Saturday, April 25, 2015

Student Reflection

by Annette Popernik

La Mirada

Siendo ya casi el fin del año escolar, habrá unos cambios en La Línea. Nuestro “intern” se está graduando y tendremos uno nuevo para el verano. Entre este y otros cambios, el equipo ejecutivo decidió que queremos dejar las cosas listas y preparadas para los nuevos voluntarios y el nuevo equipo. Reflejamos que típicamente nos llegan menos llamadas en el verano pero aun ahorita en la primavera, no han habido muchas llamadas. Pensé en hacer más llamadas a otras agencias en la comunidad, como antes había hecho. La desventaja de hacer esto sería que posiblemente nos llegarían demasiadas llamadas o al contrario, muy pocas llamadas ya que no se sabe cuanto Hispano asiste a cada agencia. Me puse a pensar en otros lugares donde podríamos encontrar a muchos Hispanos. En cuanto cambie la mirada, o sea la forma de ver la situación, me llegó una muy buena idea.

Me acordé que la iglesia de St. Mary’s tiene un ministerio Hispano. Pensé que hay tantos Hispanos en el área de Champaign y Urbana que deben de estar dispersados entre muchas iglesias. La fe es muy importante en la cultura Hispana, especialmente la cultura Mexicana. Esto lo se por mi propia experiencia trabajando con los Hispanos y por ser Mexicana mi misma. Hicimos una lista de iglesias que sabemos que tienen o un ministerio Hispano o muchos Hispanos que asisten a ciertas misas. Entre esas iglesias incluimos St. Mary’s, Stone Creek, Windsor Road Christian Church, Vineyard Christian Church y St. Matthew’s. Hablamos del hecho que tendríamos que ser muy cuidadosos en como pedirles a las iglesias que nos dejen dejar nuestra información en forma de folleto. Estando cerca de una universidad, muchos piden hacer estudios con los miembros de las iglesias. Les informamos a los voluntarios que iban a hacer las llamadas pero que tendrían que enfatizar que no estamos pidiendo nada de los miembros de la iglesia sino estamos para servirles a ellos. Somos un recurso para los Hispanos y los inmigrantes en la comunidad de Champaign y Urbana.

Últimamente, decidimos también llamar a la escuela de Garden Hills que es una primaria con un programa bilingüe. Muchos de los estudiantes hablan español y son hijos de inmigrantes. Pensamos que sería beneficial para ellos que tuvieran nuestra información para que si ellos no pudieran ayudarles a los padres o a los hijos, podrían darles nuestra información para que nosotros podremos ayudar. Han de haber muchas formas en que podemos ayudarles a los padres de los niños en la primaria entre encontrar las clases de inglés, DAPA para ellos y DACA para sus hijos, servicios legales entre otras cosas. Afortunadamente, muchas de las iglesias han contestado positivamente y seguimos en contacto con otras. Esperemos que este iniciativo resulte en muchos clientes. Hemos avanzado en muchas maneras y esto nos abrirá la puerta para servir a más clientes.  El futuro traerá muchas oportunidades para La Línea.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Resume Writing Tips

by Ann Abbott

Recently I was asked by a parent to give some advice on a student's draft of his resume. This person's child will graduate from college in May and look for a job, probably in sales. (That is a common first job.)

Although I'm not sharing the entire resume here, I still think that my comments can be helpful to anyone. And for the record, I always recommend Darcy Lear's services. They are very reasonably priced (it's a true investment), and the people she works with have great success.

Here's my message:

Show, don't tell

He needs verbs in his bullet points with real specific information. People are more interested in accomplishments than tasks. 


Can he add numbers/data to his bullet points to give a more precise idea of what he accomplished?


He should do a search for qualities that employers seek in sales people. Off the top of my head I would imagine: willing to travel, not afraid to make cold calls, proactive, excellent record-keeping and organization. Those should be highlighted prominently. And, yes, if he applies for different types of jobs he needs to have slightly different resumes. It's a lot of work... 


Change the bullet point that currently says "Designer profiles series/blog" to something like: 
"Contributed ten blog posts of designer profiles in one month. Cold called twenty prominent designers (50% acceptance; 10% Spanish-speakers), conducted telephone interviews, drafted posts, submitted to team for editing and posted final versions in WordPress on or before deadline."


Most of the skills should be eliminated by incorporating them into the "show, don't tell" bullet points.
I hope this is helpful. Definitely, Darcy can do a good job. I'm pretty amazed at the success rate for the people she works with. I just wish more of my students would invest in it--and it doesn't even cost that much.

Anyway, good luck! Resume writing takes more work than many people realize.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Service Learning as Underdog within Departments

by Ann Abbott

I received a message from a colleague at another university who has run into resistance toward community service learning (CSL) from faculty because they say the word "service" implies that students are doing religious "mission" work.

This is what I replied to my colleague: 
Oh, [Name]. It's so discouraging to always have to be explaining ourselves and proving ourselves. And it's usually to people for whom no amount of explaining would ever be enough anyway.

I've never, ever heard that particular confusion. But I have heard a lot of people say that it makes us look like a "service" department.

You can tell them that there is a journal called Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning and that there are many books and research articles published about "service learning." If they are unfamiliar with the term, they can see that it is a commonly accepted term in research venues as well as in umbrella organizations of higher education (like the AACU, Carnegie, etc.). 
But don’t waste too much of your time on those people, amiga mía. Just keep doing your good work. :)
This is total BS. (Sorry, but I don't know what other term to use.) Just because a faculty member isn't aware of a field of scholarly work doesn't mean that field doesn't exist.

