives in Broomfield, Colorado.

Following the success of this stage, the Language Teacher Retention Project will introduce the third and final phase of the Language Teacher Retention Project, the Online Video-conference and Distance Foreign Language Education Mentoring, ensuing the completion of phase two.

For more information about the Language Teacher Retention Project, please contact CULTR at cultr@gsu.edu.