Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My Online Lesson about Social Entrepreneurship and Social Media Marketing

by Ann Abbott

I was very happy to get an email this evening with a link to an online guest lesson I gave a few semesters ago about social entrepreneurship and social media marketing. Normally when you do a guest lecture, nothing remains from it afterward. This was my very first attempt at teaching online, and I'm glad to have a record of it.

The course is called Social Media and Global Change, and you can see the course content on this blog.

And for even more information, visit the Global Informatics Initiative website.

We Need a Campus Infrastructure for the Work and Recognition of Service Learning

by Ann Abbott

I was pleasantly surprised to read, in an online newsletter from our provost, that the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign will be taking a look at service learning from a campus perspective. 

Again.

I hope something will come of this! We need a solid support and reward system on this campus.
In the months ahead, each issue of Academic Affairs will report on the progress of these initiatives as well as new programs to enhance Access and Affordability and a committee to develop campus-wide Service Learning. If you would like to learn more about the Campus Conversation on Undergraduate Education, please contact Lauren Goodlad (Provost Fellow for Undergraduate Education) or Chuck Tucker (Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education & Innovation).   

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Talking to Middle School Spanish Students about How to Use Spanish in Their Daily Lives

by Ann Abbott

It is always a pleasure for me to stay in touch with my former students. I love seeing how they develop in their personal and professional lives. And when they continue to have Spanish in their lives long after graduation, I'm especially thrilled.

I accepted this invitation from my former student Samantha Sutton, and I am looking forward to seeing her (albeit via Skype), her students and their project.

Dear ​Ann​,
​I hope you are doing well and are staying warm during this fantastic winter. ​
We are excited to  begin our very first PBL​ (Problem-Based Learning) experience​ in Spanish class! To read more on our PBL work in D41, please go to http://www.d41.org/d41pbl.htm.
Beginning March 7, our 7th grade students will begin their PBL where the students will be placed in collaborative groups to solve the following problem: By the end of 8th grade, you will have invested two years in learning the Spanish language and culture. How do you plan on using what you’ve learned? Are there ample opportunities for you do so? Unfortunately, most students do not use their new language skills and knowledge; therefore, they lose what they have learned. How can students use their Spanish outside of school? Create an action plan that current and future foreign language students could use in order to retain their language skills and cultural knowledge. You will present your plan to educators, community members, and foreign language experts.
In order to help the students solve this problem, we are hoping to invite experts in to speak with our students as an element of their research. This would take place during our classes the week of March 2nd.
Would you be interested in  speaking about this issue  to our class as an expert in foreign language?  
We would love to have you in person​​, but I know that may be difficult due to the distance.  We could even do the interview via Skype.
I appreciate your time and consideration of my request! I look forward to hearing from you soon!  I am also copying Hillary Shumate on this email as she is our PBL Coach and would be working with us to coordinate any guest speakers.
Sincerely,
Samantha Sutton 7th & 8th Grade Spanish Teacher; Foreign Language Department Chair Hadley Junior High

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Student Reflection

by Annette Popernik

Una Ventana Hacia La Esperanza


Imagínate estar enfermo de niño, ir al doctor, y cuando tengas que entregar los papeles, no tienes un número de seguro social. Tus amigos sacan sus licencias a los dieciséis años, pero tú no puedes sacar la tuya. Ellos empiezan a trabajar, pero tú no puedes. Cada día, hay el riesgo de que te deporten. ¿Por qué te pasa todo esto? Porque llegaste de niño a los Estados Unidos. Tus papás de trajeron. De niños, no tenemos un decir. Sin embargo, llegas a este país y tienes que sobreponerte, aún a los desafíos. El gobierno de los Estados Unidos decidió imponer un programa llamado DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals o Acción Diferida Para Ciertos Jóvenes) para que los niños puedan tener oportunidades.

En La Línea, frecuentemente nos encontramos con llamadas de hispanos en la comunidad quienes requieren información sobre DACA. Me rompe el corazón cuando le tengo que decir a un cliente que no cumple con los requisitos. No es un programa cualquiera. Es una oportunidad, una ventana hacia la esperanza. Si calificas, podrás obtener protección para no ser deportado, un permiso para trabajar dos años, un número de seguro social, y una licencia. Además, la aplicación es renovable. El trabajo de La Línea acerca de DACA es dar información sobre el programa y hacer citas para los talleres. El proceso parece ser simple, pero he logrado hacer un gran impacto en la vida de muchas personas. Me trae mucha alegría cuando puedo decirle a un cliente que cumple con los requisitos y le puedo dar una cita. Hay varios requisitos, pero algunos de ellos son que tienes que haber llegado a este país antes de cumplir dieciséis años y tienes que estar en la prepa, haberte graduado de la prepa, o tener tu GED (General Educational Development).

A través de nuestra organización, puedo buscar recursos en la comunidad para nuestros clientes. De nuevo, todo esto parece simple, pero logro traer mucha ayuda y felicidad a nuestros clientes. Por ejemplo, un requisito que se puede cumplir es el requisito de haberse graduado de la prepa o tener un GED. Parkland College da clases que se enfocan en la preparación para el examen del GED. Muchos no saben que estas clases existen. He ayudado a clientes a inscribirse en estas clases. Cuando ya estén inscritos, pueden hacer una cita para el taller de DACA. Esto representa lo que hacemos en nuestra organización. La Línea no siempre tiene una respuesta, pero siempre buscamos un recurso u otro camino para poder mejor ayudar a nuestros clientes. Reconocemos los desafíos de los miembros de nuestra comunidad para poder crear soluciones para estos problemas. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Lesson Plan about Culture within Education Systems: Spanish Community Service Learning

by Ann Abbott

Here's an outline of my class today. The question we want to answer by the end of class is:
¿Sabemos cómo trabajar en la comunidad de manera culturalmente apropiada?

Warm up

In our last class we talked about mandatos-commands (Lección 5 in Comunidades: Más allá del aula). So I´ll start with some Simon-Says-style commands, that they have to listen to distinguish if they are for the whole class or just one student.
  • Levántate.
  • Levántense.
  • Salten.
  • Salten dos veces.
  • Da la mano a la persona a la par.
  • Den la mano a la persona a la par.
  • Siéntense.

Lección 6 in Comunidades

This lesson starts off with one of my favorite activities of all time: asking students how many continents there are. Then sharing with them how many continents other countries believe there are. This really hits home the idea that even things we think of as "facts," things we were taught in school as "facts," are embedded with our own culture and cultural values.

Then we'll continue through the series of activities that points out how culturally-specific a school setting is--in the content that is (or is not) taught, in the way the school day is structured, and in the way that students and families interact (or not) with school personnel.

