Thursday, April 28, 2011
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
by Kendra Dickinson
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
In their seminal book, Where´s the Learning in Service-Learning, Janet Eyler and Dwight E. Giles, Jr. identify the learning outcomes of service learning. Eyler and Giles explain that well-designed service learning forces students to confront "ill-structured problems," which they define as "complex and open ended; their solution creates new conditions and new problems. Such problems require, first and foremost, the ability to recognize that the problems are complicated and are embedded in a complex social context, the ability to evaluate conflicting information and expert views, and the understanding that there is no simple or definitive solution" (16). "Traditional academic programs," they state, "however, have not resulted in moving most college students to the levels necessary to cope with complex issues and information (King and Kitchener, 1994)" (17). On the other hand, their research on service learning indicates that, "The quality of service-learning, including application, opportunities for structured reflection, and diversity and community voice, was a predictor of reports of critical thinking, ability to see consequences of actions, issue identification, and opennes to new ideas" (127).
Today, we tackled messy problems in my classes. Students confront them every day in their CSL work. For example, a CSL student who tutor an ESL student might suggest that they stay for extra help after school, but if the student doesn't take the bus, he/she has no way to get home. Or he/she has to work after school to contribute to the family income. These are just a few of the many examples my students see every day in the various places where they work. But I wanted to bring that into the classroom today. So this is what we did.
Video. We watched this video about drivers licences and undocumented immigrants. After the video I divided students into small groups, gave each group a large ficha and asked them to draw a large circle on the ficha. They then had to represent the issues presented in the video in the form of a cycle, or vicious circle. (They did a great job.) We then commented on a quote from the video, "Dios no hizo fronteras."
2. Poverty simulation. Then students opened up their laptops and smart phones, and they went through an on-line poverty simulation (unfortunately it is in English; if anyone knows of one in Spanish, please let me know). Some worked individually, but others made decisions together in small groups. They were very engaged in the activity, perhaps the most engaged I have seen them all semester. We then discussed the hidden "costs" (ethical, medical, social, etc.) in the decisions they had made in order to save money. We also talked about the importance of relationships, because asking for help (and not paying certain bills) was really the only way that they could make it through the month.
3. Connections and conclusions. We ended the class with this question: What is the connection between the video we watched at the beginning of the class and the simulation they did at the end of the class. There were many very good answers from the students, but I was happy to see that one conclusion they reached was that life is a series of "ill-structured problems" (even though they didn't use those words), not only, but especially when you have few resources.
4. Follow-up. In Thursday's class, students will use the structural model from the poverty simulation and create their own "problems and solutions" that undocumented immigrants face. I'll let you know how it goes!
Monday, April 11, 2011
by Ann Abbott
Although this isn't a "how to learn Spanish" blog per se, using Google Analytics, I can see that many people come to the blog looking for specific information about learning Spanish.
So, I was recently contacted by a blogger who asked that I mention a post on her site. I'm happy to do so:
Posted by Ann Abbott at 9:27 AM
Sunday, April 10, 2011
by Ann Abbott
This blog's running bibliography on Spanish community service learning (CSL) is one of its most-accessed posts. I'm happy that people find it a useful resource.
Now, I'd like to do the same for a bibliography on transcultural and intercultural competence. Although cultural competence and intercultural competence are terms that have long been used, researched and theorized, the MLA's 2007 special report on "Foreign Language and Higher Education: New Structures for a Changed World" has prompted a new wave of work on the topic. I am particularly interested in how Spanish CSL does/does not influence students' developing transcultural competence.
This bibliography may be a bit messy at first. There are many publications, and I may find that I need to organize them in different categories than what I can envision right now. Plus, I'm going to just jump and start adding sources to the bibliography, but I may later remove them if I find that they do not seem related in some way to Spanish CSL. Please write a comment with your suggestions for both the organization of the bibliography as well as individual items within it.
Levine, Glenn S. and Alison Phipps, Eds. Critical and Intercultural Theory and Language Pedagogy. AAUSC Issues in Language Program Direction. Boston: Heinle, Cengage Learning, 2012.
Phipps, Alison & Glenn S. Levine. "What is Language Pedagogy For?" 1-14.
Kramsch, Claire. "Theorizing Translingual/Transcultural Competence." 15-31.
van Lier, Leo. "Classrooms and 'Real' Worlds: Boundaries, Roadblocks, and Connections." 32-42.
