Andrea Gessner Ankerman currently teaches Spanish 1-4 at Columbus Grove High School in Columbus Grove, Ohio and lives in Delphos, Ohio. She has worked in the field of education for 25 plus years in a variety of roles and places such as Bilingual First Grade and Second Grade ESL in Texas, as well as Spanish 1-4 at the High School level in parochial and public schools in Ohio. She truly feels like all of her past experiences and training have prepared her for this moment. She started the transition to Acquisition Driven Instruction many years ago by attending workshops, conferences and lots of reading. She began incorporating CI into the curriculum several years ago and has never looked back. She loves spending class time doing movie talks, reading chapter books, storytelling, and using lots of music.
“I feel most of my confidence to take the plunge came from the training I
received at my first IFLT conference. The balanced presentation of theory and
instructional techniques along with the opportunity to practice the implementation of
them in a positive environment was just what I needed to bolster my confidence. I
am honored and excited to attend this year’s conference as an apprentice coach
and look forward to encouraging others in their endeavors with ADI instruction”.
My name is Christina Bacca. I became a language teacher after having worked in a different field. I returned to graduate school to get my M.Ed and participated in an internship program for professionals transitioning to teaching. Because of this unusual approach I completed my student teaching during summer school. My mentor teacher had just gotten back from a workshop by James Asher! We used TPR for the whole course and I continued using it in my own classroom from then on.
I stepped out of the classroom for a time but continued teaching part-time graduate PD courses and tutoring. In both instances, I continued using TPR and then TPRS as well as Pobre Ana when Blaine Ray first published it. When I returned to the classroom, this time teaching small classes of homeschooled students,I learned all I could about acquisition driven teaching and went all in!
Since that time I have continued attending CI trainings and have become a Curriculum Mentor for the SOMOS curriculum.I love encouraging others to just try one new thing in their classroom and see how it goes. Usually they are hooked on CI after that.
My name is Alexis Blum. I am from Minster, Ohio where I currently reside with my husband, daughter, and goldendoodle. I also teach Spanish I-IV at Minster High School, my alma mater. I have been teaching Spanish for 8 years. I started my teaching career as a Spanish I teacher outside of Columbus, Ohio. Shortly after my husband and I got married, I was offered a job in my hometown. I earned my Bachelors in Education at Ohio University in 2013. I studied abroad in Toledo, Spain in the spring of 2012 and then returned home to Ohio to complete my student teaching for one year. I attended my first CI workshop with Teri Wiechart and Gary DiBianca in 2016, and I was hooked. I love to use novels, music, and current events in my classroom. I have had so much fun teaching and have really found my passion. In 2021 I earned my Masters of Education from Ohio University, and have continued pursuing a love for languages and language learning. In my free time, I enjoy watching movies with my family, binge watching sitcoms, and reading. Due to COVID and wearing a lapel microphone in my classroom, I have recently discovered that I sing quite a bit to myself. I really love music and enjoy singing, but only to myself (and anyone who happens to hear it). I am looking forward to learning how to encourage and support other teachers on their ADI journeys, as well as learning from all the amazing instructors and colleagues at IFLT!
Paulino Brener has a Master’s Degree in Second Language Education from University of Minnesota. He currently teaches at Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis, MN. Prior to this he taught elementary and adults both in person (in a variety of settings) and online. Paulino enjoys learning languages (such as Esperanto), theater (trained actor), dancing, and technology. He is a Google Certified Educator Level 1 and 2. He is quite an entrepreneur and he has organized several online conferences in Spanish for language teachers and “emprendeprofes” (educator-entrepreneurs). He is the co-founder of Didactas.com, a platform for ongoing professional development for language teachers. He has presented at conferences locally, regionally, nationally, and of course, virtually! He was introduced to the world of Acquisition Driven Instruction and CI strategies when he left Argentina and landed in Minnesota to work at Concordia Language Villages more than 20 years ago. He has incorporated ADI and CI strategies in his instructions since then. At 6’6”, he is the tallest language teacher you’ll know (until a taller teacher comes along!)