Did the Americas only exist once Columbus "found" them?


This is resistance. This is power. This fear in the face of pedagogies and research areas that threaten the status quo in language departments.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Careers in Study Abroad: Advice from a Pro

by Ann Abbott

Study abroad programs are always looking for talent.

Our talented students (grad and undergrad) are passionate about languages and cultures and jobs that draw upon that passion.

I'm excited to hear what my friend Dr. Joan Solaún has to say.

Please join us!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Student Reflection

By Annette Popernik

¿Y ahora qué?

Desde agosto de 2014, La Línea ha crecido y avanzado más de lo pensado. Tenemos un equipo más grande. Hemos tenido orientaciones y talleres para mejorar nuestras habilidades. Nuestra página de Facebook se ha desarrollado mucho. Hemos mandado nuestra información a diferentes agencias en la comunidad para poder mejor asistir a nuestros clientes. ¿Y ahora que? Mi plan personal para desarrollar a La Línea este semestre era involucrarnos más en la comunidad y esto ya lo hemos hecho. Pero decidimos tomar otro paso que tiene dos implicaciones: involucrarnos más en la comunidad universitaria y ganar dinero para tener un fondo para nuestros clientes.

El evento todavía se está preparando. Hay mucho que hacer antes de que llegue el 30 de abril. Somos una agencia sin fines de lucro, pero el dinero que ganaremos en nuestro evento será dinero de emergencia. Típicamente, nos llegan llamadas muy diversas. A veces, nos llaman sobre dónde encontrar clases de inglés. Pero a veces es más grave y los clientes no siempre tienen suficiente dinero. Nuestro dinero de emergencia será para los clientes que tienen una emergencia y necesitan ayuda financiera. ¿Qué será el evento? Venderemos “walking tacos” afuera del YMCA en el campus. El YMCA no solo es donde está la oficina de La Línea, pero también es un lugar central del campus donde muchos estudiantes pasan y muchos pasan con hambre. Al aprender de la idea, no me gustó. “Walking tacos” son hechos de Doritos o Fritos con carne, lechuga, etc. Me parecen poco auténticos de la comida hispana pero queremos representar la cultura hispana. Sin embargo, los estudiantes conocen este tipo de comida y les gusta. Sugerí también vender dulces mexicanos, ya que son auténticos. Así, podremos vender lo que a los clientes (los estudiantes) les gusta para también algo nuevo y auténtico que también podrán probar. Esperemos que este evento tenga éxito pero más que nada, demuestra nuestra dedicación a la comunidad y como La Línea se ha desarrollada en una agencia muy activa en el campus y la comunidad de Champaign-Urbana.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Spanish in Health Professions: A Talk by Prof. Glenn Martínez

by Ann Abbott

I'm looking forward to Glenn's talk! (See one student's reflection on the talk below.)

Thursday April 16 - Glenn A. Martínez (Ohio State). "From valuable to vulnerable: Heritage language health professionals and the ecology of language in health care along the U.S.-Mexico border" - Co-Sponsored by the Center for Advanced Studies and CLACS (US Title VI Grant).  4-5 PM Lucy Ellis Lounge (FLB 1080)
Language barriers in health care have attracted the attention of researchers, practitioners and policy makers over the past 15 years. In response to the growing and incontestable negative consequences of language discordance in health care encounters, policy makers have proposed two immediate solutions: the use of professional medical interpreters and the use of bilingual health professionals. Very little thought was given to the language ecologies that could emerge in the simultaneous deployment of both professional interpreters and bilingual health professionals. While the use of professional interpreters has developed significantly over the past decade including the formation and strengthening of national organizations, the development of national certification, and the commercialization of services, the use of bilingual health professionals has remained largely unchanged. In this paper, I present a phenomenological analysis of heritage language health professionals (HLHP) in hospitals along the U.S.-Mexico border. Through in-depth interviews and personal reflections, I demonstrate how the language ecology of health care has become hostile to the HLHP. I argue that the growth of the professional interpreter industry has generated structural vulnerabilities that submit HL language practices to ongoing processes of surveillance and discipline. Further, I argue that these processes considerably restrict the ability of HLHP to serve Spanish-speaking populations. I conclude by arguing for the need for greater collaboration between health organizations and universities in developing recognized heritage language programs for future health professionals.

Bridget Chaput's reflection

Me encantó la charla de Glenn Martínez. Fue muy interesante aprender cómo el español se relaciona con los profesiones de la salud. Uno de los temas que él mencionó fue la explotación de las enfermeras bilingües. Yo nunca pensé que el bilingüismo podría ser una cosa mala, pero estas enfermeras que pueden comunicar en las dos lenguas hacen más trabajo, y no reciben más dinero. De hecho, a veces estas enfermeras necesitan dejar sus pacientes para ayudar otros.

Otra cosa que Glenn Martínez explicó es el uso del teléfono Cyracom, un teléfono para la interpretación. Nunca he oído sobre el teléfono Cyracom, y pienso que los pacientes quieren una persona allí que pueden explicar la información. Una llamada por el teléfono no es muy personal. 

