Thursday, November 29, 2012

Take SPAN 232 Spanish in the Community

by Ann Abbott

Click here to watch a screencast about SPAN 232, "Spanish in the Community." 

But don't just take my word for it; watch the videos of students who think you should take SPAN 232, too.

Erik works at the Refugee Center.

Annahid works at Central High School.

Megan works at a school.

Ryan works at the Refugee Center. Always trust a man with a yellow corbata.

Seriously, trust Ryan when he says that working in the community in SPAN 232 is engaging.

Taylor works at SOAR, and she tells a cute story about her student.

Contact me at if you have any questions about SPAN 232 "Spanish in the Community."

Student Reflection

by Megan Creighton

Lobbying for Drivers Licenses For All

Yesterday, November 27th, I went with other community members of La Colectiva, the C-U Immigration Reform, and other community organizations came together to rally in Springfield and lobby in favor of the proposed Driver’s Licenses for All bill. This bill would allow undocumented immigrants to gain legal driver’s licenses with a tax identification number rather than a social security number. For this community, getting driver’s licenses is of great importance--it would allow people who have been living and working here for years to drive their kids to school or go to work without a fear of being pulled over or getting in an accident and consequently going to jail. However, it’s an important issue for all Americans--by limiting the number of unlicensed and uninsured drivers on the road, insurance premiums will go down and roads would become safer with more legally licensed drivers that have passed eye exams and driving tests. Detaining undocumented immigrant drivers is an especially extreme measure for people who have committed only minor violations. It is an expensive, unnecessary, and generally inefficient use of Illinois taxpayers’ dollars as well as the police enforcement’s time and resources.

Ever since hearing about this issue, I have been entirely in favor of passing this bill. Whether or not people are willing to acknowledge it, undocumented immigrants do drive and will continue to drive because it is an everyday necessity. They should not have to drive their kids to school in fear that they themselves will be detained, nor should children have to undergo the stress of having a parent be put in jail for an extended period of time because of minor traffic violations.

On Tuesday, I joined about 30 other community activists in a trip to Springfield to convince state representatives to favor this bill. When we arrived at the state capitol, we met up with hundreds of members of ICIRR (Immigration Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights), the Highway Safety Coalition, and many other groups that had arrived from around Chicago. There was such a large turnout of participants that the rally was moved outside the building because we could not fit inside the auditorium of the Illinois State Museum. Outside, two members of ICIRR presented the issue to the excited crowd in both English and in Spanish. They also welcomed three state representatives that were backing the bill: Rep. Skip Saviano (Rep), Rep. Dan Burke (Dem), and Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez (Dem). Each one spoke briefly about why they were in support of passing this legislation and offered words of encouragement to the crowd who responded with cheers and chants of “Si se puede!” and “Yes we can!”. Rep. Hernandez’ words were especially heartfelt, as she has lived and worked among many undocumented immigrants in the Little Village, “La Villita” of Chicago. She urged us to keep supporting this cause and push forward with our lobbying, “Adelante!” After these representatives spoke, various activist volunteers also told of their experiences driving without licenses, and in several cases of going to jail and having to leave vulnerable loved ones alone. Many in the crowd even shed tears, but in the end we held our signs high and continued to chant, “Si se puede!”

After this rally, those who had come from Champaign-Urbana re-grouped and split into three sections to head to the capitol building and speak with various other representatives. Seeing as this way my first time lobbying, I was surprised by how unorganized and chaotic it seemed to be. Hundreds of other organizers were in and outside the building as well demonstrating for various different causes. When we entered the building, we went up to the third floor in search of other representatives, and were successful in speaking with two. We explained why they should vote in favor of the bill, and some told personal stories of how this would affect them and their loved ones in their daily lives. Both representatives thanked us and said they would certainly look into the issue.

After wandering through masses of people for over two hours, (and getting lost for a fair amount of time!) we were all relieved when we returned to the bus around 2pm. We had done what we came there to do--we showed up in overwhelming numbers to convince our legislators to pass this important bill. On the bus, a woman from the C-U Immigration forum led a discussion in which people reflected on the day, and most agreed that our participation in this lobbying day was very worthwhile. She also addressed issues that pertain specifically to our local Champaign-Urbana community. She said that the police chief of Champaign wants to be more connected and informed by the Campaign Latino community, and that he would love to talk with anyone, regardless of their documents. Most importantly he wants these people to feel safe coming to the Champaign police with questions and concerns, rather than fearing them. Furthermore, she encouraged everyone to attend the C-U immigration meetings, and to join the Facebook group through which local Latino community to communicate. Others chimed in with words of encouragement to stay active and informed as the community itself along with its political influence is growing here and across the country.

