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Showing posts from December, 2010

Student Reflection

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by Allison Kutzki

Through working with the community, I have been able to extend my use of Spanish to something outside of the classroom, and upon reflection of my experiences thus far, I have been able to solidify my reasons for being a Spanish major. This thanksgiving break, I had the opportunity to return to my high school and I spent a few hours in one of my old Spanish teachers’ classroom. He asked me to speak with his honors students about my experiences at the University of Illinois with Spanish and why high school students should continue to take Spanish in college. The night before I went, I was laying in my bed and I was forced to articulate to myself what I would have like to have known if I were a high school senior deciding what classes I wanted to take my first semester in college. Although I was fortunate enough to attend a rather affluent high school, one thing that it lacks is the diversity that actually exists outside of the school. I think that many students are left…

Student Reflection

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by Dana Lange
As we are nearing the end of the semester, I’ve been reflecting a lot about what I have gained this semester from the class and what I may have shared with the students and teachers. For me personally, helping with the religion class has allowed me to use Spanish for an additional two hours a week, outside of the classroom, in a real-life setting, building upon all of the Spanish that I learned and used while I spent the first part of this year in Spain. Though I don’t speak Spanish as much as I did in Spain, the class, for me, has been a comfortable setting for me to continue to use it. Furthermore, I’ve gotten to know many of the adults and kids from the Latino Ministry at St. John’s.
For the students, I hope that they have grown to feel more comfortable with me, too. It seems like they have- last week Maestra Patty wasn’t able to make it to class due to the snow so we had an substitute teacher, but I think it was good that I was there to be a familiar, friendly face for…

What Does Public Engagement Mean at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign?

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by Ann Abbott


I'll be frank: I was very disappointed in the "Next Steps Letter" and "Implementation Grid" regarding Public Engagement in the "Stewarding Excellence @Illinois" process.

While I don't disagree with anything that is written in the reports, I definitely take issue with what was not included in the report.  Absolutely nothing was said about public engagement as it relates to our university's teaching and research missions.  That is very disappointing.

Those of us who do public engagement know that it has a very important role in teaching--through academic service learning and other venues--and research.  However, I have found that many people are stumped when I mention that an entire research agenda can be (and is!) tied to academic service learning.  It seems that our approach to Stewarding Excellence @Illinois suffers from the same lack of information and imagination.

The University of Illinois needs--at the highest level, especi…

Student Reflection

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by Dana Lange



To gain a few more extra hours, I offered to help at Urbana Middle School over Halloween weekend while the Mexican consulate came to help many of the Mexican people living in the area with visas, passports, and other supportive aspects. Upon arriving, I really didn’t know what to expect while there, but I was very glad that I helped out and I would be more than willing to volunteer again!
I knew that I had to help both Friday night and most of the day that Saturday in order to make up for some hours, so I was a little nervous and not really sure how I would be spending all of that time. But when I got there, they actually needed help with the children’s activities, which was something I knew I could do. All night Friday and all day Saturday, I entertained the kids with coloring, games, and different physical activities- all while speaking Spanish. Most of the kids came and left as their parents finished up with what they needed to get done, but a few of the kids, whose par…

Student Reflection

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by Allison Kutzki
No puedo creer que casi hayamos llegado al término del semestre. El tiempo pasa tanto rápido. Sin embargo, creo que he aprendido mucha información muy útil sobre el español y también la cultura que puedo aplicar a otros aspectos de mi vida. He estado tomando español por nueve años y paso a paso me doy cuenta de que hay tantas cosas de que se compone la lengua. Existen tantas historias ricas juntas con la cultura y las tradiciones. El contenido de este curso, en combinación con el trabajo que he hecho afuera del aula, me ha permitido de realizar esas cosas importantes. Mi carrera es la educación de español, entonces he tomado muchas clases en ambas materias. Tomo otras clases de cultura, pero no eran activos. Los cursos están enseñados por ver las películas, leer las historias y los artículos de países hispanohablantes. Mientras que estudiar así es útil para adquirir una base de información, es difícil ponerte en el lugar de las personas de quienes estudias. Este curse…