Esta charla conecta con mi experiencia en la comunidad latina. Es cierto que la gente se siente más cómoda cuando una persona puede hablar en su lengua nativa. Yo pienso que cuando dos personas hablan la misma lengua, hay un sentido de confianza en la relación. Por ejemplo, el otro día, yo fui al restaurante mexicano El Charro para pedir si puede tener un recaudador de fundos. Cuando el empleado vio que soy blanca, creo que él pensó que yo no puedo hablar español y él no pareció interesar. Sin embargo, cuando yo le dije que el recaudador de fondos es para La Línea, él estaba muy contento y dijo que estaba familiarizado con la organización. Estábamos conectados porque ambos pueden hablar español, y queremos ayudar a la gente que habla español. Este caso se relaciona con la charla, porque muestre cómo la lengua puede conectar a las personas. 

Finalmente, me gustó aprender sobre los diferentes profesiones y cómo se conecta con el español. Además, estoy trabajando en un certificado de los estudios de traducción, y él dijo que el mundo va a necesitar muchos intérpretes médicos en los próximos años. ¡Es algo para pensar! 

Why Do I Blog?: Guest post for Network of Business Language Educators

Click to read my post at the NOBLE website.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Live and Work in Colombia

by Ann Abbott

Read the message below from my student Annissa.

See this post about Kelly Klus, my former student who is living and working in Baranquilla, Colombia this year.

Read this post with teaching ideas I put together for anyone who is teaching a second language but wasn't trained in that.

To learn more about the program please visit: 
To highlight a few points however:
  • Teachers will work 40 hours weekly - 15 hours in preparation and 25 hours teaching.
  • The first 15 days of the program will be spent in Bogota during which time housing is covered.
  • After this period, teachers will travel to their assigned cities and 1 month of housing will be covered there for them. The transportation to this city is also covered.
  • This program will also cover the cost of the visa required to participate.
In addition, this is a very cost effective program as the administration fees only cost $600 after being accepted. Students must buy there own air fare, travel insurances, visas, etc as mandated by the country and the University. 
If you know anyone who is interested they need to: 
1. Send to their CV and a video of maximum 2 minutes telling why they wanna go to Colombia to teach english and their prefered times and days to have a 30 minutes skype chat.
2. Cesar will contact the EPs directly to arrange the interview and confirm their application.
3. Every Monday and friday he sends the application packages of the EPs to the TN taker, from that moment, the TN Taker(Heart For Change) will contact the EP through email to arrange a second interview, the faster the EP schedules the interview the faster the decision regarding his application will be made.
4. The TN Taker will notify Cesar if the EP gets accepted, rejected or if they need a third interview, in any of those cases i will notify the EP directly of the decision and simultaneously the TN Taker will send the EP an email requesting a third interview.
5. If an EP gets accepted i will send an email confirming the decision and placement and explain the next steps.
Many Thanks,

Spanish AND Portuguese in Community Service Learning

by Ann Abbott

So many of my students would love to be bilingual. That's their goal, and that's what they spend years working toward.

But why stop there?

I speak Spanish and Italian. I have studied Catalan, and I can understand a lot of Bergamasco (the dialect spoken in the area of Northern Italy where my husband is from).

You can speak more than two languages.

I work in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. It makes a lot of sense to learn both of these languages.

And one of my students this semester is doing just that. Ken Kleisner is taking Portuguese classes here, and he plans to study abroad in Brazil this summer. Here's what he said about using Portuguese in our Spanish CSL course:
One of the most important things I have learned about the success of social entrepreneurship is that you absolutely must know your client and audience.  This has been directly applied through my time at the Refugee Center, where I have learned a lot about the struggles that some of the immigrants in Illinois go through, with origins ranging from Latin America to the Middle East and Northern Africa to all facets of Asia.  I have been able to not only use my Spanish in translating for some of these immigrants and refugees, but even my Portuguese, which has been equally as rewarding for me!  Now when the directors at ECIRMAC have an Angolan refugee or are in need of any Portuguese speakers, my name is the first they think of.  This is rewarding enough as it is, let alone actually learning the extremely tragic stories of these refugees, and actually being able to play a role in aiding them in becoming political refugees.  Even being able to be exposed to another type of Portuguese has been incredibly interesting, as the dialect I mostly study is Brazilian.

Ken was even so kind as to offer his email for any student who would like to talk to him about picking up Portuguese while studying Spanish, too.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Kat Kolomban's Thesis: Parent and Teacher Perspectives on Congolese Students in the American Education System

Kat Kolumban and her thesis advisor, Prof. Irene Koshik
by Ann Abbott

Every semester I have one or more students who write such elegant reflective essays that I just sit back, read and enjoy their ideas and the prose with which they express them.

This semester I had that same experience with a Master's thesis from Kathleeen Kolumban for the Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language. The thesis was titled "Parent and Teacher Perspectives on Congolese Students in the American Education System. I read her 112-page thesis while I was traveling early this semester, and it was like reading a novel! I kept scrolling down the screen to see what was next, what cultural practice she would describe next, what implication for practice she suggested next, what was the next piece in the puzzle of Congolese students, their parents and their ESL teachers in Champaign-Urbana. And her writing was so clear that I was able to just focus on the ideas. Brava, Kat!

I won't describe Kat's work here except to say that she interviewed Congolese parents and ESL teachers who have Congolese students in their classes in the Champaign, Illinois school district. 

I will, though, share a few of my comments. 

Writing Style

Kat's clear, clean, compelling writing style is a real gift. I hope that she realizes that she is a good writer and treats that as a gift. That means that she should write, write and write! 

