Process of Application
The National Language Teacher of the Year process begins at the state level with the state language organizations selecting a candidate each year whose application is then submitted to the regional level. The finalist for each of the five regions then competes at the national level. The process outlined below at each level is designed to facilitate the development of the portfolio used in the evaluation process by suggesting certain items at each level of the process leading toward the complete portfolio required at the national level. This process is intended to incrementally add the required elements of the portfolio at each level to encourage broad participation while having sufficient evidence from candidates of their teaching accomplishments and ability to represent the language profession. ACTFL will supply the forms and samples needed so that candidates understand what is required at each level. In addition, there is a detailed explanation of the portfolio items on the ACTFL website.
I. State Level
Deadline: Fall of each year
State language associations may use any mechanism to select their state winner. States may choose to require a nomination process or permit self-nominations, or they may use their existing state teacher of the year process.
ACTFL recommends, however, that the state associations require the following elements selected from the comprehensive final ACTFL portfolio requirements to make its determination.
Following are the items that are recommended to be included in the state candidate’s portfolio submitted to each regional awards committee:
- One-page letter of recommendation from a supervisor
- One-page letter of recommendation from a colleague
- One-page letter of recommendation from a current or former parent or student
- Curriculum Vitae of no more than five (5) pages.
- Five-hundred-word personal statement on the value of learning languages and developing cultural competence for all learners.
II. REGIONAL LEVEL
Deadline to regional: Dec. 15 - Jan. 15 (Regions determine the deadline within this window based on their conference and awards committee schedule).
Once the state association has selected its candidate who will move forward to the regional level, the state association ensures that its candidate submits the portfolio with all the suggested items listed in the previous section and, in addition, includes the following:
- Nomination Cover Page (available on ACTFL website) completed by an officer of the state language association.
- Examples of Student Work (two individual examples, one page and one-sided only) that reflect the goals of the World Readiness Standards for Learning Languages (5C’s). These can be written examples or in a digital format.
- Reflection on the student work not to exceed 4 pages (Size 12 font, double-spaced) total for both examples that provides a written reflection about these student examples and how they
- demonstrate current best practices of language teaching and learning, including the integration of the World Readiness Standards for Learning Languages (5 C’s)
- encourage the proficient use of the target language by the teacher and students;
- provide the effective use of feedback, including but not limited to rubrics.
- An interview process designed individually by each regional organization. It is recommended that a three-five minute practice policy speech also occur either on site at the regional conference or through electronic means (No documentation regarding this interview is required in the portfolio submitted at the national level.)
III. NATIONAL LEVEL
Deadline to ACTFL: June 30
In addition to the items already mentioned, regions work with their finalists to ensure that their candidates submit their online portfolios for review to the national awards committee to ACTFL headquarters by the June 30 deadline. ACTFL will appoint the members of the Teacher of the Year Selection Committee. No committee members will be from the same state as any of the regional finalists.
The final portfolio includes all of the items suggested at the state and regional level with the addition of the following REQUIRED items:
- Classroom Video (a brief clear and concise snapshot from a unit that must include the teacher and must show teacher interacting with students in the target language) that is a continuous, non-edited 20 minute segment of a lesson in the actual classroom setting that
- demonstrates the effective use of the target language both by the teacher and the students;
- demonstrates a variety of instructional strategies that enhance the effectiveness of the lesson;
- is filmed during the current academic year;
- is not professionally produced
- Reflection on Classroom Video (a brief snapshot from a unit) (up to three pages) that
- describes the learning goals and targets of the lesson;
- provides details about the activities and how these activities impacted student learning;
- provides evidence of interpretive, interpersonal and presentational elements in that unit;
- reflects on the effectiveness of the lesson, including the use of the target language in the video, as well as the next steps in the lesson.
- Response to Questions: Provide written reflections, not to exceed two (2) pages for each question (total 4 pages maximum, responding to these two questions:
- How do you engage and encourage students in language-related and culture-related activities beyond the classroom?
- How do the samples of student work and the content of the classroom video reflect the teacher’s personal statement on the value of learning languages and developing cultural competence for all learners?
- Professional involvement documentation examples, (including but not limited to certificates, newspaper articles, letters, links to videos,) (not to exceed 4 pages)
- demonstrates professional growth and involvement in professional organizations;
- provides evidence of a variety of leadership experiences, including advocacy.
- Reflection on Professional involvement documentation (not to exceed 3 pages) that
- describes and analyzes the significance and impact on you as a teacher;
- describes and analyzes the significance and impact on student learning and on language learning in your school and/or district or state.
Also included in the portfolio: (Located on ACTFL website)
- Nomination Cover Page (available on the ACTFL website) completed by an officer of the regional language association.
- A one-page Contact Information Sheet containing names and addresses to notify the appropriate parties of the candidate’s selection (available on the ACTFL website.)
- A professional photograph in electronic format.
Online submitted portfolio is not to exceed 30 pages. The required forms and photograph are not included in the page count.
ACTFL reserves the right to copy and use any of the portfolio contents for promotion of the award or for professional development.
IV. ACTFL Convention
During the ACTFL Convention there will be an interview. (Expenses are paid by ACTFL.) Included in this interview will be:
- A series of questions with possible topics such as: learning and teaching strategies, student achievement and student growth and professional involvement and growth.
- A three-five minute public policy speech that might be given to a civic group or other outside organization that addresses an issue of current importance to language learning and global competency in an interconnected 21st century world.
For questions regarding your state nomination, contact your regional organization.