This is my first time coaching at a conference, but I think I have been preparing for this moment my whole life! I have always known what it feels like to be learning another language and am an exchange program junkie. My experience as content coach (department chair) helped me learn how to coach teachers, which in turn improved my own teaching. Collaboration and continuing to learn are key, and that is what I am here to facilitate. My languages are German (heritage speaker), French (learned in school & teach) & Spanish (under construction), and I am passionate about working with English Learners in my school and in my community. It was my research for ESL certification that led me towards CI, which is the heart & soul of what I do.
Ellen Ericson received her undergraduate degree in the Teaching of Spanish from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. She holds a master degree in Educational Policy Studies, Global Studies, also from the U of I. Has is a Spanish teacher at Mahomet-Seymour High School in Central Illinois. She is currently completing her 25th year of teaching. Ellen is a National Board Certified Teacher and was the 2020 Illinois World Language Teacher of the Year. Currently, Ellen is currently serving as the President of the Illinois Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. She has presented locally, regionally, and nationally. She is passionate about creating relationships with her students, bringing the language alive through comprehensible and engaging activities, and advocating for World Languages. In her freetime, Ellen is an avid reader, hiker and dog loving enthusiast.
Hi! I’m Wendy Farabaugh and I have been a French teacher in Ohio for the last nine years. I graduated with a BS in French education from Miami University and am currently pursuing my MA In Foreign Language Education at Michigan State University. I have been teaching in Mentor Public Schools in Mentor, Ohio, for the last seven years. I fell in love with teaching with comprehensible input methods during my methods classes in college and am blessed to be able to do it in my classroom. This is my second time attending the IFLT conference and I am looking forward to spending time with like-minded educators.
Victoria Tyler Gaviria has a Master’s Degree in teaching a second language from Bennington College and her undergraduate degree was a double major in Spanish and International Studies from Peace College. She currently teaches middle school Spanish at Cary Academy. Prior to this she taught both middle and high school in NC Public schools. Tyler enjoys Latin dance, food and music and incorporates them into her teaching. She is passionate about travel, she has lived in Spain, Portugal, Guatemala, Mexico and England and loves to seek out new adventures whenever possible. She also was co-owner of a company called Spanish Alive. The company’s focus is teaching Spanish to adults using only Comprehensible Input and TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling methodologies. IFLT in 2014 was the event that shifted her view on Language Acquisition and has since attended almost every year since. Once she was introduced to the world of Acquisition Driven Instruction there was no going back and she is so grateful to all of the amazing teachers and coaches that helped her on her journey and she hopes she can give back to others the encouragement and positive vibes that were given to her. I have presented at FLANC, NCAIS for the past several years on different topics in ADI and my former partner and I started the Triangle ADI meetup group in the Raleigh area. Covid sort of sidetracked us but we hope to get it back up and running again soon.
Since beginning her teaching career in the late 90’s, Virginia Hildebrandt has taught all levels of high school Spanish, post secondary and Heritage Spanish courses. She has been using and improving her CI methods since attending her first Blaine Ray workshop well over 20 years ago.
As an author, she enjoys creating culturally rich stories for the classroom and loves to develop materials with the input of her students. Her exploration of indigenous beliefs and native populations has led her to know unique people and places. The people and places that she has come to know while traveling and working in Latin America are the backdrop of her novels.
In recent years she has developed a hands-on CI training program for English educators in Colombia. Supporting other educators who are dedicated to improving their ADI skills and seeing their growth, fills her heart.
Rocio Jacoby was born and raised in Trujillo, Peru and moved to the USA in 2000. Rocio holds National Board Certification in World Language Spanish and has taught elementary and middle school Spanish for 18 years. She holds Spanish and ESL endorsements and previously taught ESL at the college level. Rocio received her M.Ed. in Instructional Leadership from the University of Illinois -Chicago and her BS in Education – Foreign Language from Universidad Nacional de Trujillo, Peru. She is a member of NNELL, ACTFL, and ICTFL. Together with her district FLES colleagues, she has presented at ACTFL and ICTFL conferences. In addition to Spanish and English, she speaks some French and Italian. She is raising her 3 children to be bicultural, bilingual, global citizens. She shares her passion for language acquisition and teaching through her daily classes, professional conferences, mentoring of colleagues, and school and district level committee work. She enjoys attending CI conferences and learning from experienced teachers. She continues improving her Acquisition Driven Instruction skills and looks forward to helping and supporting other educators in their ADI journey as well.
