Area teachers hone language skills, share expertise through Eisenhower-THEC program at Tennessee Tech

Move over, English. In the classrooms and corridors of Tennessee Technological University this week, it's German, French and Spanish that are being spoken.

Thirty-three foreign language teachers, including two from Putnam County, are engaged in intensive study and development in a special program concluding Saturday at the university.

Cookeville High School teachers Aliene Click (Spanish) and Nadine Jones (German) are among the participants in the program, which is funded by the Eisenhower Program through the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. Teachers represent public and private elementary and secondary schools from across the state.

For seven days, the educators are exploring issues surrounding new national standards for foreign language learning. In groups and breakout sessions, they work on textbook supplements, speak in the languages they teach and share information on how to produce practical, useful materials that really work in the classroom. The teachers also are focusing their attention on the Internet and its dynamic instructional capabilities, exploring how to create web pages, incorporate web resources into teaching materials and employ the Internet and related technological aids to improve effective teaching methods.

"Teachers in this intensive workshop are among the best and most motivated in the state," said program coordinator Phillip Campana, chairperson of the Department of Foreign Languages at Tennessee Tech.

"In this week, they learn from the directors and from each other. Participants in previous workshops of this kind have said that they used the materials they developed and the ideas they shared for years after the workshop was over. Our aim is to provide an enriching experience that has lasting effects, both for educators and their students."

The program is directed by Emily Spinelli of the University of Michigan, Dearborn, Jeff Mellor of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Kenneth Kintz and Juanita Shettlesworth of Tennessee Tech.