Agen lies in the Garonne valley in Southwest France at the heart of a rich agricultural area. You can get to Agen by high speed train (TGV). The trip takes about an hour from either Bordeaux or Toulouse and a little over four hours from Paris. The site of the workshop is within easy walking distance of the main shopping area, half a dozen hotels and the train station. There is a free bus to get around the city center every twelve minutes.
The workshop will be held in downtown Agen in the Lycée Saint Caprais.
Prices at downtown hotels range from 35 euros to 125 euros a night. You can get an excellent meal for 12 euros in numerous restaurants. For more information you can visit the Tourist Office site: www.ot-agen.org IBIS and Stim’hotel are comfortable and offer the kind of functional room you can find anywhere in the world. Evenin coaching sessions will be available at the Stim’otel, which offers a special rate for workshop participants including breakfast and one meal. Les Ambans is a tiny hotel (7 rooms) on a quiet side street that could be the setting of a French New Wave film. Appart’City proposes studios with cooking facilities at a very reasonable price, as does Columba Agen.
This year’s keynote speaker is Beniko Mason Nanki. Dr. Beniko Mason first began her Extensive Reading (ER) program in 1984 in Japan. Her first question was whether ER was more effective than the traditional reading method, then whether it alone was better than the eclectic method, and finally whether reading alone was more efficient. She has also reported on how to start and set up an ER program, and what factors contribute to creating a successful ER program. Her publications are found at: www.benikomason.net.
Sabrina Sebban-Janczak is a Parisian who has lived in the United States for over twenty years. She teaches French in a high school in Denver as well as at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She also trains teachers and she has been named “Teacher of the Year” for Colorado by ACTFL. She teaches French with stories, using TPRS. She and her students invent stories together.
Robert Harrell teaches German at Pacifica High School in Garden Grove, California. He has been at the school for over 20 years. Before becoming a public school teacher, Robert worked at Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament for 13 years, where he rode horses, directed the action in the arena from horseback, found out “it’s good to be the king”, and started a vigorous educational program that still brings the excitement of the Middle Ages to local schools and organizations. Prior to that, Robert served as a short-term missionary in Germany, worked for an airline at LAX, was a pastoral intern at his church, and taught beginning Hebrew and Old Testament Introduction at Talbot Theological Seminary. Along the way he managed to collect five master’s degrees. In addition to his teaching duties, Robert is on the Board of Directors for COACH Foreign Language Project, a group of language teachers who present workshops and prepare classroom materials for other language teachers. He also presents at conferences and workshops (FLA-OC, CLTA, SWCOLT, ACTFL) and first came to Agen in 2015 because he wanted to meet Judith Dubois and learn more about the great work she is doing in France and Europe. This year he is back as a coach and presenter. Robert also maintains his own blog at www.compellinginput.wordpress.com and writes and publishes books and other materials, available at www.compellinginput.net. He is excited to be back in Agen for a third year.
Margarita Pérez García has been working in the field of education for over 20 years. First as a language teacher in France, Venezuela and Spain, then as a researcher in education science and European projects coordinator in the field of technology enhanced learning in France and Belgium. In 2013, she returned to teaching languages and developed an interest in TPRS. She has been employing TPRS in her secondary classroom since 2014. Nowadays she is Head of Spanish at St Catherine’s, Bramley (UK) where she teaches Spanish and French. She participated in the TPRS Agen Workshop in 2015 and 2016 and is coming all the way from New Zealand for this year’s edition.
Kirstin Plante worked as a legal translator for more than ten years, until she discovered that her real passion is teaching. After teaching translation, writing and language at the Translation Academy Hogeschool West-Nederland in The Hague and teaching Dutch as a second language at IberLengua in Haarlem, she founded her company TaleninstituutWaterland and started teaching Spanish to adults and children. In 2007 she participated in a TPR Storytelling® workshop that changed her view on foreign language education completely. “I knew right away that I could never go back to the ‘old’ way of teaching. TPRS has changed my life completely.” In 2008 she started, together with Iris Maas, the company TPRS Nederland, and organized presentations, workshops and trainings in TPRS. In 2013 they designed a one year teacher training course at an academic level for teachers who want to incorporate Storytelling in their language classes. In order to have an up-to-date knowledge of the latest developments, Kirstin regularly attends TPRS trainings and conferences in the United States.
What makes this job so interesting for Kirstin? “In a small team of dedicated teacher trainers we develop lively, inspiring workshops and an intensive teacher training course for language teachers. I really feel that this storytelling method makes a difference for both language teachers and students.”
For Iris, the perfect job has always been a combination of education and Spanish. After obtaining a university degree in Spanish and completing a teacher education program she worked for 10 years as a Spanish teacher for adults in Antwerp, Belgium. After moving to the Randstad she started teaching translation and interpretation at the Translation Acadamy “Hogeschool West-Nederland” in The Hague. Nowadays she is working as a lecturer in Spanish at Hotelschool The Hague, a business school for Hotel and Hospitality Management.
Iris got acquainted with TPRS® in 2007, and she was immediately thrilled about the method: finally she had found a way to enable her students, during a short and intensive course, to speak basic level Spanish with confidence, thus preparing them for a placement in Spain.
Iris and Kirstin decided to join forces: In 2008, they started developing workshops and trainings in TPRS and in 2013 they launched a part-time TPRS teacher training course. “To let other language teacher experience how TPR Storytelling works and how much energy this method gives you is something that really excites me.”
Iris is trained and coached in TPRS by expert trainers in the United States on a regular basis, and applies TPRS in her Spanish classes at Hotelschool The Hague as much as possible. Iris: “The TPRS techniques of storytelling and personalization are particularly appropriate to teach language proficiency in a hospitality context.”
Teri Wiechart worked as a French teacher at Delphos Jefferson High School from 1975 to 2010. Since then she has been a consultant for the Ohio Department of Education, working on updating the learning standards for Ohio’s K-12 students and implementing the new standards. She has been a TPRS/CI trainer and coach since 2001. She has presented at the National TPRS Conference and she has been a coach for NTPRS since 2007. She was the coaching coordinator at the International Forum for Language Teachers in 2010, 2012 and 2013. She will again be the head coach at IFLT in July 2014 in Denver. She studied at the Université de Strasbourg and is a past President of the Ohio Foreign Language Association.
Judith Logsdon-Dubois began teaching English to French speakers in 1967 as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon. She moved to France in 1984 and began teaching adult learners in 1986. She earned a Masters and then a DEA in English Literature and Civilization from the University of Bordeaux III. In 1991 she began teaching translation and American literature at the DEPAA, an antenna of the University of Bordeaux for future English teachers. In 1995 she passed the French civil service exam for teachers and obtained the aggrégation in 1997. She taught at the Lycée Jean-Baptiste de Baudre in Agen from 1996 to 2012. She is a published author and since her retirement has been giving private lessons and traveling around France to talk about TPRS. She has led TPRS workshops in France and in Switzerland.
The workshop program will be centered around experiencing the method, first as a student, learning Breton from Daniel Dubois, then observing experienced teachers work with real students, and then practicing with the same students while being coached. There will be sessions on classroom management, Embedded Reading, working with films, Krashen’s underlying theories, and French literature and culture. Considerable time will be spent in debriefing sessions, so that there will be more back and forth communication between the presenters and the participants than can be handled in larger programs.
Participants are encouraged to consult this reading list to prepare for the workshop.