The Language Center relies on expertise from many arenas of language teaching across the United States. It regularly sponsors workshops provided by experts in standards-based professional development through the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. These externally-developed and produced workshops are offered in the Fall (prior to the beginning of classes) and in the Spring.
The internal component of the professional development program is rooted in the research base on professional development and in the collective belief that effective internal communication is critical within a highly educated teaching staff. Organized under the leadership of the Professional Development Committee within the Language Center, internal activities range from peer observation of classroom teaching to specialized presentations by staff members at regularly scheduled meetings. This component recognizes the differing interests and career stages of staff members and highlights their individual expertise in such areas of specialization as classroom management, setting objectives, the use of newspapers in the classroom, group work, games, and so forth. By making both peer observations and presentations voluntary, this component reinforces active learning and encourages the development of areas of expertise among staff members.
Newer staff members, particularly those with minimal professional experience, are assigned a teaching mentor who works with them on an individually basis specifically with regard to lesson planning and student assessment. The development program housed within the Special Language section is aimed at supporting the work of tutors who have little or no professional training.