CHS teacher chosen to review proposals for upcoming foreign language conference


Cullman High School’s Sara McCutcheon has been chosen to review proposals for presentations at the 2018 ACTFL Annual Convention and World Languages Expo in New Orleans. / Cullman High School

CULLMAN – Cullman High School foreign language teacher Sara McCutcheon has been chosen from among a nationwide group of nominees to review proposals for presentations to be made at the 2018 conference of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) in New Orleans, the ACTFL Annual Convention and World Languages Expo.  McCutcheon was nominated for the position of both responsibility and honor by Dr. Sheri Saine Long, executive director designate of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP).

The American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP) promotes the study and teaching of the Spanish and Portuguese languages.  Per its website, the ACTFL is dedicated to the improvement and expansion of the teaching and learning of all languages at all levels of instruction.  ACTFL is an individual membership organization of more than 12,500 language educators, students and administrators.

McCutcheon explained a little about what she will be doing. “There are four types of proposals to be reviewed: 45-minute stand-alone sessions, 15-minute research papers, electronic posters and all roundtable presentations of various languages and levels.  This means I will be reviewing and selecting, with a committee, the sessions and talks offered at the 2018 ACTFL Conference.”

McCutcheon has been a teacher at Cullman High School for 11 years, teaching all levels of Spanish, Bible as Literature, public speaking and the CHS Student Leadership Academy.  She talked about the language program within which her efforts have brought her this national attention:

“The World Language program at Cullman High School likely does not look like the high school courses most adults took during their high school careers.  The World Language program has been revamped over the years from a grammar-based approach to proficiency.  Proficiency is what a student can do with the language.  Not often is someone asked to conjugate a verb in Mexico, but one may need to order in a restaurant, to describe characteristics of a person, or to serve others on a missions trip.  

“Recently in Spanish level one, students studied DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), learned why the government shut down during this time, and were able to form an educated opinion on the topic.  This information will help students across the curriculum, and often these controversial topics are brought up in pageant questions, college interviews, etc.  When students leave the Cullman High School World Language program, we want them to have a firm foundation for college or a career, or to simply make their lives richer through another culture.”

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