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Success is not foreign to language instructor Teacher: The easygoing style and classroom accomplishments of Dumbarton Middle School's David R. Williams have brought him national recognition.

David R. Williams is known around Dumbarton Middle School for nightly homework assignments, pizza parties and merit awards paid off with ice cream.

Yesterday, the Spanish and French teacher achieved a wider measure of fame. He might not be going to Disney World, but he's going to the Disney Channel -- selected as one of 60 outstanding teachers across the nation.

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As he drilled a seventh-grade French class on verbs, a television cameraman swerved around the room on a cart, recording Williams' easygoing, fun-to-learn style.

"My slogan is, 'It pays to learn a foreign language with Mr. Williams,' " he said of his pledge to treat students with ice cream from the school cafeteria. "My philosophy is that every child can learn and every young person has potential."

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That outlook won Williams a slot as an honoree in the annual series on outstanding teachers, with each of the 60 to be profiled during weekly five-minute, prime-time segments on the cable channel beginning in December. The segment on Williams is expected to air in fall 1997.

Williams, 44, also is eligible to become teacher of the year in the competition sponsored by Disney and McDonald's.

Williams said he believes he was selected as an outstanding teacher because of his strong belief in learning and his optimistic philosophy toward students.

He becomes a master of ceremonies for learning in his classes at the Rodgers Forge school, favoring friendly, flowing dialogue in his teaching -- a style that students say makes learning fun.

"I'm like a good coach on the sidelines. I'm here to help students with their goals," he said. Williams said he did not begin to study foreign languages until he was attending what is now Morgan State University after his 1969 graduation from Perry Hall High School. Since graduating from Morgan, he has received two Fulbright scholarships to study abroad and sharpen his teaching skills.

"He goes beyond the normal teacher. He participates in class," said Conor McGill, an eighth-grader studying Spanish. "I am learning because he's so much fun. He wants us to learn. He laughs and has fun with us."

"He's magical. All of his enthusiasm and interests come from within," Dumbarton Principal Lynn Hoffman said. "He is totally dedicated to children and to helping them learn."

Pub Date: 5/17/96



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