For me, this experience was eye-opening and educational. I got to witness and personally get involved in politics and activism, something I’d never really done before, and as an additional perk I got plenty of opportunities to practice my Spanish! Something I had discussed with other participants was the lack of diversity among politicians and workers at the capitol building, and also among activists themselves. Of the five representatives we interacted with throughout the day, four were white men and one was Latina. Activists in our group were primarily Latino, and other lobbying groups were primarily African-American. To me, these distinct demographics are off-putting and problematic because the representative political body does not seem to fairly mirror those on behalf of which it is making decisions. Moreover, we discussed the lack of diversity among our group lobbying for Driver’s Licenses For All. The vast majority of the group was Latino, with a spattering of white and African American participants, which is something that leads people to believe that this bill and immigration reform in general is mostly a “Latino” issue. Truly this is not the case as U.S. immigration policy and reform affects people from all different backgrounds, including non-Latino immigrants and citizens.

Overall, I’m glad I participated in this event, and I hope to see the bill passed in the near future!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Student Reflection

by Daniel Cox

Establishing Connections

Throughout the past several weeks I have been considering how my work with my community project affects other aspects of my life. As I’ve mentioned in previous entries, I initially chose this course because it would allow me to continue to use my Spanish skills with native speakers, both to improve my skills and to utilize them for those who can really benefit from them. However, I started to doubt the effectiveness of my time at the clinic, as I only spend about three hours per week at the clinic. At first, I felt that this was far from the sufficient amount of time I should spend speaking per week because the six days between each session would be enough time to forget many of the things I learned.

As I began to think about how I could apply what I have been learning at the clinic to other aspects of my life, I considered what outlets would be most beneficial. The first, and perhaps the most obvious, is our time in class. Our two class sessions each week allow us to discuss the accomplishments and challenges that we have faced, and that allows us to reflect on our experiences and adjust our methods to make our work more meaningful and successful.

However, the second outlet I considered was my role at my part-time job at Old Navy. I generally do not speak Spanish very often at work because the vast majority of people I interact with are fluent in English (most of whom are native English speakers). This past weekend, on the other hand, I interacted with several Spanish-speakers. I began speaking with a customer who seemed to be struggling to find a specific shirt for her husband. I immediately noticed an accent while she was speaking that reminded me of a professor I’d had in Barcelona, which prompted me to ask where she was from. Half expecting her to respond, saying she was from Spain, I was surprised when she answered that they were visiting from Argentina. Yet, as soon as she began speaking Spanish, I could tell that she definitely did not have a Spanish accent. Her husband joined soon after and asked me a question using vos. His question quickly turned into a small chat about accents and dialects and how amazing it is to encounter so many different backgrounds in a town like Champaign. I thanked them for choosing to shop at Old Navy and told them that if there was anything else I could do to assist them, that they not hesitate to ask. I didn’t realize it then, but reaching out to these customers was a way to not only enhance their shopping experience, but also a way to make the work more worthwhile for myself.

Soon after, I approached a woman, who turned out to be a student from Honduras. She was looking for a few shirts for her two sons, basing her decision on the shirts she had purchased last year from the same store. I spoke with her for several minutes about her time studying in the US and my experiences learning Spanish, all the while comparing different words or phrases that sounded strange or different for either of us. She commented on my lingering Spanish accent and explained that, even though she had studied English for many years, it was refreshing to be able to talk about her sons and her home in her native language. At the end of our conversation, she thanked me for my assistance and assured me that she would remember her experience.