What are some specific cultural issues in our own Latino community?

I want to always move students along a continuum of learning "in general" about cultures, culturally-appropriate behaviors and transcultural competence to learning "specifics" about the cultural perspectives, practices and products of our local Latino community. So I will hand out the pink telephone message pads again, and ask them to take down a message regarding the information I read to them (details omitted for privacy):
El Centro de Refugiados ECIRMAC esta indicado en la pagina estatal GetCovered Illinois como uno de los centros donde dan ayuda con asuntos de cobertura medica. Se que muchos necesitan hacer cambios o tienen preguntas sobre la cobertura medica de sus hijos. El Estado me dijo que todas las familias que tienen hijos y ya estaban aprobados para tarjeta medica recibieron correspondencia para que eligieran su proveedor medico. A quienes no respondieron al aviso o no enviaron los documentos requeridos de regreso se les asigno la compania Molina automáticamente. En el Centro de Refugiados la senora Carmen puede ayudarles con cambios o a resolver sus preguntas. Por favor llamen al 217-344-1111y hagan una cita para reunirse con ella si necesitan ayuda.
Asking students to take this down as a message pad is practice (over and over again we practice this) for what they actually have to do in their work. I've written before about how difficult this is for them and why. And then I'll ask them what this has to do with schools. I hope they'll understand that health insurance is an important issue for the children in schools.

What have you learned?

If there is time, I want students to take a moment to reflect on the first four weeks of the semester. I'll ask them to write the following on a note card:
  • What do you consider the most important thing you have learned so far in the classroom?
  • What do you consider the most important thing you have learned so far in the community?
Let's see what they answer!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Is community service learning compatible with communicative languageteaching?


I keep a notebook in my bag at all times, and these are the kinds of notes and reflections I write. I jot down my ideas about teaching. I take notes during meetings. I outline ideas for lesson plans and presentations. When I look back over my notes, I'm often surprised by what I wrote--because I forgot about it! I often find them useful, too, as a basis for blog posts (like this one) or other actions. Do you take notes about your work? Do you look back over them?
by Ann Abbott

Based on two semesters' worth of having Spanish students do social media marketing for a community partner, I am questioning whether certain types of engaged learning in a language class.

I say this because doing social media marketing and protecting the community partners Briand involves necessitates a high level of proficiency and accuracy that funeral language students possess. Let alone the knowledge they need to acquire about marketing and social media marketing.

In fact, I am not sure if I will do that kind of project again. The amount of editing that I need to do to students posts have to be accounted for and built in to the syllabus, either I dedicate more class time to the editing of students posts, or I request a teaching assistant who can do that work. In times of scarce resources, I can't be sure that I would be given a TA.

I remain committed to providing students with engagement activities that enhance their learning, and at the same time filling a community partners needs. However, without more departmental support these two things appear to be at odds especially when talkingabout social media marketing or any other kind of presentational, written work my students that demands high levels of proficiency and accuracy.

I was trained from the very beginning to teach languages with the communicative language teaching approach. The emphasis was indeed on communication, and in accurate statements that could be comprehended by the listener were considered successes. I still believe that. It's only in rare instancesthat we need to hold students to a different level. Or perhaps I need to hold community partners to a different level. Still, if community partners have the capacity within their organization to supervise and edit students Facebook posts for their pages,they probably wouldn't need my students to do the posts in the first place.

This is something that I'm still working through in my mind. In fact, just today I hope to student work on his resume in order to reflect the social media marketing that he did in my course last semester for a community partner. He valued the experience so much that he wanted to reflect it accurately and fully on his resume. So in some ways, what I might have considered a less than optimal results for the course was obviously seen as advantageous by the students. In fact, on their course evaluations students all wrote that the most valuable part of the course was there work for the community partner on social media.

It seems that I have more thinking and reflection to do about these issues of community service learning, community partners, communicative language teaching, engaged teaching, my time, syllabus design, and lesson planning.

What are your thoughts? Do you have insights that you could share with me,

Skype Visit with Diana Ruggiero's Graduate Class on Languages for Specific Purposes

by Ann Abbott

I was delighted when I received this invitation from Prof. Diana Ruggiero of the University of Memphis a couple of weeks ago:
First Happy Birthday Ann! My students in  my graduate course on how to teach Spanish for LSP read your article ad would love to see you! So we invite you next Wednesday Feb 11 at 3:30 CST to join us via SKYPE or FT to talk about your article and to meet you! We would love to talk to you! Again, felicidades y ojalá nos veamos pronto. Diana
Abbott, Annie. "Social Entrepreneurship and Community Service Learning: Building Sustainable Non-profits and Language Programs." Specialised Languages in the Global Village. Eds., Carmen Perez-Llantada and Maida Watson. Cambridge Scholars. 2011.​
Of course I said yes, and this afternoon I had a chance to talk Diana and her lovely students.

I began with a quick introduction, telling Diana's students that I think my work in general and that article in particular as part of discourse about the changing face and role of Spanish departments in the United States. Just this morning, my friend and colleague Prof. Gillian Lord at the University of Florida was quoted in an Inside Higher Ed piece about declining enrollments in foreign languages--including Spanish, for the first time ever. I was particularly struck by this line: "Lord said she also thought that Spanish and other programs had some modernizing to do."  

I totally agree. And I think part of that modernizing is offering students rigorous content, in Spanish, about topics not traditionally offered in a Spanish department (i.e., literature and linguistics). 

We then turned it over to the students and their questions. Honestly, I thought they would ask me questions about social entrepreneurship and the business concepts I cover. But no. Their questions were different, insightful and challenging. I loved them all!

  • How do students respond to a course like social entrepreneurship?
  • Since I teach entrepreneurship as a process, not just a final product, how do I teach students the patience and persistence you need whenever you tackle an entrepreneurial project? In other words, in a culture that wants things easy and quick, how do you teach them about failure, frustrations and knocking on door after door that gets shut in your face?
  • What do I think a Spanish program should look like?
  • Isn't it a problem that professors and community members come from very different realities, very different perspectives? How can faculty be "engaged" when they are so different from many of the community members? (My answer: focus on problem solving, focus on a project, focus on collaborating, and that will unite faculty and community members.)
  • This kind of engaged teaching takes time, energy and money, yet departments and colleges don't want to give money for community service learning. How do you handle that?
  • How do you teach in this way to students who don't have a sense of engagement, solidarity, community, communal work.
Then Diana asked me if I had any questions for them. I did!
  • Do you feel like you could teach a course on social entrepreneurship? 
Yes, they said. They'd like to take the course first, then teach it. And when I said that many people feel like they can't teach a course in languages for specific purposes if they haven't been specifically trained in that area (business, medicine, etc.), one of the students said, "You learn!"

