Darcy is the Founder of Organic World Language (OWL), and began developing the methodology in 2003. Her work is based on second language acquisition research, student motivation, neuroscience and best teaching practices. Focusing on creating a space for second language to be naturally acquired, she believes in placing emphasis on students developing language through movement, social interaction, proficiency, play and an immersive environment. The key element is the importance of building relationships and creating community in the classroom, while putting the student in the center as the curriculum. Darcy received her Bachelors in Spanish and Education from Western Oregon University and her Masters in Spanish Literature from University of Northern Iowa, Tec de Monterrey en Querétaro, México. She taught high school Spanish for 14 years in Oregon, and was an adjunct professor at Southern Oregon University teaching Spanish for two years. In her time at the high school level she worked developing and creating schools. She was part of a Bill Gates grant and later a Coalition of Essential Schools affiliate public school. Since 2011, she has been presenting at national conferences and working with schools, teachers and students to implement OWL values, strategies and techniques internationally. Darcy has been a Keynote or Guest Speaker at COFLT, IATLC, MCTLC, MaFLA, VFLA, BOLT, LSU, GWATFL and WAFLT.
Emma Bricker has been teaching Spanish since the year 2000. Learning the basic essentials of Spanish while traveling in Central America, she fell in love with the language and pursued a degree to allow her to share her passion through teaching. She has taught at the university level, high school and middle school levels, and discovered OWL at an educator’s conference in 2012. The methodology resonated. She leapt at the opportunity to train and learn more, transforming her teaching and enriching her student’s experience with second language acquisition as evidenced by their enthusiasm and engagement with the language, a supporting validation of this teaching methodology. She shares the inspiration of OWL, and its proficiency-based, student-centered methodology at every opportunity.
Tameka Allen has been teaching Spanish for 13 years. She was inspired to be a Spanish teacher by her two great high school teacher who helped her foster a love for the language. During her career, Tameka has taught at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels. Tameka spent years teaching Spanish the traditional way, but she realized her students were not able to use the language proficiently. She was introduced to TPRS in 2014 and Organic World Language in 2015. That very first workshop sparked a new excitement for teaching Spanish and energized Tameka to move her student towards proficiency.
Born in Southern California and raised in South Florida, Tameka learned the importance of learning a 2nd language at an early age. She hopes to instill this concept in the minds of all of the students that she teaches. Tameka also aspires to educate more teachers on the importance of community building and language proficiency at every turn.
Dan Call grew up steeped in the Spanish that his parents spoke, but didn’t actually begin speaking it until he lived abroad in Chile from 1995-1997. As an armchair anthropologist, a vocal advocate for youth cultures, and a rabid collector of Spanish media, he started his career in education was a natural fit and he hasn’t looked back since starting in 2004.
Dan’s initial successes in classroom encouraged him, but upon closer examination he realized that most students in his classroom were not attaining genuine proficiency. The first nine years of his career saw him experimenting with numerous methods and approaches, with only mixed results. He learned about OWL by word of mouth in spring 2013, dabbled in it just enough to get rave reviews from his students, and quickly enrolled in Boot Camp to learn more. Since that time, his students have shown greater levels of proficiency and his advanced classes have experienced record enrollment levels.
Since taking the leap with OWL, Dan has shared his work at several academic and pedagogic conferences. He has also applied OWL with great success in post-secondary classrooms since 2014. OWL has helped Dan connect his students’ learning to their own life interests in a way that keeps them engaged and coming back day after day eager to learn more.
Brooke is an experienced classroom teacher of 17 years, having spent 5 of those years as an OWL teacher. She completed both her undergraduate degree and her M.Ed. with Concordia College in Moorhead, MN in conjunction with the Concordia Language Villages and their immersion-based language programs. Originally from the Dakotas, she now lives and teaches in Mahtomedi, MN. After discovering OWL by pure happenstance at her state conference, she instantly fell in love with the methodology and has been on her OWL journey ever since. She is a fierce believer in proficiency-based language classrooms, after seeing the change in engagement and skills advancement in her students. When not in the classroom, Brooke is an active member in her community, enjoys geocaching with her family, traveling anywhere, a good book, a great meal, theatre and the arts, and the company of good friends.