Things I will reflect upon

There was a lot of wonderful, important information throughout the thesis. However, I noted two things in particular that I want to think more about and act upon if possible:
  1. There appears to be "language rivalry" among the non-English speaking families. That is, Spanish-speaking families and students appear to have more resources which then gives them more chances for success. While on the one hand those Spanish-language resources were hard-fought and well-deserved, those solutions can turn out to also be problems if they set up language communities to feel resentful and create conflict. (This parallels the "Spanish problem" in language departments, where other languages feel that the size of Spanish programs hurts their enrollments and programming.)
  2. If this is the situation in Champaign, imagine what it is like in smaller, more rural towns in East Central Illinois new-growth communities? Worse! What happens in Rantoul? Arcola? In Effingham? In Robinson? They need this kind of information and training, even if it is not specfically about Congolese families and students.
  3. In describing the confusion that Congolese parents feel about "levels" and choosing classes (instead of following a pre-determined path that is the same for everyone on that same path), Kat mentioned that not knowing about these things can end up hurting students' chances to go to college. It would be good to identify a series of those "high-stakes choices" and frame them in a timeline for parents.


In describing cultural differences, Kat's thesis noted the importance of orality and oral storytelling in Congolese culture. My comment was that in the thesis, this was pointed out as "problem" to be solved by letting the Congolese parents know the expectations for written work so that they could better help their children succeed in school. I pointed out one of my mantras:
"We shouldn't just learn about other cultures; we should learn from them."
In other words, what is good about orality? What benefits does it have? How could "mainstream" students benefit from increased orality?

Now what?

The typical last section in an academic research project includes implications for future research and/or implications for practice. However, in an engaged research project like Kat's, we can think more broadly about the last step in the critical reflection process (What? So what? Now what?) I'd love for Kat to think about how her wonderful insights and information can be transformed into useful information for a variety of audiences and in a variety of formats. What about some of the following?
  1. An infographic about the local Congolese community to present to the mayor, board, and school board, simply to raise awareness?
  2. A visit to our local public access television and radio show about immigration.
  3. A guest lecture in a U of Illinois course.
  4. Etc.
With so much wonderful information to share, I am excited to see what Kat will do next. Congratulations on your work!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

YouTube Video Edits as Reflection/Assessment for Spanish Community Service Learning

by Ann Abbott

I try to make my reflections and tests be learning opportunities. That is, I don't just want to know what students know, I want them to learn something new through the process of taking my test or writing a reflective essay.

What's even better than that? When the product of their reflection/exam can actually be used for an authentic purpose in the community. To meet an authentic, community-identified need.

I was emailing with Ricardo Diaz this week about the interview that Allison Gattari and I did on public access radio and television. (I was letting Ricardo know how much I enjoyed the conversation and felt that we had just scratched the surface.) When he gave me the link to the CU Immigration TV YouTube channel and I looked at the page again, it dawned on me:

My students could provide editing for the videos that would increase their value for the channel. Ricardo agreed, and so my "Spanish in the Community" and "Spanish & Social Entrepreneurship" students will do the following:
  1. Watch two videos. (I will assign specific videos to each student to avoid overlap.)
  2. For each video, write a detailed summary to be used in the "description" field for the video. Do this in both English and Spanish.
  3. For each video, choose relevant tags. Again: English and Spanish. Before you choose tags, read these tips about choosing relevant tags.
  4. Then write a 400-word reflective essay in Spanish
    • ¿Qué? What were the videos about? Describe them.
    • ¿Y qué? Connect the information in the videos to what you have observed during your work in the community.
    • ¿Ahora qué? Based on your own experiences in the community, what other kinds of YouTube videos do you think would be most helpful to the local Latino immigrant community? Why? Why do you think adding this information to the videos is important?
Not only will this exam (or reflective essay, I have to decide) allow them to learn more about Spanish-speaking immigrants, immigration policies and immigration reform advocacy, they will also develop digital literacy skills. Few students know about metadata or SEO. I hope they'll be able to take that knowledge and experience to the job market with them.

Toolkits for Service Learning and for Community Engaged Scholarship

by Ann Abbott

Last semester I visited University of South Florida and enjoyed getting to know the wonderful group of people who works at their Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships

I follow their Facebook Page, and I was very excited to see a recent post referencing their Toolkit for Community Engaged Scholarship. They also offer an excellent Service Learning Toolkit, Bibliography, and many other pieces of information that can spark your creativity or answer your questions.

Click, read, and use this great information to update your course or create one from scratch. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Spanish Community Service Learning: How to Pull Your Students Back in after a Long Break

by Ann Abbott

Spring break seemed to arrive late this year. So yesterday was the first class I had with my students after the break. It felt like we hadn't seen each other in a long time, so I wanted to get down to basics with them again--rev up their Spanish after some time away, remind them how to actually be helpful in their work in the community and bring them back to Champaign-Urbana and our local Latino community.

For my Spanish in the Community class, we did the following:

Transition back to Spanish

I put them in pairs and told them to talk about their spring break for five minutes without stopping.


I wrote on the board "Igual a ___, ____" and "A diferencia de ___, ___". 

I asked one person to report on something interesting about their partner's spring break. The next person I called on had to start their sentence about their partner's spring break with one of the two phrases above. Example: "A diferencia de Clarissa [the previous person's partner], Corey [their partner] hizo un viaje dentro de EEUU." This meant that they had to listen to what the other people were saying so that they could use it as a connector. The students did a great job making connections, listening to each other, and speaking in Spanish.