Yes. You learn.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Spanish a Plus in the Job Market

by Ann Abbott

I received this information about job possibilities yesterday. Here are a few thoughts:

  • It's so important to give your students really good learning experiences while they are with you--in the classroom and for their honors projects. (Liz's blog posts were part of her honors project in my classes.) You are helping to set them up for success. Although of course, they make their own success, too!
  • Then, it's so important to stay in touch with your former students. LinkedIn is one way. I stay in touch with a lot of former students through Facebook, too.
  • Finally, when you do stay in touch with your students and follow their personal and professional stories, share them! Let your current students know about what former students are doing in their professions. Our students need examples, role models. Liz is definitely one of them.
  • Although Liz is interested in speaking to all Spanish majors, I am convinced that students who study abroad and take experiential learning classes are the real stand-outs in a job interview. They have concrete, client-based examples to share about the work that they have already done in Spanish. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Spanish Community Service Learning: First Day of Class

by Ann Abbott

I have shared my first-day-of-the-semester lesson plans before.


I think the first day is really important. You have a chance to make a big impression. So I always teach. I don't go through the syllabus and tell them I'll seem them next time.

So here's what I did on the first day of class of the Spring 2015 semester. It walked them through our never-ending cycle of class, community, class, community...

Class

I thanked students for signing up for this course. I know that it is an elective and that for many students it doesn't officially "count." It takes a special student to take one the unique work for this class and to show solidarity with a vulnerable community.

Then I put them into pairs, told them to talk five minutes (hablar sin parar) about why they are taking this class. They had many reasons--speaking Spanish, keeping up their Spanish after a study-abroad experience, a friend took the course and recommended it, etc.

Community

I told students that they will have to work 28 hours in the community. Our work in the class will help prepare them for their work in the community, and their work in the community will inform our class discussions. I showed them the wiki that they will use to sign up and previewed some of the choices they have for their community partners.

Class

Before playing the video below, I wrote these phrases on the board:
  • Algo que ya sabías.
  • Algo que no sabías.
  • Una pregunta.
I told them to take notes while watching the video below so that they could then write down a sentence for each phrase.

Students were very interested in this video. And most of the information was new to them.



Community

Then I passed out telephone message pads. I told them that the situation in the video isn´t just happening in Texas. Our community is also impacted by the border crossings of young people.

I read this message from a local Latino leader. Students had to listen and take down the information on the telephone pad. That's hard! They saw that they had a lot to learn, even with just the Spanish language. But of course it also shows an example of the needs that they will encounter in our community. 
FAVOR: tengo un estudiante de High School que tiene cita con inmigración en Chicago el día 4 de febrero a las 9 am. Este estudiante no tiene a sus padres aquí ni a ningún adulto que maneje. Si alguien va a ir a Chicago ese día por favor comuniquense conmigo si pudieran darle ride a este muchacho. Yo pago la gasolina. La persona que lo lleve no necesita entrar con el a su cita, puede dejarlo afuera del edificio y esperarlo ahí. La cita no tarda mas de una hora. Si alguien esta interesado en ayudar por favor avisenme. Gracias!

So that's it. My first class of the new semester. We talked about class, then the community, then did classwork, then talked about community needs. And that's what we'll continue to do all semester.

Spanish & Entrepreneurship: Languages, Cultures & Communities

by Ann Abbott

I love teaching "Spanish & Entrepreneurship: Languages, Cultures & Communities." I focus the course on social entrepreneurship, I teach them basic business principles, we analyze them at work in specific nonprofit examples, and we focus on doing all of this in linguistically and culturally appropriate ways.

Here's the syllabus for "Spanish & Entrepreneurship: Languages, Cultures & Communities."

On our first day of class this semester, I covered many of the fundamental elements of the course.

Community service learning + social entrepreneurship

The students in the course should already be familiar with community service learning, because the prerequisite for this course is "Spanish in the Community." So they still need to work 28 hours during the semester with a community partner, but in class the academic content focuses on social entrepreneurship.

Community service learning

Despite the prerequisite, I always have students signed up for my course who haven't taken Spanish in the Community. This semester, about two thirds of the students hadn't taken Spanish in the Community! That's a shame, because that course really provides a solid foundation, a real understanding of immigration issues, an up-close knowledge of our local Latino community. 

So I formed student groups--each student who had taken "Spanish in the Community" was matched up with students who hadn't. The "expert" had to explain to the others what they had learned in that course and give advice to the other students. Some of the advice was very practical, like where to work, how to get there, how to get your 28 hours in, etc. And that's good. The other students had to ask questions. As always, I told students exactly how long they had to talk (it was probably five minutes, but I don't remember right now), and made sure they talked that whole time.

Social entrepreneurship/Emprendimiento Social

Then I turned to the academic content of our course: social entrepreneurship/emprendimiento social. I emphasized that I want them to learn about entrepreneurship this semester as a process, not just a product. In other words, if we focus on the final outcome--a new business/product/organization/program/etc.--we are missing out on the vital process that leads to that final product. Or not. Maybe it there will be no final product. Maybe the process will end in failure. But going through the process itself is entrepreneurship. Is entrepreneurial. It is a mindset, more than a product that I want them to walk away with.

The entrepreneurship process

So what does that process consist of? Three steps.
  1. Reconocer oportunidades. I always tell students that many opportunities are hidden within problems. If you can solve people's problems, then you have a good entrepreneurial opportunity. I also emphasize that they can recognize problems that non-Spanish speakers will never see.
  2. Buscar recursos. Even though we often think first about money when we talk about entrepreneurship, I want students to know that there are so many other resources that they can acquire and use. Trust. Spanish. Friendships. A good reputation. A degree from the University of Illinois. And so much more.
  3. Crear algo de valor. First you must "create." Entrepreneurship isn't just about ideas. Lots of people have lots of ideas. You have to do. To create. To prototype. To launch. To try. To fail. To redesign/rethink. To get to the end point. And secondly, it must be something that other people value. If you create something because you are enchanted by it, but you don't bother to see if other people want it, you are in trouble. Other people have to think that your product/service brings them value. Listen. Observe. Ask. Then you'll be sure you are creating something that people will actually purchase and/or use.

Combine CSL and social entrepreneurship

When we put these two things together--CSL with its deepening understanding of our local Latino Community and social entrepreneurship--we end up with something very special. Something very localized. Something very attuned to a tightly defined target market. 