Molly’s motto in life is: ¿Por qué no? (Why not?)
Molly Malone has been a language teacher for 22 years. Her teaching career began in San Sebastian, Spain, continuing to Los Angeles, California and then to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Molly currently lives in San Francisco, California and works as a language teacher/trainer in Northern California.
She is a Certified Bilingual Spanish teacher and holds a master’s degree in Spanish journalism. Molly has many years of experience teaching Kindergarten through 7th grade Spanish and currently teaches Spanish to adults through her language company. Molly has presented at numerous conferences around the world, helping teachers learn simple “Tips and Tricks” to easily implement CI into their language classrooms.
Molly is the founder and CEO of Enterprise Spanish LLC, which offers virtual Spanish classes for adult professionals. All classes are tailored to the needs and goals of her clients. These classes are no-stress, interactive and enjoyable. Communicating naturally is the focus. On any given day in her virtual language classroom you will find yourself engaging in Spanish through fun personalized stories, learning about different cultures, listening to authentic music…all in Spanish!
While living in Buenos Aires, Molly earned a master’s degree in journalism and wrote for Argentina’s international newspaper La Nación. She also taught adult business language classes for many years in Buenos Aires. Since then, Molly has not only been a language teacher, but also a travel writer on the side, publishing articles in The Los Angeles Times, various travel magazines. She also has her own travel blog called “Molly Malone’s Travel Tips.” You can read it by clicking here.
After living in Argentina, Molly moved back to California and worked for Adobe Systems in Education, promoting teachers using 21st Century technology in education around the world. Molly looks forward to meeting you and learning about you this summer!
I am Alejandra Santos, and I live in Los Olivos, California. I have taught Spanish at a private boarding high school for 20 years. In my twenty years of teaching Spanish, I came across TPRS (teaching proficiency through reading and storytelling) at a conference. I quickly adapted the approach in my classes, and I have never looked back. It was an easy transition when I quickly witnessed how the students responded and were using the language everyday in class and outside of the classroom. Since then, I have attended a number of conferences, including IFLT and NTPRS. This approach has given me the tools to bring the joy of teaching Spanish with amazing results. I dove into teaching level one since I knew that this is where the journey begins for all students. I believe that a good start for students acquiring the language begins at the earlier levels. I want to work with the 6th -12th World Language Department and bring the tools for a more CI program.
I have led community service trips to Guatemala for many years, and students that are in my classes have quickly understood the importance of Spanish and using it casually in everyday life. I hope to lead a group of students again.
Again, I am a believer of teaching languages using this approach, and I continue to look forward to improving my teaching and working with other professionals.
My name is Sandi Tunis. I started my career as a Spanish teacher in 1993, excited to teach Spanish the way I had learned it. I loved the textbook, vocabulary lists, and grammar practice! I was relatively successful, and felt satisfied with my instruction and my students’ achievements. And then I earned an ELL endorsement, and taught ELL instead of Spanish for a few years. This experience transformed my understanding of language acquisition, and thus language instruction. I quickly realized that I wanted my students to acquire Spanish rather than learn about it. I discovered a few CI blogs that helped me dip my toe into ADI, and since then I have completely changed my Spanish instruction. I have sought out every conference and training I could find, followed blogs of generous CI teachers, and tried so many new things! Over subsequent years, I have been able to share language acquisition theory and ADI/CI teaching methods with other language teachers in my building and in my district, and I am excited to formalize my coaching training so I can continue to encourage others on the journey to becoming a more acquisition-driven World Language department!
Jennifer Wright, Kennewick, Wa. Spanish Teacher for 21 years. KSD World Languages trainer for Comprehensible Input. AP Spanish Teacher.