In today’s society, where more than 6,500 languages are spoken, the ability to speak more than one tongue provides both a social advantage and a cultural opportunity. Being bilingual in a global society enables individuals to build bridges between diverse communities and overcome cultural divides. 

On Thursday, July 27, the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science in collaboration with the Mississippi Department of Education hosted a World Language Training Workshop. The workshop introduced teachers from around the state to the 2016 Mississippi World Languages Framework and the 2017 Mississippi World Languages Teaching Guide. The wide array of topics discussed at the session ranged from an overview of the organized framework that supports proficiency- based instruction to a detailed presentation of resources available in the teacher’s guide. 

With around 35 world language teachers of Spanish, French, German, and Latin in attendance, representing 26 different districts across Mississippi, the robust teacher participation yielded suggestions for activities and implementation strategies to develop thematic units and model lessons that support the world languages standards. 

Lori Pierce, foreign languages instructor at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, served as a presenter for the event. Pierce explained the national standard for world language teaching set by Integrated Performance Assessments, supported by the American Council for Teaching Foreign Languages: 

“In this type of language classroom, students are evaluated on what they can do in the target language, by creating real world situations for them to navigate and designing the classroom activities that teach the necessary skills. An IPA unit is created with an interpretive activity, an interpersonal activity, and a presentational activity. For many of the teachers, this was the first time they were introduced to this type of curriculum development.”

Pierce was selected for the Teacher of the Year Award by world language teachers in the state, based in part on her participation in the Mississippi Foreign Language Teacher’s Association. Recognized for her innovative classroom teaching styles and vast contribution to overhauling the Mississippi World Language Teaching Framework and corresponding teaching guide, Pierce embodies passion for the advancement of foreign language instruction throughout the state. 

Pierce attended the Southern Conference on Language Teaching in March of 2017 as a representative of Mississippi Foreign Language Association where she competed for the honor of being named the Southern Conference on Language Teaching Teacher of the Year.