Our programs and services will be linguistically-appropriate. That might be Spanish. That might be English. It might be Spanglish. And in the Champaign-Urbana, that might be Q’anjob’al.

They will be culturally-appropriate. They will be offered in a convenient location for that community. In a trusted location because there is a lot of mistrust in our most vulnerable communities. They will be offered at a time that is convenient. There will be free babysitting if the community has many young children. Etc.

Conclusions

That is as much as I could squeeze in during one class period. This is not your regular Spanish class. Students need to be told explicitly what the expectations are, the reasons why we do them, and what the results will be (can be). The first class of the semester is always tough. You have to set them up for success--and I always like to show them what a typical class will be like. Participatory. Engaging. Active. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Choice Is Important to Students in Spanish Community Service Learning

by Ann Abbott

Last year I gave a talk about Spanish community service learning (CSL) at the University of Illinois, Chicago, invited by my friend and colleague Prof. Kim Potowski.

I told my "Spanish in the Community" students that people at UIC were interested in starting a course similar to ours, and I asked them what they thought I should tell my UIC colleagues.

  1. By far the most frequent piece of information was that they should offer students many options for community partners. 
  2. Second in frequency, they thought the UIC faculty should know about the advantages of a Spanish CSL course. Here are some specific advantages they mentioned: it increases students' confidence; it gives them many opportunities to practice; it helps them understand the real issues confronting local Latinos. 
  3. One student gave a piece of advice about the places where students work: they should be organized and well-structured. 
  4. One student said that the course should help students with common grammatical problems.
I'm not surprised by what students emphasized. I know that choice is very important to them. They probably don't know how much work it takes to offer them choices, but we do. And that is why those of us who work in CSL as lone wolves need to make sure we are always asking for as much departmental and institutional support as we can get.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Spanish in the Community: Dream Act, DACA and DAPA


by Ann Abbott

Last semester I set myself up for blogging failure: I said I would share all my lesson plans on my blog. Didn't happen. Too much going on, so I didn't always have time to sit down and write and share every single lesson plan.

So this semester, no promises. When I can, I will. And I'd love to hear from you about your courses, lesson plans and class projects. Just as a reminder, you can contact me:
And here's what I did with my students today.
Students using their earbuds, listening to the videos.
It's hard to see, but on the board I wrote:
¿Qué? ¿Y qué? ¿Ahora qué?

¿Qué? Informarse

First I asked students if they knew who our Illinois Senators are. One student knew--he's a political science major. They are Dick Durbin (D) and Mark Kirk (R).

Then I put these words on the board: Dream Act, DACA and DAPAI asked students if they knew what they were. Students who are doing their community service learning work at the Refugee Center and had an orientation this week knew something about them. But most students didn't have any background knowledge about them. I explained that Senator Durbin was one of the authors of the Dream Act and what it consisted of. I then pointed out that since the Dream Act has never been passed by the legislative branch, Obama took executive action and created DACA and more recently DAPA.

We went to our Facebook page. From there they clicked on the link to Senator Durbin's website. Once there, we went to the page on "Issues," clicked on "Dream Act" and listened to the short video. I called out the following: the family was from Korea (not all immigrants are from Mexico, as the common discourse claims), the girl didn't make the choice to come, we don't know if she speaks Korean (she might not), and she's certainly never been back to Korea because without papers you can't get a passport, and without a passport you can't fly.

¿Y qué? Analizar

I asked students to then read the written information on Dick Durbin's page on the Dream Act. Afterward, they got into groups and shared their reactions. I heard a lot of support, and I also heard some students say that they don't like illegal immigration. (That's okay; I have the whole semester to help them see undocumented immigration as something more complex than most people have ever imagined.)

Next we went to Dick Durbin's Facebook page. I assigned each student a number, either 1, 2 or 3. Number one had to watch the video his office posted about Juan's DACA Story, Number two had to watch Ola's DACA Story. And students with the number three watched Oscar's Dream Story

I then asked them to skim through the comments on the Facebook posts. (I'm sure there are plenty of similar comments on the YouTube videos.) We talked about the tone of the posts (very hateful, angry). What the people who are against the Dream Act were actually against. We talked about debating using our "racioncinio," facts, and emotions.

¿Ahora qué? Tomar acción

I then called their attention to the board where I had written the three stages of reflection: ¿Qué? ¿Y qué? ¿Ahora qué? I told them that for the first stage of reflection, we simply informed ourselves about the Dream Act, DACA and DAPA. For the second stage, we looked at what those policies meant to immigrants and specific cases of Dreamers. We analyzed reactions against these bills and policies. For the third stage, I emphasized that in this class, this semester, yes, we will study, yes, we will write papers, yes, we will take exams, but that our learning will also lead to action. In pairs, the talked a few moments about what they could do to support (or not) these bills and policies. 

I then showed them what I have done. I sometimes participate in these Facebook discussions.
Finally, in pairs, they had five minutes to write a something short that they could post on Dick Durbin's Facebook page under the DACA and Dream Act posts. They had to post it to our Facebook thread. They could also post to Dick Durbin's page, but they weren't required to. (Some students just aren't ready to make that step yet.)

Conclusiones

Well, I wish there was a more elegant way to present all this information. Despite the clunky look of this post, the class was dynamic, fast-paced, and I know the students left the room knowing some things that they didn't know before.

We´ve talked in my department about defining our goals for Spanish majors: what should they know before they graduate. Some people say they can't graduate without knowing about El Quixote and Cien Años de Soledad. Some faculty feel that all Spanish majors should graduate knowing about morphemes. Well, what are we actually teaching them? Although students might not read El Quixote and Cien Años de Soledad, our current curriculum ensures that they will have at least one literature class. Same with linguistics.

What we aren't teaching our Spanish majors is the on-the-ground socio-political realities of Spanish speakers in the US. I know this because my students have usually taken many Spanish classes, several of them have even studied abroad, and yet they don't know the most basic information about issues of concern to millions of Spanish-speakers in the US. And it's not the students' fault!

So, feel free to try this lesson with your students. And please leave a comment with activities that you do with your students to teach them about political policies regarding immigration. Or about Dreamers. Or about ways to model civic engagement to our students.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Team Projects in My "Spanish and Entrepreneurship" Class

by Ann Abbott

Today was dedicated to ensuring that all my Spanish community service learning students (~50) were signed up and set up for their work with a community partner. It's so nice to see that students have taken advantage of many, though not all, of the various organizations available to them. Click here to see the list of community partners. I was especially excited when I heard from a student that he would like to work with the Latino Boy Scouts because I haven't had a student there for quite some time.