Kate Friendly-Mares has been teaching at Crater Academy of Health and Public Service for six years. She was part of the original cohort that developed the OWL strategies and techniques. She helped frame the essential questions for research and development and met weekly for over a year as data was collected and lab work was done in classrooms.
Kate’s High Trust Training offers unique and invaluable skills in providing feedback and framing essential questions for teachers to reflect on, while validating and honoring the work they are doing. Her strength is in building a positive and supportive community.
Carolina Lemus-Fabry is a language teacher who has taught both in the United States and Internationally. She has been in the education field for 9 years, as an ESL, Kindergarten and Spanish teacher. Currently, she is the K-2 Instructor in an IB School in Monterey CA, where she also serves as a team leader for the Spanish language program.
Pursuing her passion for inspiring students to love learning another language, Carolina discovered OWL at a workshop in 2015 and immediately recognized the need of applying the methodology in her classroom and the Language Department. She realized that using OWL has changed not only the proficiency level of her students but also has created an innovative, interactive classroom space that makes her K-2 students feel safe and comfortable learning another language. As chair of the ISM Spanish program, she has led her department to make a radical change in the way they teach second language acquisition.
Carolina was born in Guatemala City and grew up learning English as a second language. She was exposed to many different programs, methods and curriculums that indeed helped her learn the basics, but it wasn’t until she was completely immersed in the language that she fully became a successful speaker. As a result of her own experienced learning a second language, she strongly believes that using OWL provides the perfect opportunity for teachers to guide students discover the real use of a second language. Carolina combines her personal experience as a learner and teacher to provide a full immersion instruction in the classroom. She uses strategies that quickly engage students, builds relationships and give students ownership.
With a global mindset, teaching expertise, and energetic personally, Carolina serves as a mentor to encourage teachers to develop new insights into the OWL program and their own pedagogy. She is committed to supporting the teaching community by providing high-quality, innovative ideas and strategies to help new, experienced school leaders and educators understand, support and successfully deliver the OWL program.
Ricardo is an experienced classroom teacher of 18 years, having spent 6 of those years as an OWL teacher. He studied Spanish in high school in a traditional setting, something that he was determined to change when he became a teacher. He also participated in the SOU/Guanajuato student exchange, where he developed his strong connection to the Spanish language and the Mexican culture. Since then, his Spanish language abilities have opened many doors for him, such as salsa dancing, traveling to Puerto Rico, and living in the Dominican barrio in New York City. In Ricardo‘s classroom, music is played throughout the class, creating a festive environment for all students to enjoy. His belief in the value of the OWL method is strong. In May of 2011, with two weeks left in the school year, and the day after discovering how the OWL method works in a classroom environment, he cleared his desks away and did not look back. Since then, his classes, philosophy of teaching and overall attitude towards the learning environment have changed.
Katie Martin is a veteran Spanish teacher who taught from a textbook for 19 years before seeing OWL in action, chucking out the book and the desks in 2013, and never looking back. She is amazed on a daily basis by the abilities of her students. She has taught at Franklin Pierce High School in Tacoma, WA, since 1994. When she is not teaching, she can be found hiking in the mountains, at the beach, or perspiring in her garden with her flock of spoiled chickens.
David (Andy) McDonie has taught French for 10 years in Chillicothe, OH, where he also serves as coordinator for the World Languages department. He discovered OWL at a workshop in 2014 and has been using its methods to drive his students toward proficiency ever since. When not teaching, he enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with his wife and 2 children.
Christopher has taught Spanish for 13 of his 15 years as an educator, with two years as an instructional coach throughout the Miami Valley region of southwest Ohio. After participating in an OWL session at the Ohio Foreign Language Conference in 2014 he was instantly hooked, left with the intense feeling that OWL was the “right work” for his students to be engaged in. Currently, Christopher is teaching at Yellow Springs High School, a Project Based Learning site. Outside of the classroom he enjoys spending his time continuing his studies, gardening, spending time with family, and enjoying the sites of Dayton, Ohio where he resides.