Tuesday, June 22, 2021

GWATFL Tribute to Barbara Bennett

We, at GWATFL, commemorate the life of Barbara Bennett, our former President and beloved Board Member for more than 30 years. Barbara was the epitome of service as a friend, as a colleague, and as a leader. She served at GWATFL with dedication, strength, and vision. She was a kind and wonderful person and we will miss her dearly.

In her honor, GWATFL is establishing an annual award/scholarship to be presented at our future conferences. GWATFL will always remember Barbara and we will celebrate her life, legacy, and contributions.

For many years Barbara attended our monthly meetings and yearly conferences. I always felt impressed by her extraordinary professionalism during those events. She was constantly present when and where needed, always caring about the people around her. But above all, I would like to highlight her wonderful, gracious personality; A pleasantly sweet smile accompanied every idea and contribution she made. When I remember her, I will think of all her extraordinary contributions to our profession, her kind smile, and how fortunate I was to see how she touched the lives of so many.

Victor Vincent (GWATFL Board)

Barbara was a devoted and cherished Board member for GWATFL. She dearly loved our organization and mission and much of what we are today and where we are trying to become is a tribute to the work she did with our board over the past 30 years. We will miss her sweet smile and friendly personality. I have nice memories of when I first came to the board and she often came with her husband who was supportive of GWATFL. Barbara is one of the reasons I connected with GWATFL. She inspired me.
Karen Adamson (GWATFL Board)

Barbara made an imprint on me since the moment I saw her at one of the first GWATFL Board meetings that I attended back in 2017.
Barbara's smile immediately struck me as genuinely welcoming and although she did not speak much, when she did so, her words were inclusive and kind, and at the same time spoken with knowledge and candor. Barbara was a true leader.
Vicky Masson (GWATFL Board)

Barbara and I met at GWATFL in 2016. She welcomed me with open arms and a warm smile that immediately made me feel a part of the GWATFL family. I will remember her for the caring way she listened to others, making sure everyone’s voice was heard. Her eagerness to lend a helping hand was admirable. She devoted herself wholeheartedly by attending each monthly board meeting, pre-conference preparations, and conference. Although she might leave us, her love and memory will stay in our hearts forever.
Yi-Na Chung (GWATFL Board)

When I think about Barbara, her big and beautiful smile always comes to my mind. She was a sweet and kind woman and she always made people around her feel welcome. Barbara was an institution at GWATFL. She has been a member of our association since before any of us can remember. Barbara was always present in every meeting and she had a huge presence. I will always remember her taking precise and accurate notes of all of our meetings. Barbara was a beautiful human being and we will deeply miss her.
Mar Ramirez (GWATFL Board)

Barbara’s dedication to the language teaching profession and to GWATFL has been an inspiration. I first saw Barbara on an online video workshop for K-12 language teachers titled “Valuing Diversity in Learners”, Produced in association with ACTFL, years before I met her at GWATFL. Her pioneering insights on learning from students inform your curriculum and connect with your students. Barbara devoted a huge part of her life as an active and devoted GWATFL board member. I will always remember her friendliness, her warm personality, and her generosity.
Luis Deocares(GWATFL President)

Some people are born to be educators and Barbara was one of them.  She had a big heart, a soft voice, and a strong presence.  She was patient, always willing to listen and lend a hand, and offered the best advice.  Her contributions to World Languages education in Washington, DC, across the DMV, and across the nation are too immense to count.  Our profession will continue to be impacted by Barbara's talent for many years to come.  She loved and was so proud of her family.  I treasure the moments Barbara and I shared in between GWATFL Meetings and Conferences where we discussed life, love, family, and teaching.   I will miss her big heart and professional wisdom that she shared with the GWATFL Board, our members, and the many students and teachers that had the opportunity to cross her path over the years.  
Jane Tarwacki (GWATFL Past President)

Friday, March 19, 2021

GWATFL Stands in Solidarity with the AAPI Community and Condemns Acts of Xenophobia and Violence

 Dear Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) friends,

Our hearts are with you after the increased incidents of bias, harassment, and violence in the community, including the recent incidents in Atlanta. 

GWATFL continues to stand in solidarity with our Asian heritage community and the AAPI community at large. As language professionals, it is our purpose to promote intercultural understanding and we commit ourselves to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in our classrooms and community.


Wednesday, June 3, 2020

GWATFL stands in solidarity with the Black community

The Greater Washington Association of Teachers of Foreign Languages (GWATFL) stands in solidarity with the Black community against violence, social injustice, and systemic racism. As an organization dedicated to global competence and social justice, we condemn prejudiced and hateful actions against Black citizens.  We advocate for equity and justice to end the long history of systemic racism in the United States of America.

