Showing posts from May, 2008

Spanish Community Service Learning Can Be Laced with Sadness

Normally on this blog and elsewhere I talk enthusiastically about the postive benefits of Spanish community service learning. The learning IS positive, but the realities can be very sad sometimes.

Amy Lewensky was a wonderful student in my "Spanish & Entrepreneurship" class, and she did her community service learning at Booker T. Washington school in Champaign. That summer she had a summer internship through the Spanish & Illinois program, and she worked at Central States SER, located in la Villita in Chicago. She did such a wonderful job that they hired her themselves the following summer. (And I have always been so impressed by Amy's energy, organization, smarts and style, that I asked her to work with me on the internship program this year. She has been absolutely wonderful.)

Central States SER provides very important education and job training for the local community. Amy jumped right in, teaching an ESL class the very first day of her internship there, a…

Liz: Interlangua Is Useful and Fun for Spanish Community Service Learning Students

I just finished my lesson with Interlangua! It was very fun! I actually ended up talking through the program for about 2 hours! It was very interesting, you can see your tutor on the screen, but there is also an area where you can type back and forth, if they want to teach you a new word or sometimes it helps to see the word if you are having trouble with the pronunciation. It was similar to an instant messenger, which is nice because then you can scroll back up to see a new vocabulary word if you need to remember it later on in the conversation. Plus they have a blank screen where you can put pictures. My tutor put up some pictures of festivals in Guatemala. The nice thing is the tutors can also use a highlighter to point out something interesting in the photo. I thought the program was very well put together and I really liked all of the interactive tools. I felt like it really used all of the different aspects of learning a language. I practiced my speaking and listening skills, bu…

Can Interlangua Help Spanish Community Service Learning Students?

Liz Girten did such a good job trying out and reviewing that now I'm asking her to do the same with If another student is interested in doing the same, just let me know.
My SPAN 332 "Spanish & Entrepreneurship" students analyzed InterLangua on their midterm exam. The first question: Is Interlangua an example of social entrepreneurship as defined in Greg Dees' book "Enterprising Nonprofits." Last question: should Spanish & Illinois require students to use Interlangua. Students thought it was a great company with a lot of value, but when asked to vote with their wallets, the majority said no. Well, now Liz can try it and tell us what kind of value it would truly bring to our Spanish community service learning courses.
Depending on what Liz finds, I'd like to explore a "customized" service with Interlangua. They work with students and business people on medical Spanish, business Spanis…

Claire Tinley: Former Spanish Community Service Learning Student and Video Producer

Claire Tinley was a wonderful student in my SPAN 232 "Spanish in the Community" course. She then studied abroad in Argentina, a wonderful choice for students who want to take classes with local college students and break away from the big "packs" of UIUC students who go on other programs. I loved getting her colorful e-mails while she was abroad.

This semester she enrolled in a very popular course on our campus, "Writing with Video." Prof. Joseph Squier (a Faculty Fellow and the Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership and friend of mine) and his colleague began the course in order to use visual media to teach what is usually taught in written form in a college rhetoric course (read more about it). Clair contacted me a few weeks ago to say that she wanted to do her final video on bilingualism--a wonderful topic. But as is often the case, ideas and assignments morph and she ended up doing a fascinating video on environmental racism. Watch it here.

I learn…