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NYC Association of Foreign Language Teachers/UFT conference

20 years of promoting languages
New York Teacher

New York City public schools are doing a much better job of integrating technology, art and culture into the teaching of foreign languages, said Irma Evangelista, the president of the New York City Association of Foreign Language Teachers/UFT, citing one of the biggest advances in her field in recent years at the group’s 20th annual conference. That and other best practices were covered at the Nov. 4 event, Celebrating 20 Years of Promoting World Languages and Cultures, at UFT headquarters. Nearly 300 foreign language teachers had their choice of 16 workshops on topics such as games and crafts for the Italian classroom and the lost art of conversation. The day began with a morning plenary session featuring keynote speaker Bill Heller, a Spanish language teacher at SUNY/Geneseo. “You can take a virtual-reality trip to Paris or Rome, go anywhere and do anything — technology has had a fantastic impact on the teaching of foreign languages,” Evangelista said. Nunzia Manginelli, one of the four founders of the group to receive an award, said she was pleased that the organization continues to present cutting-edge, relevant workshops to members. Nellie B. McKay, the director of the New York State Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network, who received the Friend of Foreign Language award, emphasized that 1 in 5 people in the United States today speaks a language other than English at home, a vital resource that can enrich students’ academic experience “and open doors to opportunities.”