Now I have turned my attention to the team projects in my 300-level course--Spanish & Entrepreneurship: Language, Cultures & Communities.

Each project allows students to develop teamwork skills and apply the entrepreneurial concepts we learn during the course. Take a look at all the projects that are available to them.

And here is the email I sent to students:

Dear SPAN 332 students,

Now that everyone has signed up for a community partner, there is something new you must sign up for: your team project.


Then, be thoughtful about which project you sign up for.
·         What skills would you like to develop?  For example, if you would like to work on your public speaking, sign up for Project #4. If you would like to be able to put on your resume that you have experience with grant-writing (that would look great on resumes in certain fields!), sign up for Project #5.
·         What talents/skills do you already possess that you can utilize? If you have done lots of fundraisers for your RSO or sorority/fraternity, put your name under Project #6. If you have taken classes in marketing, join any of the social media marketing projects (#1, #2, #3).
·         What’s your personality? If you’re highly social, choose a project that involves speaking and interacting with others. If you like to research, why not research grant opportunities?
·         What’s your life like? Do you need to get things done early this semester because you know you have tons of projects and exams due in May? Sign up for #4. Do you like to spread out your work at slower, more steady pace? Do the weekly social media marketing.

When we meet for class on Thursday, Cheelan Bolin will give us a class on teams and teamwork. (She gives a longer version of this class to MBA students, so she really knows what she is doing.) She wants everyone to know what team they are working on before the start of class (1:00) on Thursday.

As always, if you have any questions or problems, just ask me. This is the last thing you have to sign up for! Things will be smooth—and fun—the rest the semester.

Ann Abbott, Director of Undergraduate Studies
Dept. of Spanish and Portuguese; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Office hours for Spring 2015: 2:00 T/R in 4006 FLB 217-333-6714


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Student Spotlight: Katrina Steffes

Katrina and her lovely family--soon to include one more.
by Ann Abbott

Do you love languages and cultures? Do translation and interpreting interest you? Ever thought about starting your own business?

Then Katrina Steffes and her business, Steffes & Associates Language and Translation SALT, will inspire you. Take a look at SALT's business website, check out Katrina's LinkedIn profile, and consider connecting with her on LinkedIn.

I really admire that Katrina's business does this: "SALT donates 10% of its profits to charities, including CFCA (Christian Foundation for Children and Aging), World Vision, and Heifer International, allowing SALT to build hope and offer support through language and communication."

Here's part of a message I recently received from Katrina. She's doing exciting work, so be sure to reach out and connect if you would like to include in your network someone who transformed her language studies to a language business.
There are a lot of exciting events going on with SALT Translation that I would love to share with you as well as catch up on the work that you are doing and what is happening within your department.

I am preparing to release my first book translation (a murder mystery) shortly, hopefully within the first quarter of 2015 (before the baby is born!). SALT is also going to start a research study with participating businesses in the legal, medical, and financial sectors to discover how much time their employees spend each week on non-job-related language service duties (translation, sight-translation and interpretation). We hope to use the results to better educate area businesses on the benefits of using a language service provider.

I have been using all of the skills I acquired working with you throughout my internship, study abroad and thesis experiences to prepare the study! I look forward to seeing how it unfolds.

Thank you again for your support and for all that you have taught me! I look forward to catching up soon!

Katrina

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Spanish Service Learning and the MLA Job Market

by Ann Abbott

A graduate student just returned from the MLA convention and sent me this note:

I just got back from the MLA and wanted to let you know that out of the 9 interviews I've had over the past month, six of them asked specifically about my experiences with service learning, often at length (including both research 1 schools). I think this is a really encouraging sign, not only in terms of my possibilities for getting a job and teaching service learning courses in the future, but also that a lot of schools are looking to incorporate service learning into their curriculum. Thank you for your mentorship in this area!
I firmly believe that our graduate students deserve at least one course on the scholarship of engagement and languages for specific purposes.

What are your thoughts about graduate students, Spanish community service learning, graduate education, and the job market?

Friday, January 2, 2015

Student Reflection

by Nicole Tauster

Mi corazón está en Granada por siempre

I wrote about studying abroad in general in my last post and about travel before that, but now I just have to share my specific experience. Almost 2 years ago, in the spring of my sophomore year of college, I spent a semester studying abroad in Granada, Spain and my life has never been the same.

I knew I wanted to go to a Spanish-speaking country to be able to complete my Spanish minor while I was abroad and focus on class for my major upon my return. I ruled out Latin America just because there were so many other places I wanted to visit in Europe and I knew it would be easy to travel from country to country over there. So I settled on Spain, but the next question was which city to study in. I wanted a pure experience; I didn’t want the influence of Catalan that was so strong in Barcelona. I didn’t want an especially big city because I wanted to experience Spain, not a tourist destination. So that left Bilbao in the north of Spain or Granada in the south. Both looked appealing, but the thing that really convinced me was the living situation. Students in Bilbao lived in dorm-style housing or apartments but in Granada students were placed with host families. This sealed the deal for me; I would be totally immersed in the culture and the language if I lived with a Spanish family, which was exactly what I was looking for.

I filled out an application about my preferences (did I care if my host family smoked? Had pets?) and about my dietary needs. I am vegetarian so I was a little concerned I would not get an accommodating family, but when I finally got the e-mail in December telling me about the family I was placed with, it sounded like a perfect match. I couldn’t wait to meet them when I arrived in January. When my whole group of about 70 students from 3 different Big Ten universities arrived in Granada, we all stayed in a hostel together in the center of town. Our program directors took us on tours and taught us things we needed to know in orientations over the next few days and then it would be time to move in with our host families. The day before our families would pick us up from the hostel, we gathered together and received maps of Granada with our homes marked on them. When the secretary of the school got to me, she said she needed to explain mine to me… I was worried, and a little offended. Did I really look so dumb that I couldn’t read a map?! But she handed me an envelope along with my map and explained that there had been some kind of emergency and my host family couldn’t put me up anymore. I was being assigned a new family—less than 24 hours before I was supposed to go live with them! As you can imagine, I panicked. The Wi-Fi at the hostel had broken, Verizon set up my international phone plan wrong so I couldn’t make phone calls. I had no way to get in touch with my parents and tell them everything had changed and give them my new address. My freak-out continued pretty much until I arrived at my host family’s apartment the next day. By then I was just nervous, my host mom was hard to read and I couldn’t tell if we’d get along. I was so disappointed; I thought my other family was the perfect fit, so how would this one be?

