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Showing posts from November, 2010

Student Reflection

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by Katie Dudek
The Harry Potter Hype
The moment that all Harry Potter fans have been waiting for has finally arrived.  The much-anticipated part one of the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is now playing in theaters across the country.  As of 10 AM Monday, November 15th, the Savoy 16 had sold out their eight theaters for the midnight showing on Thursday.  J.K. Rowling’s books about “the boy who lived” are books that my generation has grown up reading.  I still remember when I received my first set of Harry Potter books.  It was Christmas morning when I was in fifth grade.  I picked up a box that I thought was going to be filled with clothing, however my arms dropped with the unexpected weight of the gift.  Quickly, I tore off the wrapping paper and lifted the lid of the box to find the first three books of the Harry Potter series.  I was elated.  From that moment on, I have been a devoted Harry Potter fan.  I have read every book over three times, own all of the movies …

Student Reflection

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by Charlotte Piwowar More Spanish in the Community
Volunteering in the Learning Zone at Champaign Central High School has been a blast so far, but it’s not the only time I’ve been using Spanish.  I never quite realized how big the Latino community is in Champaign-Urbana, and therefore the resulting need for Spanish speakers.  The Spanish in the Community class has really opened up my eyes to this, and given me some additional opportunities to keep practicing Spanish.
A few weeks ago I went to the parent-teacher conferences at Champaign Central to serve as a translator.  I was matched with a woman who had three students at the high school, and so stayed with her the entire night, going to different teachers for 15-minute meetings to discuss how her children were doing.  It proved to be a very enjoyable experience!  Not only did we talk during the conferences, but when there was some down time while waiting for a few teachers we chatted about our families, her experiences as a migrant, my …

Business Spanish: Marketing Research Course Project

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by Ann Abbott


My business Spanish students are working on a marketing survey related to University of Illinois students and their habits (if any) of going out to bars and restaurants in downtown Champaign.

We're at the very beginning stages, and we'll document our results on our project wiki as we go. On the wiki, you can see the set of questions, and students have to get answers from five University of Illinois students. The results will be shared with owners of bars and restaurants in downtown Champaign.

Today we compiled the data from the 68 surveys that had been turned in so far.  In the end, we should have completed 130 surveys.

But before we began compiling the data, I put students in pairs and asked them to use their first impressions and their intuitions and write down the following:  What do you think are going to be the three most important results that come out of this marketing research?  When we're done with the project, I want them to look back and see if the…

New Book Full of Creative Ideas for Service Learning

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by Ann Abbott


I was excited to get my copy of the new book, "Quick Hits for Service-Learning: Successful Strategies by Award-winning Teachers" (U of Indiana Press), in my mailbox yesterday.

My piece (written with Darcy Lear) is entitled "Matching student presentations to the nature of service-learning work." In it, we describe how students can do poster presentations instead of the more familiar oral presentations.  The intro states:

"Each semester, our Spanish service-learning students engage in meaningful community-based projects, yet the typical end-of-the-semester oral presentation is the opposite: boring and delivered to a passive audience. Without extensive training, most PowerPoint presentations simply recreate the pitfalls of oral presentations with students reading each slide's text.  Instead, we have found that a poster session modeled on the professional conference format allows students to present their projects in succinct yet eye-catching pos…

Student Reflection

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by Dana Lange

The last weekend of October, in order to make up for some extra volunteering hours, I helped out in the community in a couple of different ways. One of my favorite activities was Thursday night, when I attended parent-teacher conferences at Central High School to translate for Spanish-speaking parents.
Thursday night I was a little nervous- not necessarily in my speaking and understanding abilities, but I had never been to the high school and I was already a few minutes late! As soon as I got to Central, though, I felt much better. Everyone was very helpful in directing me where to go and I met several other U of I students who were volunteering as well. About half an hour into the evening, I met Marsela [not her real name], the woman who I helped for the rest of the night. We visited several classes and talked to several teachers- she has three children who are at Central! At first things were a little awkward, though I knew she appreciated my help. But later on Marsela …

Student Reflection

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by Allison Kutzki
“The key to growth is challenging comfort” I have always been told that in any aspect of your life, in order to make progress and change, you must constantly be putting yourself in uncomfortable situations. That is ultimately when you are forced to draw on skills you may not have known that you had, and the reflection of such challenges is what helps you grow. Through my Spanish 232, Spanish in the community class I was given the chance to do just this as I was offered the opportunity to translate at parent teacher conferences at Central High School. Although I have worked with native speakers in schools, I had never been put in the position where I actually had to translate concepts and ideas between people from one language to another. What intimidated me even more was the fact that I did not know anyone that I was going to be working with. Essentially, I had to interpret details about a student’s academic performance that I had never met; from a teacher I had never …

Assessing Transcultural Competency in Community Service Learning

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by Ann Abbott


After the webinar presentation I gave last week ("Achieving Transcultural Competence through Community Service Learning"), I received several questions about assessment.


My initial reaction was, and remains, that structured student reflection should be the centerpiece of that assessment.  After all, it's already a part of any well-designed CSL course, and our prompts can ask students to analyze any number of elements of transcultural competency:

Recognize and describe moments of cultural difference.Notice and describe the emotions that often accompany transcultural (mis)encounters.Discuss the results of a particular experience when the student used cultural information in the community that he/she had learned about in the classroom, in other coursework or from other sources.Present a possible worst-case scenario following an instance of transcultural incompetence in the community partner organization.Etc.Then the  latest issue of "The Generator" arri…

Student Reflection

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by Dana Lange
For the past month now, I’ve been helping the catechism classes at St. John’s Catholic Newman Center, volunteering as a kind of “teacher’s assistant” during classes that prepare the Spanish-speaking kids of the community to receive their First Communion, a sacrament in the Roman Catholic Church. I decided to use this opportunity as my “trabajo en la comunidad” for a few reasons. I am Catholic and my faith is very important to me- I think that’s pretty important for a religious education teacher! I also live at the Newman Center so I only have to walk downstairs every Saturday morning to get to work. Plus, my freshman year of college, I also worked with the catechism classes, doing pretty much the same thing except with a different teacher. I enjoyed it very much and I knew what I could expect for class this year!