As world language educators, we are instrumental in guiding our students, modeling compassion, tolerance and courage. It is our responsibility to hold each other accountable by challenging bias.

We lament for those whose lives were unjustly cut short due to police brutality and systemic racism, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and countless others. To our Black GWATFL community and the Black community at large: we see you and we stand with you.

Luis Deocares, GWATFL President,  and the Board.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

GWATFL Spring Conference 2020 Cancelled

March 12, 2020
Dear GWATFL Community,

Due to the ongoing and increased challenges presented by COVID-19 and in accordance with health guidance from the CDC, WHO, and the state of emergency declared in Washington DC yesterday, the GWATFL Board has made the hard decision to cancel our 2020 GWATFL Spring Conference.  
GWATFL Board wants to reassure you that keeping our community protected and secure is our top priority. Registrants will receive their refund through Eventbrite.
We would like to recognize the hard work that our presenters and the GWATFL board have done to organize this conference.  In the meantime, the GWATFL Board is committed to continue planning the Fall 2020 conference on November 7th. Please mark your calendars!
Thank you for your support and patience as we move through this challenging time.
Luis Deocares  
GWATFL President and the Board

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Please help a NECTFL Mead Leadership Fellow winner

"Hello! My name is Michele Back and I am one of the NECTFL Mead Leadership Fellows for 2020-2021. As part of my project for this coming year I would like your assistance in completing a brief survey about any efforts you use or know about with respect to recruiting future world language teachers. Your responses will be completely anonymous, unless you decide that you would like to participate in the second stage of this project (and I hope you will!) Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions: michele.back@uconn.edu. Thank you for your participation!"
Click on the link below to begin the survey:

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Marcela Velikovsky, GWATFL Teacher of the Year 2020!

Congratulations to Marcela Velikovsky, GWATFL Teacher of the Year 2020!  

The Greater Washington Association of Teachers of Foreign Language is honored to name Marcela Velikovsky, GWATFL Teacher of the Year 2020! 

Ms. Velikovsky has impressive credentials and has demonstrated commitment to the language teaching profession. We appreciate her efforts to develop cultural competence, her work with Smithsonian Institution, and the many ways in which she shares her work  and expertise with other world language teachers.

Ms. Velikovsky is a Middle School Spanish Teacher at Bullis School, an independent school located in Potomac, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C.

Good luck representing GWATFL at NECTFL 2020 in New York!


Luis Deocares
GWATFL President

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Best of GWATFL Spring, 2019: Ms. Yuching Chung

Best of GWATFL 19

Please join us in congratulating Ms. Yuching Chung, on being named
Best of GWATFL Spring, 2019 for her session
“Visible Thinking Routines in Language Classroom.”
Ms. Chung will represent us at the NECTFL’s conference 2020! 

Interview with Best of GWATFL2019 Yuching Chun, Mandaring Teacher at Whittle School and Studios  

Yuching switched her career from interpreting to teaching in 2008. Since then She has taught both Mandarin Chinese and Japanese as a world language teacher in Florida and California. Yuching became a 5TH Grade Mandarin-immersion classroom teacher at Washington Yu Ying PCS in DC after she moved to Virginia in 2015. She started a new job as a 5TH Grade classroom teacher (all subjects taught in English) and a world language teacher teaching Mandarin at Whittle School and Studios this fall 2019. Yuching enjoys inquiry and project-based learning and teaching.  

What motivated you to teach?
The Love for children and passion for languages! 
What three words would your students use to describe you?
Funny, unique, caring.
Connecting with students is important in a classroom. How do you see this happening in your classes and how does that connection help you succeed with your lesson?
I greet students as soon as they come in with a genuine smile. I usually notice fresh/new haircuts and always compliment them. These things may seem superficial but the powerful message here is not only I see you but I notice you. When I see students struggle I don’t immediately offer my support, I ask "Are you okay?" and "Do you need help?".  It's important to respect students' needs and the time they require to process, student agency and struggles are important for learning. Nurturing and respectful relationships go both ways. 
What are three major expectations that you have for your students? 
Growth mindset, being respectful and caring to one another.  

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges in teaching a world language? How do you face those challenges?

Challenge: Tailor the right resources and materials to different groups of students
Solution: Getting to know students individually and design different materials/games to meet students' interests and needs. This is time-consuming but really worth it!
How do you feel about being Best of GWATFL to represent us at NECTFL? What is your session about? I feel really honored and thankful. It motivates me to be a better teacher and present more in different conferences in the future. My session was about "Visible Thinking Routines in Language Classrooms."

If you have a thought that you would want to leave world language teachers with, what would it be?  
Be fearless and have fun with your students. Your love and passion for your language and culture is contagious.