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Students take part in National Council of Teachers meeting

Posing at the National Council of Teachers of English convention are, from left, seated West Liberty University students Hunter Norris and Charles Henry, and standing, from left, Siara Deem, Steve Criniti and Emily Heath.

WEST LIBERTY — Students had a chance to experience life as an English teacher recently as they attended the National Council of Teachers of English in Baltimore, Md.

Professor Steve Criniti coordinated and escorted the students to the annual convention that teachers attend to improve and update their skills.

“I was pleased to take four English education students with me so they could get a taste of an educator’s professional development opportunity. I wanted the students, who are preparing to become teachers, to get a sense of what true, engaged pedagogy can be,” he explained, adding that “the sessions at the convention are largely geared toward enhancing the teaching of English, writing, and literacy at all levels (elementary, secondary, and beyond).”

The convention center was filled with dedicated English teachers from around the country who were actively attempting to investigate their own practices and become even better teachers for their students moving forward.

“I’m grateful that my students were given a chance to see such professional development and teacher engagement in action as they prepare to embark on their own future teaching careers,” he said.

Students who attended were: junior Siara Deem of Williamstown, W.Va. sophomore Emily Heath of St. Clairsville, senior Charles Henry of Irondale and senior Hunter Norris, Moundsville. The theme for this year’s convention was “Spirited Inquiry.” Keynote speakers included Star Trek actor George Takei, author and Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Newbury Award-winning author Meg Medina, among others.

“Another feature of the annual event is the chance to visit the Exhibit Hall that is filled with booth after booth of academic publishers sharing the latest books, curricula and teaching resources. Many of the resources are given away,” he said.

“Some of the publishers also bring their award-winning authors to their booths for book signings. Therefore, our students were also able to meet and get books signed by some of their favorite authors such as Laurie Halse Anderson, John Green and Tommy Orange.”

A part of the College of Liberal Arts, the Department of English and Modern Languages offers four majors and seven minors in a variety of areas of study, including English Education, French, literature, Spanish, TESL, and writing.