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Showing posts from March, 2010

Student Reflection

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by Bridget Kern


Over the past few weeks I have experienced a new service learning opportunity. While I still attend Spanish Story Time at the Urbana Free Library every month, I also found myself volunteering with the School of Social Work. When I initially signed up to work with the School of Social Work, I thought that I would be babysitting children while their mothers attended a weekly seminar about depression. Once I arrived however, I found that I had been recruited for a different task. The director of the group sessions found that during the course of the semester many women were unable to make it to the weekly group meetings because their carpool driver had other commitments and no other transportation was available to them. While Champaign-Urbana has one of the best bus systems in the state, many of the women were intimidated to utilize the bus as a method of travel because the schedules, buses and signs are all in English. My new project for the School of Social Work is to me…

What Are Your Sound Bites for Your Spanish Community Service Learning Program?

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by Ann Abbott
In my job, I concentrate on several things: Spanish community service learning (CSL).Entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurshipBusiness SpanishSocial MediaIn my mind, these four items are seamlessly linked. But for most people I encounter, they seem like four disparate elements. Many times people in my field aren't event familiar with all the terms on that list, let alone how they can work together.
Long ago, I realized that I need to find a catchy phrase that expressed what those elements are and how they are linked in Spanish & Illinois. Well, I'm still searching for that catchy phrase!
Sounds bites have a bad reputation, for many reasons. They oversimplify complex issues, and they can be used to manipulate public discourse. However, it seems to me that they do have a use. For example, I can't begin to have a nuanced discussion with someone about the issues I deal with if they haven't first understood what they are. We need to make sure that …

Highlights from the 2010 CIBER Business Languages Conference

by Ann Abbott
*"Brand Management in the Global Market Place" Keynote address by Elana Drell Szyfer, Senior Vice President of Global Marketing, Estee Lauder Companies At lunch today we were treated to a wonderful presentation about how a billion-dollar cosmetic company defines its customer, sells globally, yet deploys local solutions that are culturally-specific. For example, their work with makeup artist, Tom Pecheux, is in part motivated by the difficulties they face in the French market, as a non-French brand. Also in France, they have been stymied by the different ways in which their products are distributed locally. They are very good, Ms. Drell Szyfer said, at selling in department stores. That's their core competency. But in France, outside of some big department stores in big cities, their products are sold in parfurmeries. This means that their products are displayed in separate parts of the stores, and Estee Lauder is going through a difficult negotiation p…

How to Improve Your Pronunciation of Spanish

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by Ann Abbott
In almost all my Spanish classes, near the end of the semester, I talk to students about their Spanish pronunciation and enunciation. It feels very silly to tell students where to put their tongue when they pronounce a "d" in Spanish and then have everyone do it.
But I notice that it is a lightbulb moment for many students. It doesn't mean that they will always be able to control their pronunciation when their minds are busy searching for words, stringing together sentences, and trying to use the correct grammar. That's already a lot to do! But many of them seem happy to hear someone explain the differences between what they do with their tongue and mouth when they say a "t" in English, for example, and what they should do when they say it in Spanish.
In the future, I may ask my students to do the modules at Prof. Gillian Ward's site, "Tal como suena." When you're at the site, click on "Modules" in the upper rig…

Social Media for Business: My Presentation at the CIBER Business Languages Conference

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by Ann Abbott
>This year, the 2010 CIBER Business Languages Conference is in Philadelphia and focuses on "Global Literacies: Integrated Approaches to Cross-Cultural Training."
Here are a few sessions of interest:
My presentation. Social Media for Business: Online Lessons for Analysis and Action. I will talk about the modules on social media for business that I prepared using Jing for last semester's Business Spanish class.
Darcy Lear, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. "Developing Cross-cultural Literacy and Language Proficiency Through Service-learning." Darcy will talk about the role of service learning in the minor her department offers in Spanish for the Professions.
Susanna Easton. U.S. Department of Education Grant Opportunities: the Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language (UISFL) and Business in International Education (BIE) Programs. I always think that I'm going to apply for the BIE grant, so I want to attend this sess…