My “madre” lived with her youngest daughter, who was 25, and her other 2 daughters lived nearby. Her husband had passed away several years ago, but all her daughters came over to her place for lunch and “siesta” that day to meet me. Now, like many people, I had studied Spanish in school since 7th grade, so I thought that meant I knew it. Right? WRONG. There is nothing like having lunch with 4 fast-talking native Spanish-speaking women to make you realize you know NOTHING. I am someone who has never been shy, I am the girl who was voted “Most Talkative” in high school, but I could barely carry on a conversation with them. Fluent I was not. I also tiptoed around the apartment for the first few days (okay, weeks). Even though I was living there and had my own room, I felt like a guest in their home.

Eventually, though, that feeling began to dissipate. They were very sweet, welcoming, and understanding. My host mother and sisters smiled through my “umms” and “uhhhs” as my brain struggled to translate my thoughts from English to Spanish. They patiently waited when I held up a finger and consulted my dictionary countless times. They also corrected me sometimes, which was embarrassing as it sounds, but it really did help. As the semester progressed, my confidence and proficiency in speaking and comprehension rose so much my host mom even commented on it. One day, as we were sitting on the couch talking and having a snack after I got back from class, she mentioned how much I had improved. She said I didn’t pause as much anymore, I spoke more fluently. This was the best compliment.

Besides just being able to talk to my host family and have them better understand me, I grew close with my family. I went out with the 2 younger sisters and their boyfriends and friends, I got invited to family parties, I watched cartoons and colored with my host mother’s sassy 5-year-old granddaughter… I really became a part of the family and this shaped my entire study abroad experience in a major way. I realize I was one of the lucky ones; not everyone on my trip got a great family or bonded with them in the way I did with mine, and for that I consider myself very fortunate. And to think, this wasn’t even the family I was originally supposed to have! As my real mother said, maybe some things happen for a reason and I was really meant to live with the second host family I got.

Like I said in a previous post, some of my best experiences happened when things did not go the way I planned. I guess Granada is just the best example of that. I still write to my host family from time to time and I plan to return to Spain after I graduate this May. And you can bet I will be visiting the people and the city that changed my life more than once! I hope everyone gets to visit the beautiful and enchanting city that is Granada someday. There is a famous line by the Mexican poet Francisco de Icaza: “Dale limosna, mujer, que no hay en la vida nada como la pena de ser ciego en Granada.” It translates to: “Give him alms, woman, for there is nothing sadder in life than being blind in Granada.” I can honestly say this sentiment is true, it would be an incredible shame to be unable to see the beauty in Granada, and I can’t wait to see it again. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Stop and Listen: What Are People Saying about Your Language Program?

by Ann Abbott

We rush so much. The semesters are a blur. In understaffed language departments, there is a lot of motion, a lot of commotion as we attend to a myriad of tasks, sometimes pulling us away, sometimes pulling us toward our passion and our goal: to give our students an excellent education. We pass our colleagues in the hall with a quick nod and wave to students across the quad. We race through the days then disconnect during breaks.

Part of the busy-ness that makes us rush are the myriad ways in which we evaluate and asses our programs: surveys to write, administer, analyze and report; data to feed into the College's software that measures departments' strengths; annual activity reports that need to hefty enough to show you are working and meeting goals.

But sometimes, when you slow down, when you least expect it, you will hear vital feedback.

Here are some unsolicited comments I heard this semester:

  • "I love Spanish, but I don't want to major in it."
  • "I know a lot of students take all the courses in the Spanish minor except the required intro to linguistics, literature and culture courses. They only want part of the minor: the courses that focus on the language."
  • Summarizing several different students' words: students love their Spanish professor, like being in their class, but the course material doesn't resonate with them.
  • "The advanced Spanish courses are repetitive. In every class you read and discuss, read and discuss."
These people were just talking, not consciously providing feedback. They weren't filling out a survey that framed the questions and their responses in a pre-determined way. These were spontaneous comments in free-floating conversations. And while we obviously don't want to make assumptions based solely on individual comments, when you stop and listen, you'll often receive valuable feedback.

Now, what to do?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Student Reflection

by Nicole Tauster

Study Abroad – Just Do It!

Even though you have probably already heard this from everyone you know that has gone abroad, I am going to echo the sentiment that you should ABSOLUTELY spend a semester studying abroad in a foreign country!

If you think you don’t have time based on your major, 4-year-plan, or any other academic reasons, I urge you to explore your options further. At the time I went abroad, I was an education major and they really discouraged us from studying abroad. This is because most people typically study abroad their junior year and that’s when I had to take all professional sequence education courses that I couldn’t take anywhere else. So what did I do? I went abroad during the spring semester of my sophomore year. I thought I was going to be the only one who wasn’t a junior, but surprisingly enough there were several other people my age on my program. I also know people that have gone in the fall or the spring of their senior year. There are also lots of shorter programs you can do during the summer or even over winter break. If you can’t spare a whole semester, look into a 2- or 6-week program. There are some pretty cool options, like China, India, or Costa Rica. And don’t just limit yourself to looking within your major program! Check out RSOs with travel opportunities. My friend is going to India this winter break through a club at U of I! So even if you think you don’t have time to go, do yourself a favor and think again.

Another concern people have is cost, which I totally get, I was worried too! But one nice thing is that tuition is actually cheaper than normal for your semester abroad. One of my friends told me her parents joked and asked if they could send her back to Spain to save some tuition money! So that helps, but if you are still worried about your financial situation, you could consider applying for aid, grants, or scholarships. There are about a million different study abroad scholarships out there, just dive into the depths of the internet. They might require you to write an essay, but be smart about it. See if you can write one response and reuse it for different scholarship applications. Kind of like you did when you were applying to college… Don’t lie, we all did it. Aside from academic cost, you’re definitely going to want to have spending money for traveling and fun stuff, like souvenirs and snacks. If you already know you want to study abroad, be smart about your money. Start saving it up now, get a job, ask relatives for money to put towards your trip for the holidays/your birthday. All of these things can help defray the final cost.

Even if you are concerned about all things I just mentioned, I STILL urge you to explore the possibility of studying abroad. It is such a singular, unique, and incredible experience. There really is nothing like living in a foreign country for an extended period of time. You convert from being a tourist to being a resident, especially if you are there for a whole semester. You have to learn to rely on yourself and the kindness of others to survive and get by and maybe even to just get where you’re trying to go. But these are experiences everyone should have in life. Not only will you get the chance to learn about another place and culture, but you will learn about yourself. I truly hope all of you get that opportunity at some point in life. Studying abroad changed my life and it could change yours too.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Simple Gestures Mean a Lot in Community Service Learning

by Ann Abbott

At the end of each semester, my students write thank-you notes to their community partner. (See page 150, Lección 23 ¨¿Cómo vamos a despedirnos?¨, Activity 23-1 in Comunidades: Más allá del aula.) During finals week I mailed the cards from the last couple of semesters with a hand-written thank-you note from me, too. It felt good to get them off my hands and into the hands of the people to whom they belonged: our community partners who do so much to train, develop and teach my students when they're in the community.

