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2020 Texas Foreign Language Teaching Excellence Awards

2020 TX Foreign Language Teaching Excellence Awards Announced!

The Texas Language Center is delighted to announce Smyth Johansson and Victor Garre León as the winners of the 2020 Foreign Language Teaching Excellence 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 instructors, which are then reviewed by members of the TLC Advisory Committee. Ms. Johansson and Mr. Garre León were selected from over 130 nominations in 20 different languages.

Smyth Johansson

Ms. Johansson is a Swedish Language and ESL Lecturer in the Department of Germanic Studies. She obtained her M.A from UT Austin and her interests include Scandinavian Studies, Language Pedagogy, and Second Language Acquisition. In her teaching, she is especially interested in mind, brain, and education research, and how it translates into instructional design.

In their enthusiastic nominations, the Smyth’s students cited her encouragement, her engaging and entertaining classroom activities, her passion for Swedish language and culture, and her unfailing dedication to her students as elements that make her an outstanding teacher who leaves a strong impact on participants in her classes.

Mr. Garre León is a Ph.D. student in the Hispanic Linguistics Program with interests in second language acquisition, pragmatics in native and non-native talk, interactional sociolinguistics, heritage language learners, and language pedagogy. Before embarking on his PhD, Mr. Garre León received a Master's degree in Hispanic Studies from West Virginia University (2015) and a Master's degree in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language from the Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo-Instituto Cervantes (2016), and worked as a Lecturer in Spanish language at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Victor Garre Leon

Mr. Garre León’s class commended his encouraging and engaging classroom environment, his tireless commitment to his students’ learning needs outside the classroom, and the rapid progress they make in communicating in Spanish. Many of his students noted that they had been inspired to continue their Spanish linguistic and cultural education through study abroad programs thanks to Mr Garre León’s instruction.

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

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.