Decorate to Celebrate Your Community Service Learning Successes

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by Ann Abbott
I always enjoy reading "Fast Company," and I especially enjoy two columns: "Made to Stick" by Dan and Chip Heath (this one about VanHalen is great) and "Do Something" by Nancy Lublin.
Lublin's March column talks about burn-out in the non-profit sector and gives tips about how to combat it. In a way, the very passion to be an agent of social change that motivates people to take jobs in the non-profit sector is the very characteristic that can get stifled, leading to burn-out.
In my "Spanish & Entrepreneurship" course, I can see that many students feel passionate about social entrepreneurship, working in the non-profit sector, using their Spanish to have a positive impact in Spanish-speaking communities and putting their love of travel to work in international settings. I recognize that passion because it is why I studied Spanish, studied abroad, speak and listen to at least four languages in my personal life, do communit…

12 Months to a Community Service Learning Course: February

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by Ann Abbott
February: Volunteer yourself.
Block out a few hours in your month, and do what you will ask your students to do: work in the community. This will accomplish several things, including the following: You can identify potential hurdles for your students. If something is hard for you, it will probably--though not necessarily--be hard for them.You can pin-point the academic concepts of your course that will be highlighted through their community service learning (CSL) work.You can anticipate questions and concerns that students will have and can sketch an outline of what an orientation session would likely include.You may decide that a community organization that seemed like an ideal partner just won't work out. In my case, maybe the students wouldn't use Spanish enough. Maybe you will see that the organization has enough volunteers already. Or that they don't have the necessary infrastructure to handle your students.Don't know where you could volunteer? Start wi…

Spanish & Entrepreneurship Student Uses Fellowship to Start a Micro-lending Program in Guatemala

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by guest blogger Darcy Lear
In my last post, I wrote about Morgan Abbott, a Spanish & Entrepreneurship student, and her work in Africa. If you're like me, the question you are asking is "Africa!? In Spanish & Entrepreneurship?"
Morgan's experience in my Spanish & Entrepreneurship course showed me how important it is to open up the service-learning placement list to students' own projects and passions. I missed the tremendous opportunity to be her faculty mentor because I had not extended that offer to her class. But the next semester I taught Spanish & Entrepreneurship, I was sure to correct that mistake.
In the fall 2009 semester, I had two students take me up on the offer to pursue their own community service-learning placements. One was Santiago Beltrán (pictured here). Santiago received the Entrepreneurial Public Service Fellowship award that he will use this summer to start a micro-loan program in La Limonada, Guatemala City, Guatemala. His…

Is It Possible to Improve Education and Lower Costs at the Same Time?

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by Ann Abbott I can't really answer fully if education can be improved at the same time we lower costs. I can say that I believe that the "technology-enhanced" model that Prof. Diane Musumeci built for our basic Spanish sequence is very successful in many regards. At a Pearson/Prentice Hall symposium that I attended in Chicago this week, Lunden MacDonald from Metropolitan State College in Colorado presented with Bob Hemmer from Prentice Hall about how to use the technology of "My Language Labs" to create high-quality hybrid and totally on-line language courses. Interest in the room was very high! Everyone is facing budget crunches, changing student demographics, limited classroom space, and other challenges that we need to convert into opportunities. Click here to see an explanation of how it worked for Metropolitan State College. Bob mentioned a resource for those who are interested in using technology in their language classes and mainting quality: The Natio…

12 Months to a Community Service Learning Course: January

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by Ann Abbott
January: Tour your community.
You are like me, I'm sure--a busy professional with little free time. This is what most of my days look like: wake up, do our hectic morning routine at home, drop the kids of at school, drive to my office on campus, work until 5:00, go home to relieve the babysitter, do the evening routine at home and go to bed. There are truly many days when I don't go anywhere else besides my house and my building on campus.
Are your days similar to mine?
If we want students to break out of the campus bubble and have enriching and challenging learning experiences in the community, we need to do the same thing ourselves. So one day, drive around the communities where you think your students might be able to do their community service learning (CSL) work. In my case, there are some very well defined areas in Champaign-Urbana where large groups of Spanish-speakers live. By just driving around those communities I can get a sense of the neighborhoods. What …

