Happy November, MALT Members,
Let me begin by introducing myself. I am Alice Nation, and I am very excited to be your new MALT President for 2017-2019. For those of you who don’t know me, I am a Montana woman, born and raised on a ranch in Rosebud County. I graduated from Colstrip High School, and MSU-Billings with degrees in English and Spanish. Using my Spanish degree has given me the opportunity to meet many dedicated and passionate language teachers around our state. I am honored that I now will have the opportunity to give something back to an organization that has really helped me to grow as an educator.
I would also like to take the opportunity to introduce our new board members. Blakely (Hay) Edgington from Dillon, will be changing her duties for the next two years, moving from Secretary to Vice-President. Her leadership and outstanding work on our web-site really moved MALT into the 21st century, so it is extremely beneficial for us to have her leadership continue on the board in her role as Vice-President. Our new secretary is Beth Janney from Superior. Two years ago, Beth attended our Spring Conference at Boulder Hot Springs as one of our MALT Scholarship recipients. The next fall she presented a sectional at MEA-MFT in Helena in 2016. Her insight and fresh ideas will help us continue to keep our organization moving forward. Last but not least is our new PNCFL Representative, Megan Hambrick from Bozeman. Megan has been a source of innumerable ideas on using comprehensible input and evaluating proficiency in our classrooms. I look forward to her contributions to our entire region as the representative from Montana. Erika Shupe will continue as our treasurer for another year, and completes our five-member board.
This is also a prime opportunity to thank all of you who attended the Fall Conference in Missoula. “Creating Authentic Interaction in the World Language Classroom,” led by Eliza Pfeifer from OWL (Organic World Language) was both fun and educational. At virtually every point during our institute on Thursday, I saw MALT members totally engaged in the presentation and absorbing so much comprehensible input and learning techniques they could incorporate in their own classrooms on Monday morning. For the first time since I began teaching in 1995, I began to envision a room with no rows or pods of desks. Just a simple circle of chairs around the perimeter of the room; every student making eye contact with every other student and the teacher. The absolute focus our students would have every hour sitting in the circle with no distractions, and more importantly, nowhere to hide from the instructor or each other, could be a very powerful tool indeed.
My personal goal for this column is to address MALT members on a monthly basis about subject matter that pertains to all of us. Our board has some very large goals that we are hoping to achieve: increasing our membership base by 10-25%, achieving a stamp of biliteracy on the diplomas for our language students, and continued professional development that makes all of us stronger. Come back on the 10th of each month to see which of your colleagues are being featured in the Teacher Spotlight too. And, as our Treasurer, Erika Shupe, continues to remind us, tap someone on the shoulder to join us. The next round of scholarships will be awarded in January, and our Spring Conference will be April 20th and 21st in Great Falls with Craig Sheehy as our presenter. I am looking forward to a great year, and I hope to see all of you in Great Falls!