2016 TX Foreign Language Teaching Excellence Awards Announced!

Mon, April 11, 2016
2016 TX Foreign Language Teaching Excellence Awards Announced!
TLC Director Tom Garza presenting the 2016 FLTE awards.

The Texas Language Center is delighted to announce David Simmons and Alexander Lorenz as the winners of the 2016 TFLTE Award.

Each year the TLC awards two foreign language educators—one UT faculty member and one graduate student Assistant Instructor—with a plaque and monetary prize, recognizing them for their superior knowledge of and enthusiasm for teaching language and culture.

The process of selecting a winner begins with student nominations of their professors, which are then reviewed by members of the TLC Advisory Committee. Mr. Simmons and Mr. Lorenz were selected from over 70 nominations in 14 different languages.

Richard Meier, Chair of the Department of Linguistics; Tom Garza, Director of the Texas Language Center; 2016 faculty winner of the Foreign Language Teaching Excellence award, David Simmons; Dean Esther Raizen; and David Quinto-Pozos, ASL Program Director.

David Simmons is an American Sign Language lecturer in the Department of Linguistics. He hails from South Africa and immigrated to the US in 1992. David studied web and graphic design, video, and photography. He obtained his Baccalaureate in Digital Media Design and Masters in Sign Language Education from Gallaudet University, the world's first and only Liberal Arts University of the Deaf. 

The students in his American Sign Language classes cited his humor, kindness, and caring as invaluable assets to his teaching. Beyond just language teaching, Mr. Simmons teaches his students about Deaf culture, so that as ASL users can connect with the deaf community. Learning that language is more than communication is an essential component of Mr. Simmons teaching.

Alexander Lorenz and class.

Alexander is a PhD student in Germanic Studies with an interest in Second Language Acquisition. He holds a BA in Education from Delta State University and an MA in Germanic Studies and TESOL from the University of Mississippi. His current research focuses on the effectiveness of inductive grammar instruction in collaborative online learning environments. Areas of broader interests include Curriculum Development, Multilingualism, and Language Contact & Variation. Alexander is a member of a team of scholars working on the Texas German Dialect Project.

Alexander's students commented on ability to utilize his knowledge of the German language and culture to teach in an effective and interesting way that is fun for students. They also highlighted the strong sense of community that he creates for his students, which makes the classroom a safe learning space for students of all levels.

Both of recipients exhibit exceptional achievement in language education with innovative teaching methods and, in doing so, have translated a passion for language and culture to their students.

The TLC is pleased to continue its tradition of recognizing extraordinary foreign language instruction by honoring these two amazing educators. These awards would not be possible without the support of the College of Liberal Arts, with special thanks to Dean Flores and Dean Raizen for acknowledging the importance of languages at UT-Austin. 

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