I received the email below from one of my community partners, and I wanted to just make note of a few things that stood out to me:
  • Hand-written notes from students that express their thanks as well as specific examples of what they learned with the community partner are very appreciated. In a way, writing those notes during class is a simple thing to do. (Although I always work with students to help them edit their Spanish, vary their vocabulary--there is more than one way to say "gracias"--and to remember that it is always "gracias por"!) It's a small gesture, but it has real value.
  • When she reached out, Lila made a kind gesture to me, too. She told me about two new faculty members with whom I might share interests. I emailed back, told Lila that I would invite them to lunch next semester, and asked if she'd like to join, too. When you work in public engagement, networking is vital. How can you be in public engagement if you aren't engaged? So, thank you, Lila, for mentioning your new colleagues to me.
  • Stories have a big impact. The student (name changed) that Lila describes, wasn't my own student; she was in my TA's section of "Spanish in the Community." Hearing her story is powerful!

Hi Ann,

What a wonderful surprise to receive the thank-you notes from former SOAR tutors. I loved reading the notes! Thank you!

This semester [Marie] was the only student to sign up to volunteer at SOAR for her service-learning course. I believe she enjoyed the experience and benefitted from it, since she signed up to continue working with the same Spanish-speaking 2nd grader during the spring semester.  :)  [Marie] also had the opportunity to volunteer in the bilingual class during the school day for additional experience and hours. The bilingual teachers at Garden Hills are always so accommodating as they love the Spanish 232/332 students.

We have two new professors in the College of Education – Dr. Patrick Smith, Associate Professor of Bilingual Education and Literacy, and Dr. Luz AlbaMurillo, Associate Professor of Bilingual/Literacy/Reading Education. I hope you have the opportunity to meet them sometime during the spring semester, if you haven’t met them already.

Thank you for offering Spanish community service-learning students the opportunity to volunteer as tutors with the bilingual children who stay for the SOAR after-school program.

Happy Holidays!

Lila

Student Reflection

by Nicole Tauster

Give in to Wanderlust

Wanderlust is defined as a strong desire to travel or longing to wander. People often say they’ve been bitten by the travel bug; once they start they just can’t get enough and want to keep going. I am here to say I am one of those people.

Almost exactly 2 years ago I left the Chicago area to spend a semester studying abroad in Granada, Spain. I knew it would be amazing; I hoped I would love it and come back with great stories and even better memories, but it was greater than my wildest dreams. Not just my time in Granada, which was incredible (I’ll talk more about this in another post), but the experiences I had outside of Granada were equally important.

Traveling to other parts of Spain and other European countries was an amazing opportunity that I’m so thankful I had. I learned so much about cultures other than my own, but more importantly I learned a lot about myself. Within Spain I could use my Spanish to help me get around: I could read a map or metro schedule, I could go right up to people and ask questions if I was lost, I could even ask people to take my picture and they could understand me! Granted, the confidence to do all these things did not come right away (although I’ve never been a shy person) because I was still a bit embarrassed by my Spanish-speaking abilities. But know that the more you talk to people, even if it’s just to ask a quick question, your confidence will grow and you will feel more comfortable approaching people and initiating a conversation with them. My travels within Spain were great for this, and of course for practicing speaking and listening skills in my non-native language. 

But the times I learned the most about myself were the times I traveled by myself. Before I did that, I probably would NOT have recommended it to anyone. I mean, traveling around Europe by yourself? As a 20-year-old American girl? Some of my friends told me my stories sounded like the beginning to the movie “Taken 2”. Maybe they did, but I didn’t care anymore. I had incredible experiences, especially when things didn’t go as planned!

During our first week-long vacation I traveled with 2 other friends to Italy for a few days, but they wanted to return early and spend several days in Madrid. I wanted to keep going, keep traveling further away from Spain. I thought I’d go see my best friend who was studying abroad in Belgium, but it turned out it wasn’t a good time for her. So the day before my friends left for Madrid, I booked an entire trip to Budapest, Hungary by myself. I was nervous, but excited! And it turned out to be the best decision I ever made. I met other girls my age from all over the world at my hostel and I now have places to stay if I ever want to visit Brazil or Singapore. Before they adopted me though, I ate lunch in a nearby restaurant and asked my waiter what sights I should see. I took his recommendation and crossed the Danube River via the old Chain Bridge and ascended Castle Mount. Night was falling as I did so and by the time I reached the top of the very, very large hill it was dark and the city was lit up for the night. Being up there alone, with the most incredible view, I had an epiphany: I realized I could do things like this by myself. I didn’t need anyone else with me to be able to travel to amazing places and do new things. I accomplished crossing the city, climbing this hill, and finding my way back to my hostel with a map and my own wits.

That was a defining moment for me, a freeing moment. Realizing I could successfully travel on my own gave me the confidence to do it again. I think it is something everyone needs to do. I would recommend trying it first in a country where you speak the language, then branch out when you feel comfortable. But trust me, once you start, you won’t want to stop. I’m already trying to plot my return to Europe after graduation! And then hopefully to South America, Asia, etc. I plan on giving in to my wanderlust; I hope you do too. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Student Reflection

by Nicole Tauster


A Lesson from Volunteering at ECIRMAC

This semester I volunteered at the East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center in Urbana and helped with the clients that were Latino immigrants. Certainly they came to the Refugee Center for a great variety of reasons, some familiar and some foreign to me, ranging in degree of severity and difficulty. But the women who worked in the office that I interacted with—Deb, Guadalupe, Ha, and Maite—always did whatever they could to help their clients. Me? I think I was able to help about as often as I wasn’t. Sometimes I felt like I wasn’t really all that helpful in fact. Sure, I could answer the phone and take a message if the caller wanted to speak to someone who was out of the office, but I didn’t necessarily have the knowledge to help some of the clients in certain situations. So I awkwardly hovered besides Guadalupe waiting for instruction, maybe pulling a file before returning to my place at an empty desk to answer the phone. I remember feeling like the clients must have thought I wasn’t a particularly useful asset to the Center since sometimes all I could do was make small talk with them in Spanish as they waited to speak with Guadalupe.

