Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Five Skills Every Spanish Community Service Learning Instructor Needs

by Ann Abbott

1. Listening skills. Ask your students and community partners questions that you really want to know the answer to. Then listen carefully. Sometimes you have to read between the lines. And sometimes you might not like what they have to say.

2. Creativity. Every teacher needs creativity, but when you're teaching Spanish community service learning (CSL) you have to constantly find new ways to bridge the students' classroom and community experiences.

3. Engagement. Frankly, some instructors treat CSL like a homework assignment. "Go out there. Do something. Write me a paper about it." If you're not engaged in the community yourself, it shows.

4. Flexibility. You know those students who panic if they don't know what the test is going to be like--multiple choice or essay?! They'll have a hard time in a Spanish CSL course. Some instructors are the same way. You need to plan, but then go with the flow.

5. Organization. I just said you need flexibility, and now I'm saying you need to be organized. You need both.

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