Transition back to Spanish in our local community.

I told them that I was going to read them some messages, and they had to take down the information onto a pink telephone message pad. (This is something I do frequently and have blogged about several times already.) I told them that the first message contained a lot of infomration. Too much information! So they needed to go through the following steps:
  1. Escuchar y entender.
  2. Aclarar. (Hacer preguntas específicas para tener un recado correcto.)
  3. Evaluar la información y prioritizarla. There are two kinds of information you absolutely need in your message so that it is useful to the person who receives it.
    • Action items.
    • Sufficient context.

Message #1

Like I always say, this seems easy...until you actually have to do it. I read them the following message from a Facebook group that I belong to: 

"IMPORTANTE: Algunas personas han recibido llamadas de un area (855) diciendoles que tienen una demanda por un prestamo que no han pagado, por un cheque que escribieron sin fondos, porque le deben al IRS (Oficina recaudadora de impuestos), por que le van a cortar la luz sino hace un deposito o por varias otras razones. TODO esto es un FRAUDE, NO se dejen convencer o intimidar por esta gente y no den iformacion personal. Esta gente fraudulenta esta tratando de usar muchas formas para abusar de los demas. Si reciben llamadas de numeros desconocido lo mejor sera no contestar. Desafortunadamente no se puede levantar una demanda con la policia si no hay perdidas materiales. Hay que tener cuidado con estos ladrones!"


Would you know how to put that together in a coherent, clear way on a small pink message pad? 
Would you know what information is imprescindible and what information is prescindible
Would you know what information you can summarize in your own words and what information should be taken down word by word? 
The students asked me questions to clarify what was going on--and they asked excellent questions that got at precisely the information that they needed to be repeated or clarified. However, a couple of students did this, not all. Knowing what questions to ask is so important!


I put the students in pairs and they compared and contrasted their messages. Then we talked about how they made their decisions. They did a great job, but it's something that they all need to continue working on. 

Message #2

I passed out more pink message slips, and I told them that this message was different than the first. It had a lot of detailed information that needed to be written very precisely--error free--by them. And I read this:

"¿Egg hunt en el agua? Sábado 4 de abril en el centro acuático de Urbana. Para niños de 2 a 10 años únicamente. Se requiere registro previo. El costo puede ser de $6 - $8 depende del lugar donde vivan e incluye el pase por ese día para usar la alberca. Pueden registrarse en el numero 217.367.1544 o en el Phillips Recreación Center. 
Horario (muy importante llegar a tiempo) : 
2-3 años --10:00am
4-5 años -- 10:30am
6-8 años -- 11:00am
9-10 años -- 11:30am"


Again, they had to ask me very precise questions (not just "repita, por favor") to ensure they had the information down correctly. As usual, the numbers were the most difficult thing for them to understand and write down correctly.


I put the students in different pairs and they compared and contrasted their messages. 

More messages

We did the same thing with the next two messages: 

"West Side Park
Para niños de 2 a 10 años únicamente el sábado 4 de abril. No se requiere registro previo pero es muy importante que lleguen con bastante tiempo de anticipación porque generalmente hay problemas de estacionamiento. Paseos gratuitos en carretas con paja entre las 10 y las 10:45 am.
El egg hunt comienza a las 11 am en punto. 
West Side Park – 400 W. University, Champaign."

"CU Recreation (organización que provee programas recreativos y servicios a personas con habilidades diferentes) esta llevando a cabo también un egg hunt.
Domingo 29 de marzo a las 3 pm en Eisner Park – 1311 W. Church Champaign 
Niños de 2 a 10 años únicamente
Registro : Hays Recreation Center, 1311 W. Church St. en Champaign.
Código del programa (para registro) 415554-A1."


Finally, I told students that we had just practiced listening for details and focusing on individual messages and pieces of information. Now I put them into new pairs and asked them to change their perspective on the messages, to look up and see a bigger picture: what do these messages tell you about our local Latino community? 

Students came up with good ideas:
  • They have a way of communicating and informing each other about events.
  • They like to participate in fun activities just like everyone else.
  • Our community can be more inclusive if everyone is informed about events in a language they understand.
  • Still, this is a vulnerable community, and they can be easily preyed upon because of their precarious situations.
It was wonderful to be back with my students. And it was wonderful to see them so active, engaged and participatory in this lesson plan that required them to push their language skills forward and learn more about our Spanish-speaking community.

Feel free to try this or a variation of it with your students. Let me know how it goes! And please share with me your lesson plan ideas that get students back into the groove of things after a long break.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

CU Immigration TV: Public Access Radio and Television for Community Service Learning

by Ann Abbott

When you think of your students doing oral presentations, do you automatically assume that you'll have them prepare PowerPoint slides about a topic, stand at the front of the class, give the presentation to you and the classmates, then maybe quiz them on the content?

You don't have to do it that way, you know.

