Showing posts from July, 2008

Update on Spanish Community Service Learning Student, Nick Ludmer

The University of Illinois' homepage features an update on "Illini 4000 for Cancer." In an earlier post, I wrote about Nick Ludmer's work at Booker T. Washington Elementary School over two semesters for his Spanish community service learning work as well as his work with Illini 4000.

Well, now you can see on their website that they are in Oregon, close to the end of their journey across the US. You can also read what Nick has posted during their trip.

Congratulations, Nick, and good luck to the end.

Donations can be made on-line.


Social Entrepreneurship Summer Institute

This summer I had the privilege of participating again in the Social Entrepreneurship Summer Institute offered by UIUC's College of Business and the Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership and led by Assistant Dean Collete Niland.

What is the connection with Spanish community service learning?

I gave a talk on Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Among other things, I used the Spanish & Illinois program as an example of innovation in the not-for-profit (higher ed) sector. I also asked the representatives of the participating not-for-profits if they had innovated within their own organizations in order to meet the growing "market" of Latinos in Champaign County.

While most people think of innovation in terms of science and technology, innovation can be found everywhere and take many shapes. Community service learning is certainly an innovation within Spanish language , and it can be decidely low-tech (or not).

Furthermore, "innovation" does not have to be a to…

Where's the Learning in Spanish Service Learning?: Sabrina Uddin Tells Us on YouTube

Assessment in Spanish community service learning (and in CSL in general) can be the subject of much debate. In Spanish, some important questions are:

*How do you assess students' language skills? Differently than in a regular classroom?*What language skills do you assess? For example, do we continue to assess "textbook grammar" when students are working with "real-world grammar"?Students often report that Spanish CSL increases their confidence in speaking Spanish with native speakers? How can we assess "confidence"?How do we assess student gains in cultural awareness? The "culture in a box" strategy presented in most textbooks and many classrooms is easy to test with simple comprehension questions. But how do you even know what to test from students' "live" interactions with Latino cultures in the community?What is the role of written exams in a Spanish CSL course? Oral exams?Precisely how do we "test what we teach and HOW …