Urlaub, Per. "Understanding Comprehension: Hermeneutics, Literature, and Culture in Collegiate Foreign Language Education." 43-56.
Gramling, David & Chantelle Warner. "Toward a Contact Pragmatics of Literature: Habitus, Text, and the Advanced Second-Language Classroom." 57-75.
Lu, Peigh-ying & John Corbett. "The Health Care Professional as Intercultural Speaker." 76-94.
Dasli, Maria. "Theorizations of Intercultural Communication." 95-111.
Parker, Jan. "Framing Ideas from Classical Language Teaching, Past and Future." 112-124.
Brenner, David. "From Core Curricula to Core Identities: On Critical Pedagogy and Foreign Language/Culture Education." 125-140.
Train, Rober W. "Postcolonial Complexities in Foreign Language Education and the Humanities." 141-160.
Coleman, James A., et. al. "Collaboration and Interaction: The Keys to Distance and Computer-Supported Language Learning." 161-180.
Elola, Idoia & Ana Oskoz. "A Social Constructivist Approach to Foreign Language Writing in Online Environments." 181-197.
Arnett, Carlee & Harriett Jernigan. "Cognitive Grammar and Its Applicability in the Foreign Language Classroom." 198-215.
Arens, Katherine. "After the MLA Report: Rethinking the Links Between Literature and Literacy, Research, and Teaching in Foreign Language Departments." 216-228.
Phipps, Alison & Glenn S. Levine. "Epilogue. Paradigms in Transition." 229-233.
Lo Bianco, Joseph, Anthony J. Liddicoat & Chantal Crozet, Eds. Striving for Third Place: Intercultural competence through language education. Melbourne: Language Australia, 1999.
Crozet, Chantal, Anthony J. Liddicoat & Joseph Lo Bianco. "Intercultural competence: From language policy to language education." 11-30.
Crozet, Chantal &Anthony J. Liddicoat. "The challenge of intercultural language teaching: Engaging with culture in the classroom." 119-129.
Stadler, Stefanie. "Intercultural competence and its complementary role in language education." Specialised Languages in the Global Village: A Multi-Perspective Approach. In press.
Posted by Ann Abbott at 11:28 AM
Saturday, April 9, 2011
by Ann Abbott
What a pleasant surprise to receive the latest issue of Hispania and find so much good information on foreign language community service learning (CSL).
Zapata, Gabriela. "The Effects of Community Service Learning Projects on L2 Learners' Cultural Understanding." Zapata's article provides something that we need in the Spanish CSL literature: a study based on an applied linguist's expertise. When Darcy Lear and I began publishing on CSL, most of the literature we found was descriptive. The majority of our published pieces of been based on qualitative studies. Qualitative research, while widely accepted in many fields, is not widely used in foreign language research, in which quantitative research dominates linguistics research and humanistic research is used for the predominate force in language studies: literary analysis. Zapata's "small-scale study [that] investigates the effects of... [CSL] projects or a cultural presentation on the development of the cultural understanding of low- and high-intermediate L2 students" (86) is a welcome addition to the growing body of work on foreign language CSL. Furthermore, people often question whether CSL can be done in introductory language courses. Zapata's study shows that it can indeed be problematic at that level ("low-intermediate CSL students[']...CSL experience may have been inhibited by their L2 proficiency and problems in the delineation of their CSL duties" 86). However, more clearly delineating low-intermediate students' CSL duties is possible, and I firmly believe (but need to research) that even Spanish 101 students can do CSL work that fits their language proficiency level and meets community-identified needs.
Barreneche, Gabriel Ignacio. "Language Learners as Teachers: Integrating Service-learning and the Advanced Language Course." Barreneche's work is based on a partnership he developed with Junior Achievement. I encourage you to read the entire article, but I would like to highlight just two things. First of all, I think one of this article's strengths is its literature review. Barreneche does such a good job of situating Spanish CSL within many strands of higher education practice and policy debate today: civic engagement education, the role of foreign language education in the evolving face of liberal arts education and then, more specifically, CSL's role in students' language acquisition and motivation. The entire "1. Review of the Literature" section should be required reading for all of us involved in foreign language CSL. Secondly, I'd like to highlight that partnering with Junior Achievement means that there is much more of interest that Barreneche (and others) can explore about content learning in CSL. Junior Achievement has very interesting programming to teach and support youth regarding finances, entrepreneurship and overall professional skills. (On Twitter, I follow @JA_USA and @JABrasil. My Twitter name is @AnnAbbott.) For example, I teach social entrepreneurship as well as Business Spanish, and a partnership with Junior Achievement in those courses could add to the course's "triple bottom line": language, culture and business knowledge. In other words, there is much work to be done on CSL's impact on students' content learning in content-based CSL courses. Matching the nature of students' CSL work to the content being taught in the course can be challenging, but the Junior Achievement partnership described in this article has sparked ideas for me.