As I've written here many times before, it's popular to talk about using authentic language and authentic resources in the language classroom. I'm all for that, too. But I'm also very interested in some things that I don't hear people talk about:

  • Authentic purpose. Giving our students something to do in our courses that is not just a learning exercise, a hoop to jump through. (Which is not to say that our students aren't learning a lot when they do these academic exercises for the purpose of getting a grade. Yes, they do. But they could learn more. Learn differently.) So, for example, one semester my student's final exam was to create five "pins" on our Pinterest board so that they could provide relevant information to next semester's students. To give them a kind of "leg up" on what they needed to know to succeed in the course. Yes, they were graded on their pins. But they were also creating the pins so that they could help next semester's students.
  • Authentic audience. The students who sit in the classroom and listen to the other students' oral presentations aren't there because they're inherently interested in the topic or the speaker. They're there because they signed up for the course. What if that student standing up there presented the information to someone who needed it? Who had an inherent interest in the topic?
We have a wonderful Independent Media Center in downtown Urbana, Illinois. We have public access radio and television shows going on there often. 

Do you have one in your town? 

Could your students present on one of those shows? Even if it is in English, could they develop expertise (in Spanish) in your course, then share it with a wider audience?

The video at the top features students from a graduate course in urban planning, given by Prof. Stacy Harwood.

My student Alli Gattari and I recently went on the show, too. (I'll post the video when it is available.) Alli was a natural! She truly came off as an expert in Spanish in the Community and particularly about unaccompanied migrants in our town.

Give it a thought. You might be nervous. Your students might be nervous. But they will share their information with an authentic audience. With an authentic purpose.

Intercultural Competence: Darla Deardorff at Illinois' Faculty Retreat

by Ann Abbott

For years I have been reading Darla Deardorff's work on intercultural competence. That's why I was so excited to see that she was going to be the keynote speaker at this year's campus-wide Faculty Retreat.

In languages, we're always thinking about and working with intercultural competence (or transcultural competence, as the MLA 2007 Special Report called it). However, other disciplines and the university as a whole have begun to give it much more thought, especially because of the increasing numbers of international students on campus. So this was a wonderful occasion to bring campus-level focus to an issue that I (and others in languages) care deeply about.

She provided a very helpful handout to us, and I'll share here some of my notes as well as information from the handouts.

Myths about intercultural competence (handout)

  1. Students fluent in another language are interculturaly competent.
  2. Intercultural competence means mostly learning about others' cultures.
  3. One class, reading, lecture, or workshop is sufficient for addressing intercultural competence.
  4. Send students abroad and they'll come back interculturaly competent.
  5. Intercultural competence can be measured by one assessment tool.
In thinking about incorporating this into my teaching, I would translate these five myths into Spanish and use them as a warm-up, asking students to write true/false.

Models of intercultural competence (handout)

  1. Allport (1954): Contact Hypothesis. She said that this model was old, but still very relevant.
  2. Bennet (1993): Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity. (At the link, toggle back and forth between Bennet's model and Deardorff's model.) She pointed out that at Stage 6 of this model (Integration), she sees an increasing number of students/youth who are Third Culture Kids (TCK), also known as Global Nomads.
  3. Deardorff (2009): Intercultural Competence Framework. (Again, toggle back and forth to see this model which is also pictured below.) 
She emphasized that empathy and cultural humility are even more important than intercultural "skills."

Intercultural Competence: Self-Reflection

The handout included a nice sheet with 15 items (e.g., tolerance for ambiguity, culture-specific knowledge) that one should rate themselves on. Then you're asked to talk about them in concrete experience. This was from Building Cultural Competence by Berardo & Deardorff, Stylus, 2012.

From the same book, she also gave us a list of reflection questions about interculturally competent teaching with a helpful bibliography.

My notes

Here are a few notes I took.
  • She used the example of people born with sunglasses. If you are born with yellow sunglasses (and so is everyone else around you), then you see someone with blue sunglasses, if you ask them if you can put them on, then what color will you see? Green. Not blue. Green. (Metaphor for culture and our own cultural filters.)
  • She said that we should not live by the Golden Rule, but rather by the Platinum Rule: Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.
  • When you assess intercultural competence, you must ask what is the evidence of student success in developing ICC? Then ask: what would employers say is evidence? This is an example of ICC being measured and assessed differently by various stakeholders, not just us as educators.

Implications for Assessing Intercultural Competence (handout)

  1. Use existing lit to define the concept of intercultural competence.
  2. Go beyond self report tools to assess ICC.
  3. Focus on process, not results.
  4. Intercultural learning involves a multimethod, multiperspective assessment process.
  5. ICC is about students learning to think and act interculturally.


We were asked to leave notes on the table with our take-aways and
  • Two action steps: 1) Put this as a learning objective on my syllabi. 2) Include ICC literature as a reading or exam item in my courses.
  • One burning question: For me, the question is about ethics. What is it imperative that we teach ICC? If we don't, I feel that we are being unethical as educators and as a university. We have an ethical obligation to try to prevent the next Ferguson, to enhance understanding about Palestine, to engage students in the cultural perspectives of all marginalized groups. If we don't, what will happen to our world?

Language Departments: Creating a Community of Practice with and for Students

Darcy Lear, me and Kristina Medina at St. Olaf.
by Ann Abbott

I had such a wonderful visit at St. Olaf College last week. Darcy Lear and I were invited there to share with their language students and Romance Languages (French and Spanish) faculty about the combination of professional development and language curricula. As usual, I took away more than I gave.

