Language Matters Award will be given to a high school teacher who has achieved
outstanding success in getting his/her students to speak Spanish through
exemplary motivation and creative methods; in addition, the winner shall be a
teacher who has provided authentic immersion experiences outside the classroom
for students to apply their speaking skills.
The 2016 recipient of the Xperitas Language Matters Award is Claudia Kechkian, who teaches at Oakcrest School in McLean, Virginia.
Claudia Kechkian is an
inspiring and motivating teacher who continually creates new projects and
activities so that her students speak Spanish within and beyond the classroom.
Her nurturing and charismatic personality combined with a solid understanding of
language acquisition has enabled her students to reach advanced levels of
proficiency. An administrator explained that Claudia Kechkian transformed the
school’s very traditional Spanish curriculum into a communicative-centered
program that inspires students to not only master the language but also develop
their intercultural competence. The administrator also noted that "...students
started to use Spanish in the hallways, finding native speakers to talk to. Not
only do they try their best to communicate in Spanish but they do so with a
smile, at any proficiency level.”
Claudia’s students are motivated to speak Spanish through classroom
activities including linguistic games and the production of videos such as news
programs, cooking shows, documentaries, and commercials as well as through
immersion experiences outside the classroom. Students, parents, and
administrators alike praise Claudia Kechkian for her innovative approach to
increasing students proficiency in Spanish.