Although these experiences occurred outside of my community project, they reminded me of an important aspect that exists in both our projects and in our academic and professional careers as Spanish students. Having dedicated this much our of studies (and lives!) to the language and cultures, it is our duty to use what we have learned and experienced to enrich our work, whether it be at the clinic, in a school, in a store, or a corporate office. Taking the time to interact and establish connections with my Spanish-speaking customers helps ensure that they feel welcomed and appreciated, an experience that we try to provide to all of our customers, whether they are English, Spanish (or for our Canadian shoppers, French!). These qualities are exactly what we try to provide for our customers at the clinic as well, and it is when we successfully provide them that we, as bilingual workers, are accomplishing what we’ve set out to do.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lesson about Activism in Spanish Community Service Learning Course

by Ann Abbott

My classes are usually loud. I'm proud of that because the volume rises when I manage to take myself out of the center of the class and let the students communicate with each other as they analyze, create, compare, share, etc.

But for most of today's class, you could hear a pin drop.

Here's what we did:

1. A mind map of "los activitistas." I divided students into groups of three. One group did their mind map on the board, and the others did theirs on a piece of paper. I gave them three minutes to write as much as they could, then we looked at the group's mind map on the board. I then invited one person from each group to go to the board to write additional information they had on their mind maps. Curiously, no group wrote any negative associations with "los activistas," so I talked to them a bit about the negative stereotypes that exist in the US about activists--that they are hippies, lazy, unrealistic, etc.

2. Pictures of activists. Today in Springfield, IL there is a rally for drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants. I put up pictures from a private Facebook group to which I belong that is for and about immigrants in Champaign-Urbana. I showed a picture of people in the bus, leaving CU for Springfield and asked, "¿Tienen pinta de activistas?" The point, of course, is that they look like normal every-day people, but they were on their way to a rally to demand political change. They are activists. I showed other pictures of the day's events, too.

Later I will analyze students' responses.
3. Activism "stations." I gathered links to ten different examples of activism. I tried to include a lot of different variety in terms of level of commitment and approaches. I posted the links to our Facebook page so that students could easily link to the different sites. In the classroom, I taped up sheets of paper--one for each link and a few simple questions about that link. (I'll post them all below.) Students needed to go around to the different "stations," explore the link, then write their answers on the sheet of paper on the wall. (This is another example of my bring your own device--BYOD--approach to teaching.) Our classroom had never been so silent! Everyone was reading and writing. You can see--and hear--it for yourself in the video above.

4. Synthesis. I paired students and asked them to talk about these questions: Do you identify with the term "activist"? What kinds of activism are you involved with, if any? What are your reactions to the examples of activists/activism that you explored in the previous activity?

Do your community service learning students identify as activists? Do they have good models of how they can be effective activists? Share your teaching ideas in the comments.
  1.  ¿Es un grupoactivista? ¿Qué hacen?
  2. Immigrant YouthJustice League ¿Decir tu estatusmigratorio publicamente ser una forma de activism? ¿Cuáles son los riesgos?
  3. University YMCAStudent Organizations De esta lista,¿qué organizaciones son para activistas? ¿Qué causas te interesan más?
  4. Speaking at a SchoolBoard Meeting ¿Escribir unacarta y hablar en una reunión pública son formas de activismo? ¿Los profesorespueden ser activistas?
  5. The Walk of theImmigrants ¿Crear una páginaen Facebook es una forma de activismo? Explica. ¿Le darías un “like” a unapágina sobre una causa?
  6. Leaders of Social andPolitical Change in Latin America ¿Hay que ser políticopara ser activista? ¿Es posible hacer cambios importantes a través delactivismo?
  7. Solidaridad 2.0 ¿Tuitear es unaforma de activismo? Explica. ¿Retuitear lo es? ¿Mandarías un tweet sobre unacausa?
  8. à Causes ¿Ponerle un “twibbon”a tu foto de perfil es activismo? Explica. ¿Lo harías tú?
  9. Capitol Tax Questionof the Day ¿Votar en esta encuesta es una forma de activismo?Explica. ¿Votarás tú?
  10. El Padre Greg ¿Es activista? ¿Cómo? ¿Qué relación hay entrela religión y el activismo?
After looking at students' mental maps, a few things stood out: 
  • They understand very well activists' role in protesting, marching and being dedicated to a cause in order to effect change. 
  • Most of the concepts overlapped among groups. However, some groups had unique thoughts: art as part of activism, local/nacional/global, 99%.
  • My second class included the more "negative" concepts in their mental maps that were missing in the first class: extremistas, pueden ser violentos, ideas radicales, peligrosos, izquierdistas.
  • When students added concepts to their mental map after looking at the websites during class, they added things like "Personas 'normales'", "la tecnología", "religion", "informan/educan".