Book review: Learning the Language of Global Citizenship: Service Learning in Applied Linguistics. Wurr, Adrian J. and Josef Hellebrandt, eds. Reviewed by Anne Reynolds-Case. This review succinctly summarizes each chapter and the book's overall focus. Josef Hellebrandt is one of the earliest figures in the practice and publishing on Spanish CSL, so it is nice to see more of his work in promoting and disseminating CSL. The reviewer concludes by noting that the pieces in the volume do not provide "tangible results afforded by the means of language proficiency tests or similar testing instruments" (224). While it is true that that kind of study and its results would be a welcome addition to the expanding literature on foreign-language CSL and many people have noted its absence, we should be careful not to privilege that kind of study as the only one that can give us "real," "hard" data on CSL's efficacy. Research methods within foreign language departments may be an unacknowledged part of the very difficult debates going on in many Spanish departments nowadays about what we do, what we value and what we reward.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Congratulations to one of our bloggers from this semester, Kendra Dickinson (B.A. Environmental Studies and Spanish, May 2011). Kendra has been offered a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Grant to Argentina.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
We're at the point in the semester now where we have already covered the specifics of what students need in their CSL work in schools or human services so we are now turning our attention to broader, contextual issues. In other words, how do their experiences in the community relate to larger socio-cultural and policy issues?
Today's lesson was on housing. I began the class by writing three big words on the board: casa, hogar, vivienda. In pairs, students had to differentiate between those words. Not surprisingly, vivienda gave students the most problems.
We followed Lección 17 in Comunidades. First, students analyze their own experiences looking for housing in Champaign-Urbana--their priorities and the problems they faced. Then they compare their own experiences to those of a recent Spanish-speaking immigrant who is looking for work and a place to live. Even though it's hard to put yourself in someone else's shoes, they did a great job recognizing all the barriers to getting housing that some immigrants might face.
Finally, I put students into five groups, and each group was given census data about five Illinois counties: Cook, DuPage, Champaign, Clay (the county I am from) and Pope. They analyzed the data, and then one person from the group had to stand up with the information in their hand. They then lined up from greatest (on the left) to smallest (on the right) for the following information: population, % of Latinos, median family income, percentage of residents living below the poverty line (picture) and average home value.
What did students learn? I think it surprised them to see the difference between rural and urban poverty, for example. They also saw that in the rural counties, household income was much lower, but the price of homes was not much higher than their incomes. On the other hand, in Cook and DuPage Counties, the average price of a home was much more than double the annual household income. It also gave a picture of northern, central and southern counties in this very large state of ours. Most importantly, however, the census data and their comparisons shed real light on the issue of affordable housing in our communities.
Monday, April 4, 2011
Friday, April 1, 2011
I went to my usual placement again this past Tuesday. After a relaxing spring break at home, where I did not use any Spanish, it was a little challenging to get into the swing of things again. I now am consistently working with one girl, and I really enjoy it because as opposed to my classroom placement earlier in the semester, I am able to create a one-on-one bond with one student. My student had minimal homework so we were able to spend a lot of time reading. The homework she did have concentrated on using sounds such as he, hi, ho, and hu to make words. She had to fill in the blanks to complete Spanish words such as hada (fairy) and many others. She did another activity where she had to color in spaces that had the sound ce or ci in it. It was easy for her to locate the words that started with those sounds such as cero (zero) or cine (movie theater) but she couldn’t identify words such as hace quite as easily. After we finished her homework we read two books. One about Clifford the big red dog, and the other was Little Red Riding Hood. I really enjoyed reading Little Red Riding Hood in Spanish because it is one that I had read in my Spanish classes in Junior High. Sometimes students blindly read and do not really understand the plot, so what the teacher had me do was ask her to identify the protagonist and explain what they do in the story. My student seemed to understand the majority of the plot, but sometimes she would get stuck so I had to ask her questions to lead her in the right direction with out giving away the answer. I also got to learn more about her as a person. I learned about her family, and that she came here from Guatemala. Overall it was a successful week in placements!