Sing in Spanish

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by Ann Abbott
I use music less in my Spanish classes than some instructors do. I resist the notion that Spanish classes should entertain students, and games and songs can sometimes reinforce that notion. And unless it goes along with a well-designed activity, what language learning is happening when students sing and memorize songs? (Don't get me wrong--I strive to make my classes active, engaging, challenging and friendly. But expectations that your class should be the "fun" one can be a burden.)
But I realize that now more than ever, people want to and can come into contact with Spanish in many more ways than just in the classroom. Plus, I have a friend who is musically gifted (Chandra, that's you), and she has shown me that associating music and words is simply how her brain works best.
Does that describe you, too? Or do you just love to listen to Spanish-language music while you carry on with your other tasks? Out of college and just want to stay in contact…

12 Months to a Community Service Learning Course

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by Ann Abbott
Lately I have been thinking a lot about what it takes for an instructor to go from thinking about offering a Spanish community service learning (CSL) course--or any CSL course for that matter--to actually doing it.
Some people get excited about teaching a CSL course, pick up the phone, cold call a potential community partner and get everything organized for the following semester. Other people get excited about teaching a CSL course, think about the work it entails and decide they will do it "someday."
What if you could tackle one piece of CSL each month, and in one year you would have successfully planned and taught your first Spanish CSL course? Would that make it seem do-able? Would it help you get over the fear of the unknown?
Here's a 12-month outline. I'll post details about each month in up-coming posts. We're in the middle of March right now, but you can shift the calendar. January. Tour your community--on foot, in your car and on the bus…

Community Partner Spotlight: Child Care Resource Service (CCRS)

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by Ann Abbott
photo 1:Milagros Jerrell, Child Care Resource Specialist photo 2: Samantha Esterman, Spanish community service learning student from SPAN 332 "Spanish & Entrepreneurship" (See left navigation bar on this blog for course information)
Kirsten Hope is working with me this year on the administration of our Spanish community service learning (CSL) program. With over 100 students working with nearly a dozen community partners, we need to check often to see if things are running smoothly. So this semester, Kirsten is personally visiting our community partners while our students are working. This accomplishes a few things: 1) We see that students are actually there when they are supposed to be there; 2) We get to see for ourselves the exact nature of what they are doing; 3) we touch base with our community partners in a face-to-face way; and 4) we get to promote the wonderful work of our community partners on this blog.
Child Care Resource Service (CCRS) was our thi…

UIUC Students: Scholarship Rewards Community Engagement

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by Ann Abbott
Spanish community service learning (CSL) classes provide students with unique leadership opportunities and ways to actively work towards social justice. And the scholarship described below rewards both of those.
Apply today, Spanish CSL students! Show ways that you have honed your leadership skills in the classrooms and agency offices where you work. Describe the tasks that you do and how they help your community partner enfranchise our local Latino community. Finally, show that you are aware of how the steps you take locally and for class credit are connected to larger socio-political issues in our nation and internationally.
If you took SPAN 232 or 332 and apply for this scholarship, I will help you revise your application materials. Just e-mail me (arabbott@illinois.edu) to set up an appointment and write "Fred S. Bailey Scholarship Program" in the subject line.
If you're graduating and can't apply, please e-mail the link to your younger friends…

Spanish & Entrepreneurship Takes Off at the University of North Carolina

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by guest blogger Darcy Lear
Spanish & Entrepreneurship is alive and well at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, where last week Morgan Abbott (no relation to Ann Abbott) received a total of $7000 in support for her entrepreneurial project. Part of that was the Entrepreneurial Public Service fellowship, awarded by the Carolina Center for Public Service, which this year merged with the APPLES service-learing office.
Morgan will use her fellowship to implement Carolina for Amani in the New Life Home Orphanages in Kenya. Carolina for Amani utilizes college interns to update adoption files and psychosocial reports as well as convert them to an electronic format. This will allow for each of the 350 children in the New Life Homes to be eligible for adoption sooner while making the adoption process more efficient, accessible, and safe.
Morgan took the Spanish & Entrepreneurship course at Carolina in the spring 2009 semester. She went on to minor in entrepreneurship and is …

Spanish & Entrepreneurship: What Have We Learned So Far?