Student Reflection

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by Allison Kutzki
Since wanting to be a teacher, I have always worked with high school students. Therefore, working at Leal has been a rather novice and insightful experience for me. Not only has it been a place for me to practice my language skills, but I have also learned a lot about how to deal with children in an educational setting. There is so much more that goes into instructing first graders than simply the content. While the main goal teachers have is to provoke learning, other smaller goals must be accomplished before the larger can be achieved. There is a psychology behind every direction and activity which helps shape not only the students understanding of classroom material but their behavior. Everything for these students must be done in an orderly, clearly directional fashion. Before going out to recess, there is a routine. Students must clean up their areas, go to the restroom and then get a drink of water. Students then line up at the door and those in charge of carryi…

Student Reflection

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by Katie Dudek
A December to Remember
I cannot believe it is already December.At the risk of sounding cliché, it seems like it was just yesterday that I walked into Ms. Bucio’s classroom for the first time.It is very interesting to think about how my Spanish has improved since then, how much more confident I am in her classroom, and how much my relationship has changed with each her students.All of this was evident when I went to Booker T. Washington to volunteer this past Monday.
I arrived at the school at 12:45 PM like I normally do, put my things in the classroom, and walked down the hallway to where Ms. Bucio’s class lines up after lunch to go to the bathroom.The moment I saw them scattered on both sides of the hallway, I knew something was going on.Usually they are very obedient, lined up in a straight line against the wall, but that was not the case.Why?There was a substitute teacher.Though I have been a university student for a few years, I still know what having a substitute teac…

Student Reflection

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by Charlotte Piwowar
Final thoughts
Now that the semester has come to a close, I figure it would be appropriate to share some general overall thoughts about my time at Champaign Central in the ESL tutoring classroom this semester.Although I’ve faced some challenges or situations many times, each day has had a different dynamic from the last.So then, what have I loved?What has been especially challenging?Especially rewarding?
I’ll start with the tough stuff.Volunteering has been, for the most part, a fun and rewarding experience, but that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been bumps in the road.Tutoring can be challenging enough with students for whom English is their native language; needless to say, doing so with students who have limited English skills or for me to explain things in my second language can be tricky.I’ve mentioned the students from the Congo before—they usually come down for help with U.S. history, which generally means copying definitions out of the textbook.They don’t u…

Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning: Fall 2010

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by Ann Abbott


The latest issue of the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning arrived in my mailbox today. Although there are no articles specifically addressing foreign language service learning, the articles are interesting and point toward some bigger-picture issues.

Seider, Scott C., Susan C. Gillmor and Samantha A. Rabinowicz. "Complicating Students' Conception of the American Dream through Community Service Learning." A lot of very good CSL work takes place in religious colleges that emphasize social justice.  This article focuses on a "CSL program sponsored by the philosophy and theology departments at Ignatius University," and shows that, "students demonstrated significant declines in their belief in the American Dream in comparison to a randomly assigned control group. Qualitative interviews revealed that the program exerted this influence, in part, by providing participants with diverse opportunities to think critically about the availabili…

Student Reflection

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by Charlotte Piwowar



Sharing with Classmates
Time is quickly slipping away as we get towards the end of the semester, and I can’t help but feel like it’s all just begun—especially with my work in the community!  I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my time at Champaign Central, and since I’m there at the same time every week, I’ve gotten to know more and more about the students that come in regularly.  Something that I’ve really enjoyed, though, is how the Spanish in the Community class is winding down.  We’ve been able to reflect and share more about our experiences with our classmates, talking about how our feelings have grown or changed (both with respect to our Spanish skills and to the people we work with), what has surprised us or what we’ve learned of the communities we work in, and what sorts of challenges we’ve confronted.
Two other people in my class also volunteer in the same classroom that I do, and so it has been especially interesting to talk with them about their time there.  We’…