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Podcast Review #1

The Language Latte, reviewed by Jeff Pageau

The Language Latte is hosted by Becky Morales, a passionate ESL and Spanish instructor. What I enjoyed most about her podcast was that it has a broad appeal to all language teachers. Her podcast is about to celebrate its one year anniversary in February. During her inaugural year, she has engaged her listeners in a variety of relevant issues impacting language teachers. Topics in her podcast library include student retention in language programs, new teacher support, and comprehensible input to name but a few. The podcast is recorded twice a month and each episode features a guest speaker for an inciteful, academic interview. This podcast is an absolute must for all language teachers. Each episode runs approximately 30 minutes, make it accessible to a teacher’s busy schedule. I would go even further to say that I received more valuable PD in the 2 hours I explored her podcast than I have by PD offered by my district (which had nothing to do with language education).

The Language Latte is supported by a social media presence and website. All links and resources referenced in the podcast are housed on the website (kidworldcitizen.org). She also manages a Facebook page (Language Latte: Chatting About Teaching World Languages) where group members can share ideas, articles, and simply engage with other language professionals.

I recently listened to her October 3, 2018 podcast, Retaining Students in Our Language Programs. In this episode, she shares her common sense thoughts about retaining students through advanced level classes. She began the podcast by sharing data to support the needs of language programs in our schools. In the USA, more than 50% of Americans have a weekly interaction with individuals who’s first language is not English. Yet, only 9.3% of Americans are proficient in a second language! In this podcast, she advocates for the need of second language programs in our schools. What language teacher wouldn’t agree? Strategies language teachers should implement to support enrollment growth include implementing CI strategies and motivating students by making the course relevant and accessible. Direct grammar-translation methods will disengage students faster than anything. Furthermore, students need an internal motivation to function in the language. She correctly argues that in an ESL setting, this happens more naturally. However, in L2 classrooms, we need to show students that proficiency is obtainable and once they do, they will likely continue in the language. In short, language teachers are in complete control of the success of their language programs. I found this particular podcast very validating because her thoughts were very much in line with my own.

Grab a cup of coffee and tune in to Language Latte. You’ll be glad you did.

Jeff Pageau is a high school French teacher in North Carolina. His podcast, The Collaboration Café, with Carolina Hocutt is available now!