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French Faculty Recognized with TWLTA Awards

Faculty members Becky Peterson and Virginia Scott (emerita) were recently honored by the Tennessee World Language Teachers Association. Professor Scott received a lifetime achievement award, and Becky Peterson won the Jacqueline Elliott prize for outstanding service to language education.

2023 Jacqueline Elliott Award Winner

Becky Peterson is famous throughout the state of Tennessee for her unwavering support of language instructors and programs at all levels. She is always willing to share new ideas and approaches in teaching. Her ability to lead through listening, conversation, and collaboration was demonstrated in 2020 when she served as President of the TWLTA during a public health crisis, and she has been the voice for language teachers on so many public boards and professional societies. For these reasons and more, Prof. Peterson has been selected as the 2023 recipient of the Jacqueline Elliott Award for outstanding service to world language education at the post-secondary level.

Prof. Peterson presently holds a joint appointment in French and Education at Vanderbilt University allowing her to focus on secondary language acquisition, intercultural competence, and world language education. At Vanderbilt she excels in teaching both classes in French, such as “Contemporary France and Francophone Cultures,” and in education, such as “The Ecology of the Classroom.” One of her students praised her classroom in these words: “Dr. Peterson is so kind, inclusive, and understanding. She makes the environment so humanizing and pleasant.” Prior to her career at Vanderbilt, she spent ten years in Metro Nashville Public Schools focusing on urban education. Given these areas of expertise, Prof. Peterson has been called to serve on several state boards, such as the Tennessee Department of Education Standards for World Languages Writing Committee and local organizations, such as the Metro Council of Teacher Educators.

She, moreover, excels as a mentor and colleague. A member of the French faculty at Vanderbilt notes her “unwavering positivity, passion, and enthusiasm” and her important role in guiding graduate students and acting as a liaison between the university and local school districts. A fellow member of the TWLTA Board described Prof. Peterson’s contribution to the association as follows: “Rebecca devoted countless hours to plan and execute the state conference, lead board meetings and organize the work of ensuring quality language programs are thriving in Tennessee. Her work has resulted in meaningful professional development opportunities for educators across the state.” Finally Prof. Peterson herself perhaps best demonstrated that positivity and accomplishment in her closing remarks of her 2020 term as TWLTA President: “Each of you has given me the opportunity to serve as T(W)LTA President in meaningful ways in spite of the challenges we’ve faced. It honestly has been my great pleasure to contribute to the lives of teachers throughout our state.”