Conference attendance allows education students to share ideas with those in the field

Hannah Brockman ’24 of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, and Meredith Thiessen ’26 of Stoughton, Wisconsin, attended the 2023 Wisconsin Association for Language Teachers (WAFLT) conference in Appleton, Wisconsin, Nov. 2-4. Brockman is majoring in Spanish, French in a self-designed major, and education. Thiessen is double majoring in Spanish and secondary education.

At the conference, Brockman made a presentation, “The Cultures of Southern France,” which also was the final project of her summer research with the Summer Opportunities for Advanced Research (SOAR) program at Ripon. “For me, this presentation represents a deep desire to bring international experiences into the world language classrooms in middle and high schools in the United States,” Brockman says.

Brockman had studied in Montpellier, France, during the fall 2022 semester. She learned and discovered many elements of French culture which she feels are not addressed in secondary French classrooms. “I felt this needed to change, so that following summer I worked on a SOAR project with Professor of French Dominique Poncelet to create teaching units about the themes and cultural elements that are unique to the South of France.” During SOAR, she completed seven teaching units. She presented main ideas and sample activities from these units at the WAFLT conference.

“I felt this was a wonderful way to share my work and encourage French teachers of all years of their career to implement new and fascinating ideas,” Brockman says. “As part of the presentation, I shared my seven teaching units with materials, pedagogical activities, and sources to learn more with the attendees of my presentation.

“All in all, the experience of presenting these new ideas to teachers of many years was an empowering and successful experience because as I presented my ideas we engaged in a fruitful discussion about the practical implementation of my ideas. It was a wonderful way to connect with professionals in the field as I finish out my career at Ripon College and will soon become a professional educator like them.”

Professor of French Dominique Poncelet says, “Hannah’s presentation was very well-received and generated interesting discussion; someone in the audience remarked it was quite brave for a senior in college and future teacher to make a presentation in front of teachers who have years of experience.

“It was wonderful to see Hannah and Meredith connect with future colleagues, including alumni from Ripon, including Josh LeGreve ’09, who is a Spanish teacher and International Baccalaureate Program Coordinator with the Green Lake Public Schools. Professional conferences are a fantastic opportunity for students to learn outside the classroom, and I am grateful that Ripon College allowed Hannah and Meredith to have this experience.”

(Photo: Meredith Thiessen ’26, left, and Hannah Brockman ’24)

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