Friday Morning 3-Hour Workshops

Workshop 7 - Language Learning is for Everyone! Supporting Students with Learning Disabilities in a World Language Classroom
Presenter: Danja Mahoney

Can every student succeed in World Language class? Are there students whose disability prevents them from learning a language? The research indicates that students with disabilities succeed when their language teacher builds engagement and provides the necessary support to help students access learning. But how do teachers learn those practices? Using principles of backward design, Universal Design for Learning, and strategies for supporting executive function and language-based learning disabilities, teachers will build a toolkit of effective accommodations and modifications to support all students in their language classes. Collaborate with language colleagues in understanding the research foundations, developing practices, and advocating for all of your students to succeed.

Danja Mahoney, Ed.D., is a teacher of Latin, Spanish, and English and World Languages Department Chair at Reading Memorial High School. For nearly 30 years, she has been an educator, with experience teaching languages in public and private schools in the United States and abroad. As a lifelong learner, her focus has been on understanding the role learning disabilities play in learning a world language as well as how teachers can advocate and support all learners.


Workshop 8 - Creating Confident Communicators: Building Interpersonal Skills
Presenter: Leslie Grahn

During this workshop, participants will do a deep dive into the interpersonal mode. They will deepen their knowledge about their Generation Z and Alpha learners and how to engage them in interpersonal tasks. Participants will also explore ways to build student confidence to spontaneously communicate, practice designing interpersonal tasks, plan for interpersonal skill building, and consider ways to give feedback to students that leads to growth in their interpersonal communication skills.

Leslie Grahn has twenty-seven years of language teaching experience at the middle and high school levels and twelve years of experience at the central office level, most recently as Coordinator of World Languages for the Howard County Public School System in Maryland. Leslie has been a course instructor on foreign language teaching methods and differentiated instruction, has led both curriculum and assessment development teams, and is a frequent presenter at state, regional, and national conferences, specializing in best practices. She curates and creates resources to support language teaching and learning and shares them through her website ( and on Pinterest (grahnforlang). She has experience in teacher and leadership development and leads training on instructional coaching, mentoring, leadership, and communication skills. Leslie is the co-author of The Keys toStrategies for Language Instruction and has served on the boards of NECTFL, NADSFL and ACTFL.

Workshop 9 -  Mediation and Linguistic Diversity in the Language Classroom
Presenter:  Gina Maiellaro

The concept of “mediation” has gained importance in intercultural language pedagogy, as  vident from its inclusion in the revised descriptors of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and the ACTFL Intercultural Communication benchmarks. However, the meaning, role, and application of mediation in language pedagogy are not always clear. In mediation, the learner creates bridges with other people and helps to construct meaning, sometimes within the same language, sometimes across languages and modalities (cross-linguistic mediation). When students become intercultural mediators, they are involved inprocesses of recognizing, understanding, explaining, commenting, interpreting, and negotiating phenomena. Mediation also implies that what the language means more broadly depends on the context in which it is used. This workshop will revisit the concept of ‘mediation’ as it applies to intercultural language education. It will illustrate ways different approaches to mediation can be operationalized in the language classroom.  A focus will be placed on mediation techniques, strategies, and tasks associated with the theme of linguistic diversity in Italy, focusing on stereotyping based on language (accent, race, or name), how this can restrict social participation and linguistic privilege (linguistic minorities, dialects), and how linguistic diversity contributes to social justice. 

Gina Maiellaro is a teaching professor, Italian Program Coordinator and Curriculum Committee chair at Northeastern University’s World Languages Center. Her primary teaching and research areas are Italian language pedagogy, linguistics, and cultural studies. Gina’s academic research explores second language acquisition with a special focus on curriculum development, testing, intercultural/transcultural competence (with a focus on ethnography, semiotics, and translation) in language education. She is the chair of the National Italian Exam, a well-established proficiency-based exam for high school students promoted by the American Association of Teachers of Italian.  She frequently presents at national and international conferences and actively participates in national and local associations dedicated to advancing Italian language and culture education in the United States. Currently, she serves on the board of directors of the Massachusetts Italian Teachers


Workshop 10 - Teaching Diversity Through French-Canadian Children’s Stories and Short Texts
Presenter:  Janel Lafond Paquin

This workshop focuses on French-Canadian children’s stories and short texts that offer resources to promote diversity and language learning possibilities!  Each text chosen provides material to sensitize students to one of the many factors of diversity through engaging activities and personal cultural comparisons. A slides handout will be provided to all participants.  (Conducted in English and French).

Janel Lafond-Paquin is a retired French/Spanish teacher and department chair at Rogers High School in Newport, RI.  She was Chair of MaFLA’s Fall Conference in 2006 and was NECTFL Conference Chair in 2014.  She received MaFLA’s Distinguished Service Award in 2019.  She is the Director of AATF’s Leadership Academy, has edited two volumes for AATF’s Middle School Commission, and is currently working on a third.  She holds the rank of Officier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques and is their national secretary.  She has also presented sessions and workshops at state, regional, national, and international conferences.  She is currently an instructional consultant for Class Measures.