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Governor-General To Present International Award


New Zealand Association Of Language Teachers


The Governor-General of New Zealand,
Hon Anand Satyanand, PCNZM, QSO

Governor-General To Present International Languages Award

A Hawkes Bay educator who speaks nine languages is to receive an international award from Governor-General, Hon Anand Satyanand, at the New Zealand Association of Language Teachers’ (NZALT) International Biennial Conference in Wellington.

The 2008 NZALT-FIPLV (Fédération Internationale des Professeurs de Langues Vivantes) Award will be presented to Gail Spence, of Napier, on 7 July at the conference venue, Wellington Girls’ College in Thorndon, Wellington.

FIPLV (World Federation of Modern Language Associations) is a nongovernment organisation in official relations with UNESCO and is the only organisation that brings together teachers of different languages worldwide.

The FIPLV International Award is Federation’s highest distinction and can be awarded to FIPLV members who distinguish or have distinguished themselves by being exceptionally active, innovative, valuable, talented, in one or more fields of language learning and language teaching.

NZALT President Adele Scott says it’s a great honour to have the Governor- General, who is also the Association’s patron, present the award at the conference.

Ms Scott praised Mrs Spence’s abilities as an educator and linguist.

“I have worked with Gail on a number of projects and consider her a mentor.

She has a very astute mind. Her tremendous drive, enthusiasm and energy ensure she carries through her vision for languages with aplomb and success.

She is indeed a worthy recipient of the award."

Ms Scott said Mrs Spence had learnt nine languages and taught most of them.

“She has learned nine languages and taught most of them. She has taught students through to the final year of high school, has been a teacher educator working in the pre-service teacher education sector, has been a Languages Advisor to schools including the National Co-ordinator for the Languages Advisory Services. In this last role she was directly influencing the teaching and learning of languages in New Zealand from 1998 until her appointment at the Ministry of Education, New Zealand in 2001. Since 2007 Gail has been a full-time educational consultant at Te Kauri Research Ltd."

The citation for the award reads:

Gail Spence has been called the Mrs Languages of New Zealand. She is the ultimate linguist, being fluent in French and German, with an enviable knowledge of Spanish, Japanese, Italian, Te Reo Māori and Chinese. She has also studied Latin and Classical Studies.

NZALT has benefited immensely from Gail’s wisdom, leadership by example and vision for languages in New Zealand. She has held the offices of Regional Officer for Massey, Conference Convenor, Junior and Senior Vice President and National President for 1996-98 and again in 2000-01. It is thanks to Gail that NZALT became a political force as she lobbied the Ministry of Education and was effectively able to bring about change. The recent development of Learning Languages as a new learning area in the New Zealand Curriculum (launched on November 6, 2007) owes a lot to Gail’s expertise and energy.


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