First, I'd like to mention just some of the wonderful faculty we met:
  1. Prof. Wendy Allen, Chair, was a lovely host. Both Darcy and I felt that we had met our third musketeer. She was forward-looking in all respects, yet grounded as well. What a terrific combination. I loved hearing about the "J term" course that she and her husband coordinate in both Paris and Morocco. (I ran home and told my daughter, who loves math, about the geometry course Wendy's husband teaches using the tile patterns in Arabic architecture. That would have been a math course even I could have enjoyed.) Finally, Wendy is an expert in content-based instruction, something near and dear to my heart as an LSP educator.
  2. I have to give a huge shout-out to Assistant Professor Kristina Medina Vilariño. Kristina was a graduate student here at Illinois, and I admired her teaching and her critical thinking about many social as well as literary issues. I enjoy her posts on Facebook, which is how we had stayed in touch until this recent visit. 
  3. Prof. Gwen Barnes-Karol is one of the most passionate and committed language educators I have met. I first met her at the 2014 LSP conference in Boulder, Colorado where she gave a keynote talk. Just a few months later, I saw her again at the AATSP conference in Panama. So it was great to see her in her element and observe in action the curricular ideas she presented in her keynote.
  4. I was also taken by Associate Professor Maggie Broner because of her energy, innovative spirit and creative courses. She incorporates design think and enivronmental sustainability into her teaching in very interesting ways--ways that I would like to copy!
  5. Everyone, just everyone we met was a delight.
So now I'll list some of the things that I took away from the wonderful things they do in their department.

Content from the beginning, language until the end

This was a phrase that rolled off everyone's tongue. They do it. They believe it. They do content-based teaching in the basic language program, and they provide language scaffolding in all their courses. I love it! This eliminates one of the biggest problems in departments: the gulf between basic language courses--which take a "random scattering" approach to content--and the upper level courses that seem to think that students are acquiring language just because they are reading a literary text--that they might or might not understand.

Community of Practice

Students have to participate in a "community of practice;" in other words, they need to attend events that enhance their coursework. The faculty likened it to the music program at St. Olaf (which is huge!) which tells students that they are expected to participate in the life of music around the campus--concerts, recitals, theater, etc.--as part of their music education. They have pink cards that get stamped/punched at each event. French and Spanish tell their students the same thing. I love this idea and would love to do it here at Illinois.

Student Learning Goals

The entire college developed a set of clear goals--a flower with eight petals--for student learning: STOGoals. All of those goals make a lot of sense to me. They describe my feelings about a liberal arts education in very clear language.
They also provide a "map" where professors and students can move from general goals (e.g., "Responsible engagement") to specific activities (e.g., Spanish community service learning would be one) in many areas of student life.
This kind of map facilitates good planning and assessment. I also think that it would make for a good in-class activity or reflective essay: fill in the chart with specific examples of your experiences; or, walk around the room and get the signatures of students who have experienced this in their time at college.

Then at the program level, their intended learning outcomes are specific and focused, too. The French major, for example, focuses on three elements. Students will demonstrate:
  1. Language proficiency.
  2. Textual competence.
  3. Interaction within a community of practice.

Cooperation with the Career Center

Both Darcy and I were blown away by the professionalism and range of resources offered to St. Olaf students and departments by the Piper Center. Talk about feeling envious! It was a top-notch career center with valuable online and face-to-face resources. Browse through the Piper Center for Vocation and Career's website. You'll see many resources that open to all and pertinent to students at any college. Could you use any of those resources with your students? Could you build a lesson plan around the questions, templates and links they provide?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Student Reflection

by Annette Popernik

Entre los tres pisos

Mi preparatoria era chica, era de un piso y de forma cuadrada. Al entrar a la Preparatoria Champaign Central, me quedé asombrada. Era gigantesca, de tres pisos. Encontrar la entrada adecuada fue difícil pero al entrar a la oficina de Lorena Rodríguez, algo más que el tamaño de la escuela me dejo asombrada. En el escritorio de Lorena había una placa que decía “Secretaria Bilingüe.” Esa placa debería de decir mucho más. Al ver la placa, yo al inicio pensé que ella era la persona que se comunicaba con los padres cuando tenía que mandarles información. Pensaba que tal cual solo servía de traductora. Al conocer a los padres y los niños que llegaron a la oficina para las conferencias de los padres y los maestros y verlos interactuar con Lorena, me di cuenta del papel que Lorena realmente tiene.

Otros voluntarios y yo estábamos sentados en la oficina porque ese día seríamos traductores para los padres y los maestros con quienes platicarían. Entre esos tres pisos, no me imaginaba cuantos hispanos había, pero los había. Lorena era la secretaria pero también la persona que motiva y que es una aliada para los estudiantes y sus padres. Yo estaba muy emocionada para ayudarles a los padres y poder traducirles lo que les decían los maestros y viceversa. Me encanta ayudar a los demás hispanos. También sería muy buena práctica para las traducciones que hago con La Línea. Pero de lo que no me di cuenta es del gran ejemplo que es Lorena y cuanto ella me enseñó a través de su ejemplo en cómo trabajar con los hispanos en la comunidad.

Al regresar de las conferencias con los maestros, Lorena platicaba con los padres y los estudiantes que habían asistido. Ellos le contaban lo que los maestros les habían dicho y ella reaccionaba con consejos y formas de ayudar a los estudiantes. La mayoría de los estudiantes hablaban muy bien el inglés, no necesitaban ayuda con eso. A veces era tan simple como recomendarles platicar con la trabajadora social o tenerla a ella como apoyo para platicar. Ella ayuda académicamente en el sentido que los maestros pueden darle la tarea a Lorena para que ella se asegure de que los estudiantes la hagan. Si no, ella puede llamarles a los padres. Me di cuenta que los padres y los estudiantes especialmente eran muy honestos y abiertos con ella. Ella ha establecido un nivel de confianza por su trato con cariño y su forma de apoyar a los padres y los estudiantes.  A través de esto, ha logrado que confíen en ella.  Recuerdo como una estudiante se fue diciéndole, “La quiero Lorena.” En la prepa, los estudiantes rara vez le dicen eso a los miembros académicos.