When I first began volunteering I worked with a client whose husband was picked up by the local Champaign police while he was just walking down the street. They ran his name and discovered he was an undocumented immigrant and turned him over to ICE. Scared, confused, and looking for answers, his wife came to ECIRMAC and asked Guadalupe for help locating her husband. Although I couldn’t be of much service, I was able to pull the client’s file and verify her information and her husband’s.

Another day a man that had difficulty transferring money to his brother in Mexico came to see Guadalupe about the problems he encountered. Guadalupe had yet to arrive, but was due shortly, but again I really did not have the information or knowledge to help this client either. The strange thing is I remember these two people and their situations specifically because I didn’t really help them. I could not do very much for them, and yet they still thanked me as they left. I realized all I had really done was speak with them in Spanish, even if it was just small talk or me apologizing for being unable to help them more, but I realized that was not nothing. It clearly meant something to them, and maybe something bigger than I knew, when all they heard all day long is English.

The Latino immigrants that come to the Refugee Center have come to the United States for a variety of reasons. It is possible that their native countries were unstable or dangerous, either politically and/or socially or by way of natural disasters, and they came here seeking somewhere to live where they would not have to fear for their safety. Or perhaps they simply wanted better educational or occupational opportunities for themselves and their families. Whatever their reason or motive for coming, immigrating to America is no easy task. Many citizens are suspicious of immigrants, criticizing them for not learning English, worrying that they will steal jobs from Americans and live off taxpayer money since they are here illegally. It can be exhausting, depressing, and just plain difficult to face that kind of prejudiced sentiment day in and day out. So perhaps hearing someone speak their native language to them is a pleasant surprise. Maybe it bolsters their confidence and shows them that there are some people who don’t mind them being here in America, even welcome it. There is a chance it even gives them a sense of pride to see a non-native Spanish-speaker, someone who elected to learn their mother tongue, initiate a conversation with them. So even if that is all I did to help the immigrants at ECIRMAC overcome their challenges, then I feel I accomplished.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Reflections on Teaching about Immigration in a Spanish Community Service Learning Course

by Ann Abbott

I didn't attend the ACTFL conference in San Antonio this year, but I was slated to be on a panel did send a screencast so that my fellow panelists could share my information. Click here to see and listen to the screencast: "Reflection on Teaching Immigration." 

Here's the description of the panel:

Infusing Immigration Dynamics in our Global Classrooms

Immigration has historically been a controversial topic and can be difficult to discuss in a respectful way in the foreign language classroom. In this session, we examine strategies to incorporate this topic in the curriculum, and teaching methods and materials to utilize in university and high school language classrooms.

Presenter(s): Katherine Fowler-Cordova, Miami University; Annie Abbott, University of Illinois,
Urbana-Champaign; Jennene Alexander, Monroe High School

I usually think of ACTFL as a place for me to share very concrete ideas, lesson plans, tips, etc. That way, people can leave with something very tangible in their hands, and they can even turn around and implement it in their own teaching if they want to.

This time, though, I wanted to take a broader view of things. I wanted to look back over the ten years (yes, ten years) that I have been doing Spanish community service learning and tease out some of the things that I have learned about teaching about immigration over that time. The result is the screencast above. (I have so much more to say, and so many specific examples of teach main theme, but a Jing screencast can only last five minutes.)

Here are the slides on SlideShare:

What are your thoughts about teaching language students about immigration? What successes have you had? What topics or lesson plans have flopped, and what did you learn from that? How comfortable are you teaching about immigration? Let me know in the comments.

Thank you, Katie Fowler, for your idea about having a panel on this topic, for inviting me, and for creating such a dynamic mixture of talented language educators as panelists.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

New Article: Spanish in the professions and in the community in the US

by Ann Abbott

I'm very happy to see one of my writing projects now published: Spanish in the professions and in the US.

Barbara Lafford was the lead author and generously asked Darcy Lear and me to co-author with her.

Here's what I wrote about the article when I shared it on Facebook:
CSL and LSP are gaining steam, but there are some core issues that need to be addressed: 1) a curriculum focused on creating informed/resourceful bilingual professionals, not always so specific; 2) integrating LSP and CSL throughout the curriculum, not just at the higher-level courses; 3) making sure faculty are well trained in the foundational, ethical principals of CSL and LSP; and 4) building a solid research base.
And here's the abstract:

Over the past two decades, Languages for Specific Purposes (LSP) and Community Service Learning (CSL) in the United States (US) have gained traction in post-secondary institutions. Abbott and Lear (2010) established that CSL provides excellent opportunities for students to meet the National Foreign Language Standards. After establishing a brief historical overview of programs and research in the fields of Spanish LSP and CSL, this paper provides an overview of core issues facing the field, i.e., the need to (1) focus LSP on a new specific purpose (foundational training in professionalism) (i.e., those linguistic abilities, behaviors, skills, and manners that are vital to all professions in the target culture), (2) thread this training in professionalism throughout the curriculum (from basic language, to majors, to graduate students), (3) build interdisciplinarity among faculty through professional development, especially in the field of CSL, and (4) provide professional research training to second language acquisition scholars, graduate students, and LSP scholars/practitioners to build the research base in LSP and in experiential learning in CSL environments (Lafford 2012, 2013). This study concludes with an exploration of the challenges and rewards of implementing those LSP and CSL action items and proposes directions for future research. 

En las últimas dos décadas, la inclusión de lenguas para fines específicos (LFE) y el aprendizaje-servicio (APS) en el currículo universitario en los Estados Unidos ha ganado terreno. Abbott y Lear (2010) establecieron que el APS provee excelentes oportunidades para alcanzar los Estándares Nacionales para las Lenguas Extranjeras. Después de ofrecer un breve repaso histórico de programas e investigaciones en los campos de LFE y APS, este trabajo plantea un repaso de asuntos clave que enfrentan estos campos en torno a la necesidad de: (1) enfocar LFE hacia un nuevo propósito específico: la formación profesional básica (las habilidades, los comportamientos, las destrezas y las maneras que sean vitales para todas las profesiones en la cultura meta), (2) incorporar esta formación profesional en el curriculo (desde la lengua básica hasta el nivel de los especialistas y los estudiantes de posgrado), (3) construir un ambiente interdisciplinario entre los profesores por medio del desarrollo profesional, sobre todo en el campo de APS, y (4) proporcionar formación en técnicas de investigación a especialistas en adquisición de segundas lenguas, alumnos de posgrado y profesionales en LFE para construir una base investigadora tanto en LFE como en el aprendizaje experiencial en contextos de APS (Lafford 2012, 2013). Por último, este estudio explora los retos y los beneficios de la implementación de estos asuntos clave y propone caminos para futuras investigaciones.