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by Lily MartínezMidsemester ReviewIn SPAN 332 "Spanish & Entrepreneurship: Languages, Cultures & Communities" (course information is in the left navigation bar), we now find ourselves half way throughout the semester. Thus far we have talked about the following, using Enterprising Nonprofits:Defining Social Entrepreneurship as having the objective to maintain and improve social conditions beyond financial benefits, blending social and commercial methods, looking for creative ways to generate revenue, and having a social objective through a hybrid of commercial and philanthropic methods. Defining and Creating Mission Statements: this needs to be equal to the actions you take. Social entrepreneurs can use their mission as their lever to move minds and hearts, and to “change lives”. It can also provide a sense of progress and significance to their work. But most importantly, it needs to be focused and clear. Or…

Student Reflection: Learning About the Hardships Which Face Our Immigrant Community

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by Andrew Piotrowski
Over the past few months of volunteer service at the East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center (ECIRMAC) in Urbana, Illinois, I cannot help but take notice of the challenges, both large and small, that affect the immigrant community of Champaign County concerning certain issues that those with rights of US citizenship never even have to consider. Issues such as language barriers, lack of an accredited education or legal documentation for residence, and a multitude of restrictive laws and ordinances cause more problems than I believe most are aware of.
As a native-born U.S. citizen, I do not have to worry about my legal standing during my everyday life, as my rights of citizenship will not be in danger of being revoked. I can apply for any job that my current education level allows me, and I know that even if I commit a legal violation, I am in no danger of losing my right to reside in this country. However, the challenges which immigrants must meet …

Another Example of Engaged Citizenship

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by Ann Abbott
Yesterday I posted about Prof. Lissette Piedra's model of engaged citizenship as a model for our Spanish community service learning (CSL) students. She was extremely engaged in the fight to retain the position of "Bilingual Family Liaison" for Urbana schools. To do that she: Researched information about Latino demographic and educational trends.Wrote a detailed and well-argued memo to the School Board.Involved the local press in the issue.Spoke before the School Board.And contributed to the successful outcome: the position was not eliminated.Prof. Piedra is to be admired. Yet, is there a middle ground between CSL work for course credit and the lengths to which she went?
How about this postcard campaign on behalf of comprehensive immigration reform sponsored by the Jewish Council on Urbana Affairs? Would students who are working with community members (youth and adults) who are impacted by immigration reform put their name to a postcard that supports real…

Students: Will You Be in Chicago This Summer? Engage Chicago!

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by Ann Abbott
"Engage Chicago" sounds like a terrific program that will involve students in the city and give them great skills at the same time. If I were a student, I would apply to this program.
If you do apply to the program, please highlight your knowledge of Spanish and your experiences in your Spanish community service learning class (SPAN 232 and/or SPAN 332). Make yourself stand out from all the other applicants by offering unique value to their team: language skills and experience working in not-for-profits serving Latinos.
Here's the description:
Engage Chicago is an eight-week summer field study program that gives bright undergraduates from across the nation a chance to live, work, serve and learn together in this remarkable city, amidst a rich history & culture of civic engagement. The innovative program model deliberately combines academic coursework, placements at top community organizations/civic institutions, and powerful community experiences — al…

A Model to Show Students How to Move from Service to Action

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by Ann Abbott

With so much to accomplish in one semester of our "Spanish in the Community" course, it is sometimes difficult to help students understand how the realities that they see in the community are the direct results of policy-making. In other words, we want to help students move from just thinking about "William," the little boy they work with at the school, and to see how "William" exists in a complex web of laws, regulations, and decisions that impact his life and circumstances. In simpler terms, students can do community service learning (CSL), but to change society, they need to understand more fully what it means to be active citizens.
This semester, I have a perfect example for students.
Many of our Spanish CSL students work in the bilingual classrooms at Leal Elementary School in Urbana. They tell powerful stories about their learning and the relationships they build with students and teachers there.
But in the background, the teachers and …

Student Reflection

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by Bridget Kern

On the first day of my placement with CLACS at the Urbana Free Library I didn’t know what to expect. The only thing that I knew was to be prepared to utilize spoken Spanish. This was a very daunting thought for me because in the past I had spoken Spanish in the classroom and occasionally with friends. I had received varying responses to my forays into speaking Spanish. In class where the emphasis is placed on learning, I felt shy but comfortable using my Spanish. With my bilingual friends the response was different. Some of my friends would laugh at my rudimentary pronunciation, while others smiled and said “Wow, you’ve learned so much”. With these experiences in mind I nervously approached the library. Never before had I been placed in a situation that demanded that I converse with native Spanish speakers.

