About Connie

25 yrs in world language education

former President of Colorado Congress of Foreign Languages Teachers

Colorado delegate to Joint National Committee for Languages in Washington DC

Colorado Department of Education Committee to revise State Standards for World Languages

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Connie J Navarro is proud to have served as President of Colorado Congress of Foreign Language Teachers (CCFLT), representing teachers and advocating for language instruction programs at the state, regional and national level. As the Peer Observer for World Languages for Denver Public Schools since 2012, she has observed, evaluated, and coached hundreds of teachers seeking to go from good to great, and has analyzed literally thousands of lessons to determine high-leverage action steps.

With 20+ years of classroom teaching experience in a variety of contexts including state university, community college, high school, AP, IB, online, affluent students and students of high poverty, Connie brings exceptional insight to the complexities of teaching for deep and long-lasting language acquisition.

Connie holds a BA in French from BYU, and an MA in Romance Languages, Literature and Linguistics from University of Washington. She loves the empanadas of her suegra cubana, tiny monkeys and all things Star Wars.

Invite me to your district, school or conference. Great things can happen when we collaborate!

Teacher training & coaching for Rookies, Varsity Teachers & All-Stars

Admin training & coaching on how to evaluate and coach CI teachers

One on one, or groups

ci.coaching.with.connie@gmail.com

How I found CI

After teaching with a textbook for 8 years at Oklahoma State University and Arapahoe Community College, I took a job as at ThunderRidge High School, in Douglas County, Colorado. My teammate told me there were no text books, and that I had to do something I had never heard of, something called "TPRS". With about 30 min of explanation of what that meant, I took the one tattered copy of Blaine Ray's Look I Can Talk and jumped in to what was very probably very bad story telling.

In October of that first year, I served on a district World Language committee that was tasked with setting the end of year writing benchmarks for each level. After much consternation, the committee decided that level 1 students could not be reasonably expected to write 50 words, and the benchmark was set at 25 words. Twenty-five words for the end of the year!! ALL of my level 1 TPRS students could already write 50 words in October: kids with IEPs, kids who were failing all their other classes, kids who sometimes behaved like goofballs in class. This was proof to me, however anecdotal, that grammar instruction does not yield the communicative skills that communicative INPUT does.

Eventually, I did find the textbooks locked in a closet at the school. But after workshops by Susan Gross, a 1 day presentation by Carol Gaab, and lots of trial and error in my classroom, I didn't want textbooks anymore. I got better at delivering quality input lessons. My students got better and better at reading, writing, listening and speaking. I was totally convinced that gestures, repetition, questioning, and involving all students in using the language was the key to student achievement. And READING! Voluntary, pleasure reading!

In the almost 2 decades since I started with TPRS in 2001, the field of teaching using the language instead of teaching about the language has grown and expanded to include so much more. Stories are still a powerful part of the Comprehensible Input classroom. In Denver Public Schools, I have expanded my understanding of the impact of Personalized Question and Answer (PQA), Visual Question and Answer (vQA), Movie Talk, Star of the Week, One Word Image, Comprehensible Culture, Running Dictation, and using any fiction or non-fiction text or song the basis of a unit.

I owe much of my CI development to Diana Noonan, and her stellar work with the talented teachers of DPS.