Lorena hace más que traducir. Ella motiva a los estudiantes, les habla en confianza, y se ríe con ellos pero es seria y firme cuando se necesita serlo. Durante la mañana, fui cambiando la manera de ayudar a los padres. No solo serví de traductora. Durante las conferencias, les ayudaba de otra forma, haciendo preguntas a los maestros para poder encontrar la manera más eficaz para ayudarles a los estudiantes. Contestaba las preguntas de los padres si tenían preguntas sobre el sistema universitario entre otras cosas. Aprendí que cuando somos traductores, en La Línea, en las prepas, o en cualquier lugar, tenemos un papel muy importante. Claro que traducimos del inglés al español y viceversa, pero hay algo más importante. Tenemos que apoyarlos, motivarlos, y enseñarles que ellos mismos pueden, que aunque nosotros seamos los que traducimos, ellos tienen el poder dentro de ellos mismos para avanzar. Aprendí esto entre los tres pisos de Central de una secretaria que probablemente nunca será reconocida a nivel mundial, pero esos estudiantes y esos padres nunca la olvidarán. 

Día a día: a Spanish textbook that presents Latin American Street Art

by Ann Abbott
Your students will enjoy street art examples.
When you think of street art, what do you think of?

Do you think of Banksy, who is famous world-wide? (Here's a short video in Spanish about Bansky.)

Do you think of graffiti? That word has both positive and negative connotations. Which way do you feel about it? (Here's a short video in Spanish about "El arte de ser grafitero.")

Do you think of tagging? When you see word-based graffiti with a special signature, do you think that's art? Or do you think it's blight?

Perhaps a more important questions is: what do your students think about street art? I bet that your students are already aware of street art, especially Banksy. And even if they aren't, the creativity of street art, its brevity, and its ability to pack a punch with simple images is very appealing to people of all ages.

That's why we included a video in Día a día about street art in Costa Rica: ¨El arte callejero convierte la ciudad en galería¨. You can find it in Chapter 5, p. 210. (The video is accessible online.)

Extra resources

On Pinterest you can find hundreds of images of street art from around the world. But you don't have to search for them yourself. I follow Catherine Maudet (@maudetboo), and she has a wonderful Pinterest board titled "Street art-gustos míos." 

How could you use this resource?
  • For the class warm-up, quickly flash through some of the images then ask students what adjectives they would use to describe them. Or flash through five images, and ask students to tell you which one was their favorite (they tell you the number).
  • As previewing activity, ask students to group images into two categories and then explain the impact: universal messages versus location-specific messages; black and white images versus color; images that incorporate an environmental element (a hole in the bricks, peeling paint, fire hydrant, tree, shadow, etc.) versus those that don't.
  • As a post-viewing activity, ask students to scan the images for inspiration then look carefully around the classroom (or outside of it if you can take your students out), and think about original images that would be relevant to their learning space.
Have fun with it!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Extra volunteer opportunities

Are you on track to get 28 hours?
by Ann Abbott

Sometimes students need extra opportunities to get their 28 hours during the semester. Here are some extra opportunities.

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Dear Dr. Abbott,

We are once again in need of volunteers to help with Spanish translating during our parent teacher conferences next month.  Last semester your student’s help was a godsend.

I am hoping you can help us out again this semester?  Our conferences are Thursday, March 19th from 5:00p to 8:00p and Friday, March 20th from 8:00a to 12:00p.  If you know anyone who might be interested in helping, please have them email be at or call me at 217-351-3911. 

Thank you in advance for ANY assistance you can send my way!

Joanie Strater

Joan I. Strater
Main Office Secretary
Champaign Central High School
(217) 351-3911

(217) 351-3782 Fax

Books for Prisoners

Sheila Shenoy shared this with me:

This is the organization in Urbana that has volunteers help package books to those in prison. Sometimes these prisoners write in Spanish and I know they would be grateful for those with Spanish-speaking abilities to help out by reading them and responding back in Spanish along with the proper books:

Mobile Mexican Consulate Visit

The Mexican Consulate will be in town April 15-17 (Wednesday through Friday). Read the information in the image and find out if you can volunteer at this event, perhaps entertaining children while parents consult with the consulate employees. If you decide to do this event, you must be very responsible and proactive: do not let them down!

Office of Volunteer Programs

Go to the Union and ask (nicely) if they have any opportunities for you to do work in Spanish.

Letter-writing Campaigns

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Student Reflection

by Annette Popernik

Al leer este artículo y ver el primer video, me quede sorprendida al saber cuantos niños van a la corte sin un abogado. Tener un abogado para estos niños no es una ley y los niños que vienen de México y Canadá son deportados sin ir a la corte. El hombre en el video afirma que muchos abogados pueden hacer el trabajo y aprender fácilmente. Nos asegura que es un trabajo verdaderamente increíble. Los niños son el futuro de nuestra sociedad pero ¿cómo tendremos un futuro si no cuidamos nuestros niños?