Saturday Workshops

Workshop 13 - Proficiency-Based Instruction: Providing Input
Presenters: Catherine Ritz and Christina Toro

James Powers Endowed Workshop
Former MAFLA Distinguished Service Award recipient (1973) and one of the founders of MAFLA, James R. Power Jr., upon his death in 2008, bequeathed funds to MAFLA “the annual interest income from which to be used for the support of sessions on Theory and Research.  This workshop has been designated this year the James Powers Endowed Workshop.


In this workshop, the authors of ACTFL’s newest publication, “Proficiency-Based Instruction: Input & Interaction in World Language Education,” will break down the essentials of proficiency-based instruction, with a focus on providing comprehensible language input and using authentic resources that lead to engaging student interactions. We’ll look closely at numerous strategies for providing comprehensible input and how to select authentic resources for different proficiency levels. We’ll also explore the Interactive Model, which provides a structure for lesson design that moves learners across the three Modes of Communication: Interpretive, Interpersonal, and Presentational. Using numerous classroom examples, and with time for hands-on practice and application, you will walk away from this workshop ready to teach for proficiency in the immersive and interactive classroom of the future.

Presenter Bios:

Catherine Ritz, EdD, is a Clinical Associate Professor and Director of World Language Education at Boston University’s Wheelock College of Education & Human Development. Prior to joining BU, Catherine taught French and Spanish at the secondary level for many years and holds National Board Certification in French. Catherine has served on the boards of MAFLA and NECTFL and was the AATF Vice President (2020-2022). She is the author of two books: “Leading Your World Language Program: Strategies for Design and Supervision, Even If You Don’t Speak the Language!” (Routledge, 2021) and “Proficiency-Based Instruction: Input & Interaction in World Language Education” (ACTFL, 2022) with Christina Toro.

Christina Toro is a Spanish teacher and has taught at both public and private high schools for the past fifteen years. Since 2012, she has been a Spanish teacher at Arlington High School in Massachusetts. Christina is an AP Reader for the Spanish Language and Culture Exam. In addition to teaching, she has presented workshops at the state, regional, and national levels. She is currently on the board of MAFLA. Her interests include curriculum & teaching, Colombia, Latin America, virtual reality, and autism. She is the author of “Proficiency-Based Instruction: Input & Interaction in World Language Education” (ACTFL, 2022) with Catherine Ritz.


Workshop 14 - Redefining Our Relationship with Grammar: It's Complicated
Presenters: Mike Travers and Evan Greenwald


As teachers continue to design communicative units, we’re still stuck with the question of where grammar fits into what we’re doing and how to assess it. Join us for this workshop, where we’ll explore what it really means to ‘teach’ grammar within the context of your units. Participants will leave with different micro-strategies they can implement Monday morning in their classes as well as ideas for how to assess grammar while still keeping communication at the forefront.

Presenter Bios:


Mike Travers is a Spanish teacher at Wellesley High School in Massachusetts and has taught learners both Spanish and French at the novice and intermediate levels. Mike is very active in professional learning communities through MAFLA, NECTFL, and ACTFL, where he presents, facilitates, or participates in conferences and workshops to continue learning more about proficiency-based teaching. Mike is a MAFLA's vice president, a member of NECTFL’s advisory board, and the winner of multiple awards for his presentations at MAFLA and NECTFL.



Evan Greenwald is a Spanish teacher at Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA, and a member of the MAFLA Board. His areas of interest include processing and grammar, thematic units, feedback, and UDL in the proficiency-based classroom.