When I arrived at the library, I learned that the author who was supposed to be reading his book to the children had not arrived yet, and I was informed that I poten…

Students: Write a Grant, Make a Difference

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by Ann Abbott
Be quick! Click here to see how to write a grant proposal for an idea that you have for social entrepreneurship or to do something special for your community service-learning (CSL) community partner.
This is a great opportunity to fund an idea that you have. But it's also a great opportunity to add an important skill to your pre-professional tool-kit. Applying for grants (and winning them!) is a way to stand out from all the other college grads who will be applying for jobs in May.

Community Partner Spotlight: Booker T. Washington Elementary School in Champaign

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by Ann Abbott
Booker T. Washington was our second community partner, built upon the foundation that Prof. Anna Maria Escobar had already forged with her students. UIUC students did independent studies with Prof. Escobar and worked at the school.

As I helped transform SPAN 232 from an advanced conversation course to a community service learning (CSL) course, that partnership then had a "place" in the curriculum. Independent studies are a heavy burden for faculty and don't count toward their promotion, so building a place within regular courses for that type of work is important.

Booker T. Washington is a lovely school that is undergoing a big transformation right now--a new building and a new theme. Our partnership will have to evolve along with their changes, and that will require lots of conversations to find out how we can change our partnership but still keep it mutually beneficial.

Below are Kirsten Hope's words as she described the atmosphere she encountered duri…

Muhammad Yunus at UIUC: Poster Session

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by Ann Abbott
I consider Carolina Kloecker to be the "poster child" for the Spanish & Illinois program.She did a wonderful job in "Spanish in the Community" (SPAN 232) and blogged here about her community service learning (CSL) work. You can search for the label "Student Reflection" and find her posts.She did a Spanish & Illinois Summer Internshipwith ACCION Chicago, a micro-lending organization.She's in "Spanish & Entrepreneurship" (SPAN 332) with me this semester, and I often use her work as an example during my class presentations.So I was thrilled to see that Carolina was at the poster session before Muhammad Yunus' talk and during his book signing. He was so gracious that even after an exhausting day, he took the time to go to each poster and hear about our University of Illinois students' work with social entrepreneurship. As you can see from the picture, Carolina poster was about ACCION Chicago. And as you can a…

UIUC Students: Summer Media Internships

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by Ann Abbott
Illinois Launch is a wonderful new initiative on our campus. It will highlight UIUC alumni who are entrepreneurs, and help current students achieve their entrepreneurial goals. You can read all about it at the Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership's website--and even apply to participate in it.Students, if you are looking for a wonderful summer opportunity, read the message below and apply to work on their website.

Summer Media Internships
Paid – New grads welcome
University of Illinois Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership
http://www.ael.illinois.edu/

The Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership is launching a new website. Impact Illinois focuses on entrepreneurial, innovative alumni and their accomplishments, as well as accomplishments of university students, faculty and staff. A key component will be profiles of business and social entrepreneurs. The audience is both internal and external – models for students and telling the Illinois story to others.

Two full-time in…

Tonight: "Social Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century" by Muhammad Yunus'

by Ann Abbott

A final reminder about this exciting talk. And if you go to the poster session, please say hello to Caroline Kloecker, my student and former intern at ACCION Chicago, a microlending organization.

"Social Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century"
A Public Talk by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus and Celebration of University of Illinois Social Entrepreneurship Projects

Monday, March 1, 2010, Foellinger Auditorium, 7:00 PM, 709 S. Mathews Avenue, Urbana

Before speaking Dr. Yunus will be presented with the University’s Presidential Award and Medallion by President Stanley O. Ikenberry. A question and answer session will follow Dr. Yunus’s remarks. This event is free and open to the public. No tickets are required, but admission is first come, first serve. Overflow will be directed to the Deloitte Auditorium in the Business Instructional Facility where the event will be broadcasted. For more information visit www.SE-21.com or email information@se-21.com

Po…