So far the semester has been going well- the only thing is that I didn’t get started until later in the semester and I also had to miss two weekends of volunteer…

More Questions about Transcultural Competency

by Ann Abbott


I had a few more follow-up questions from Friday's webinar that I answered on the e-mail.  I thought I would share the questions and answers here.  You know how it is: if one person asks the questions that means that at least ten others had the same questions but just didn't ask it.


Question: My first concern is what does trans-cultural competence mean? 
Answer: Definitions and terms vary.  Cultural competency really comes from the health professions, especially nursing and social work, where they emphasize that in order to provide effective care, a person needs to know about other cultures' beliefs in order to provide care that works.  For example, if you provide nutritional counseling to a person from another culture that has been diagnosed with diabetes and give them a diet plan that only includes typical US dishes, that does not show cultural competency and it will probably not be effective.  The business world has their own definitions of intercultural com…

Achieving Transcultural Competence through Community Service Learning

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by Ann Abbott
This semester I have been thinking, presenting and writing about the connections between transcultural competency and community service learning (CSL).  
I contributed a chapter to a forthcoming edited volume entitled Building Infrastructures for Latino Mental Health (Springer), edited by Lissette Piedra and Lydia Buki. That chapter's goal is to help human service providers build a partnership with a Spanish community service learning program, and I discuss the role of transcultural competency in that partnership.  
On Friday, I presented in a webinar organized by Pearson (Speaking About World Languages), and I was able to present my thoughts to a different audience--language instructors.  Here is the description of the talk (which I'll also be presenting at ACTFL): 

ACHIEVING TRANSCULTURAL COMPETENCE THROUGH COMMUNITY SERVICE LEARNING  Foreign language community service learning (CSL) addresses ACTFL's "Communities" goal area when students use the targ…

Microlending Jobs and Internship in Chicago

by Ann Abbott


I received this information from Ms. Jessica Horn.  If you have any questions, please contact her or the hiring organization directly.


"I wanted to pass on a couple Chicago job and internship opportunities in microfinance.  Please feel free to have any students/graduate
s interested get in contact with me if they have any questions.

JOBS
1. North Side Community Federal Credit Union: Small Business Loan Officer

2. ACCION Chicago: Loan Officer

INTERNSHIP
ACCION Chicago (un-paid; described below)
Lending Intern - Fall Internship

ACCION Chicago is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing loans to self-employed individuals who have limited or no access to traditional business credit. Part of the nation’s largest microlending network, ACCION has provided over 2,000 loans totaling $15 million to individuals and small businesses throughout the Chicagoland area since its inception in 1994. Through our lending and other services, we help micro-entrepreneurs strengthen the…

Business Spanish Discussion Leaders

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by Ann Abbott


One of the best things in Éxito comercial, the textbook I use in my business Spanish class, is the section at the end of every chapter titled ¨Minicaso práctico."  They are modeled after the cases used in business schools, and they highlight the business concepts and cultural information included in each chapter.

Although I admire faculty who can use the case method very effectively--meaning that the students take ownership of the discussion and end up conversing amongst themselves while the instructor simply takes notes and occasionally nudges the discussion in one direction or another--I have never had that much success.  I felt that students rarely engaged in a sustained conversation with each other, perhaps because of the added layer of speaking in a second language.

However, this semester I devised a solution that has worked out wonderfully so far.

First, I assigned a full day on the course calendar for each chapter's minicaso práctico, and each student si…

Student Reflection

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by Hillary Sanfillippo

After volunteering this past Monday at Leal Elementary School, I couldn’t help but think how grateful I am for being able to work with the same students as I had the semester prior.  Along with providing continuity for these children, re-connecting with my previous students has been very gratifying.  I remember being fearful last semester that I would not see these children who have impacted my life so much in the coming years, however I have been able to see them on a weekly basis this semester.  I enjoy when the children share their favorite memories with me, because it reminds me that I have made a difference.  One girl who I particularly helped last semester approached me last week regarding a personalized bookmark I made for her and each of her classmates as a farewell gift on my final volunteering day.  She motioned for me to come forward and asked if I remembered giving it to her.  When I nodded my head, she grinned and whispered, “I still hav…

Student Reflection

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by Charlotte Piwowar

The first few weeks

Hello again!  I was finally able to begin tutoring at Champaign Central High School about three weeks ago, and it has been both challenging and rewarding.  I usually go on Monday mornings, take a break for lunch, and then return for the last two class periods in the afternoon.  I’m generally headquartered in the “Learning Zone,” a separate classroom where students in the ESL program can come at any time of day to receive additional help or go just to have a quiet study space.  When there aren’t any students that come down, I’m sent up to any one of a few different classes that have students who are a part of the ESL program to see if they need help with specific assignments or classroom activities.

I really do enjoy the time that I spend at Champaign Central.  For one thing, I’ve discovered since coming to college that I really like working with youth (of any age, from elementary through high school).  It not only reminds me that there is a worl…