Dr. Mary Risner was among the many interesting people I met at the K-12 Business Languages Workshop at Florida International University in Miami this past weekend. Mary is Associate Director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida. Specifically, she works on their outreach program, and she shared many resources with the workshop attendees.
- The Outreach Library. I imagine that you need to live close to the University of Florida to borrow these items (but perhaps that is wrong). However, I googled many titles on the list of books and dvds available, and I hope to find them through my own library or order some for my courses. Here are just a few of the titles I found particularly interesting and potentially useful: Beyond Borders: Ethics in International Business; The Multicultural Meeting; Comunicaciones Interculturales: Factores que pueden afectar el exito en los negocios in Latinoamerica; Ethical Markets: International Finance Reform; Zoned for Slavery: The child Behind the Label; Global Village or Global Pillage; Global Cities, Immigration and World Economy: Mexico City; Sweating for a T-Shirt; Global Cities, Immigration and World Economy: America's Immigration Debate; Uprooted: Refugees in the Global Economy.
- Traveling Suitcases. Funny enough, I had heard about travelling suitcases from a professor within our own College of Business, Prof. Paul Magelli. He was friends with the woman who first began them, but unfortunately I cannot remember her name right now. So I was pleasantly surprised to see this as one of the resources the University of Florida offers. Although I focus mostly on cultural perspectives and processes in my courses, cultural products are also very important in business.
- The Network of Business Language Educators (NOBLE). As Mary explained at the workshop, it is good to get together once a year or more to share resources and ideas for teaching business languages, but that dialogue should be sustained. To that end, NOBLE is a place to find and share resources. Mary also explained that it is a place for language educators and business faculty to inform each other from their own areas of expertise, in order to enrich each other's teaching. As soon as I came home I began following the group on Twitter (@LangForCareers) and joined their Ning group. I hope you will do the same.
The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Illinois also offers outreach programs and materials. So be sure to use the resources available on-line and pick up the phone to talk to the friendly people at these two Centers (or the one closest to you)--they want to help all K-12 educators teach about Latin America, whether the focus is business or any other cultural aspect.