Friday, April 6, 2012

Spanish Community Service Learning Materials from Amy Firestone

by Ann Abbott

I am not the only one who teaches the Spanish community service learning courses (CSL) at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Amy Firestone is teaching a section of "Spanish in the Community" with me this semester, and she has taught it in the past.

I had the privilege of listening to her present about her work on languages in contact recently, and I learned a lot from her. Her research on languages in contact, specifically Quechua and Spanish among Peruvian youth, was fascinating. I also enjoyed her dynamic presentation style and the clarity with which she presented complex topics. So it is no surprise to me that she engages her students so well in "Spanish in the Community" and that she brings her expertise about indigenous languages to the classroom. (There is a community of Guatemalans within our local Latino community who speak their indigenous language, not Spanish.)

Amy has kindly shared several of her teaching materials with me. I appreciate Amy's collegiality, her expertise, and I would like to share them here with you.

First, Amy sent me this note along with a pdf of the instructions she gave her students:

"I wanted to send you a new activity I have developed for 232 students. I think it may be a good way to encourage class participation and a little research at home. Students in past semesters have requested more information on motives for immigration and immigrant needs and lifestyles that relate to immigrant's country of origin and their communities in the U.S. I wanted to share it with you if you would like to pass it onto future instructors." Mini-proyecto sobre la inmigración a EEUU.

Today, after meeting with our visitor, Carlos Martin Velez Salas, Amy sent this nice message and a link to the video below:
"Les queria mandar el enlace del video sobre Guatemala y la redada de Iowa. Gracias a todos por la conversacion dinamica hoy dia, fue un placer conocerte Martin. Nos alegra saber que haya mas interes y activismo en cuanto a los programas de aprendizaje en la comunidad."

It is a joy to work with TAs who are knowledgeable, creative, passionate and collegial. Gracias, Amy.

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