How We Came to Be
The OWL Community was born when Tess Seimer, a fellow outstanding colleague of OWL Founder Darcy Rogers, approached Darcy with a comparison of her and Rogers’ student’s language proficiency scores. Darcy’s students had scored higher on the oral OPI and written proficiency tests that year – and Tess wanted to find out why. It was out of this admirable interaction that a group of teachers proposed an action research project to see how Darcy’s unique approach could be transferred to other classrooms. This progressive cohort began implementing Darcy’s strategies and techniques, piece-by-piece in their own classrooms. The group was dubbed “Organic Language Acquisition” or “OLA”.
OLA began presenting at conferences across the nation in 2009. As more educators across the globe learned about the new approach to language teaching, an international community was born. Teachers began sharing how the techniques and strategies were working for them, and how their students were happier, and more engaged and involved than ever before. Mid-way through the 2012-2013 school year, due to the demand from second language educators to learn more, Darcy left the classroom after 14 years of teaching. She began to work full time with schools and districts as a second – language – education consultant. Along with her, two spirited teachers, Caleb Zilmer and Annie Tyner, joined Darcy on The Leadership Team to help further develop the methodology and explore ways to meet the needs of the growing community. During this period, OLA proudly became “Organic World Language” or “OWL”.
There are several teachers and schools across the nation who dove into implementation after seeing OWL at conferences early on and who have been there for every step of the way. We would like to especially recognize these outstanding implementers in our ‘Exemplar Sites and Teachers’ section.