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Student Reflection

by Megan Creighton 

Caring in the Classroom

This semester I enrolled in an upper-level anthropology course called “Methods and Social Justice”, where we have been conducting ethnographic research among Latino college students. Our goals have been to hear their stories of perseverance and marginalization within the United States, and also give back to the participants by engaging in activism with the community and providing mentorship to community college underclassmen. Like Spanish 232, this course requires us to spend a significant portion of time outside of a traditional classroom in order to engage with the community. Aside from this community participation, we have class meetings where we discuss various ethnographies and theoretical readings regarding border crossings in relation to questions of knowledge production and various ethnographic research methods.

One of my favorite readings in the course thus far has been a chapter from Angela Valenzuela's book Subtractive Schooling: U.S.-Mexican Youth and the Politics of Caring. In the chapter, “Teacher-Student Relations and the Politics of Caring”, Valenzuela examines the relationships between the administrators and teachers, as well as teachers and students, in a Texas high school where she conducted her research for three years during the early 1990's. The main issues she pursues in this chapter deal with administrators' and teacher's fatalistic and essentialist attitudes toward underachieving students—where in any given year, a quarter of the freshman class is expected to fail—which in turn causes students set low expectations for themselves, opting to “protect themselves from the pain of possibly failing to do well by choosing to do poorly” (70).

Many teachers seem to unknowingly under-serve their students in a school where their classrooms are over-crowded (the school is over-capacity by 400-800 students each year), resources are generally lacking, and there is a cultural rift between mostly Anglo/white faculty and a largely Latino student body. Teachers are then, “both victims of and collaborators with a system that structurally neglects Latino youth,” (70) who consequently set low expectations for their students, undermining and disadvantaging them. While they resent the administration for several policies, they themselves also contribute to an “uncaring” environment by frequently opting, “for efficiency and the “hard line” over a more humanistic approach” in the classroom. Valenzuela argues that teachers and administrators make “blanket judgements about ethnicity and underachievement” (74) rather than addressing more complicated issues that better inform high drop-outs rates and underachievement.

In her years of research, she found that “underachieving” among Latino students was not because students do not value education (as many faculty members assumed), but rather, due to several overlapping factors that led to an “uncaring” environment in which students were met with low expectations and forced to decide between embracing either their cultural identities or their academic success. For example, the school associated certain attire, such as baggy jeans, with gang membership despite the actual low numbers of students associated with gangs. The result was “intense scrutiny by an aggressive, discipline-focused, “zero-tolerance,” administration that tends to approach disciplinary problems in a reactive and punitive fashion.” (79). Because faculty appear uncaring and oblivious to the lives and identities of the students, they are met with misunderstanding and tension from the student body.

In another example of cultural alienation, one talented student was very disengaged with his English class despite a passion for writing poetry and expansive knowledge on Chicano literature. Valenzuela went with him to the principal to propose an after-school Chicano literature class that the student could teach to other interested students. This student was deeply offended when the faculty expressed surprise that a dark-skinned Mexican student could have such talent and ambition, but eventually allowed him to set up an after-school class. It lasted only a few weeks due to lack of funding for books and a lack of interest and attendance. 

Taking both of these examples into account, succeeding in this high school means “consenting to the school's project of cultural disparagement and de-identification” (94). The students are in a powerless position, alienated within a structure that that discourages them from cultural engagement, and to some extent even treats identity as criminal association.

While working in the community among elementary school students in Span 232 and among Latino community college students in Anth 499, I often wonder about what solutions are available for such devastating misunderstandings and divides between students and staff in schools such as the one highlighted here. Valenzuela suggests that teachers embrace “authentic caring” towards their students, which means showing them that they have potential to succeed, that they are cared about beyond the classroom, and that they are free to simultaneously embrace their cultural identities and their education. From my work with community college students, I also agree with Valenzuela that cultural misunderstanding among students and staff can be majorly discouraging to Latino students, and that strong adult role models and mentors can have a great impact on student achievement. Furthermore,  through my work at Leal, I have come to believe that instituting bilingual education from a young age is another way to encourage Latino and Anglo students to embrace cultural diversity and identity in a more complex and meaningful way. I hope that as time goes on, more schools and teachers will come to understand the incredible impact cultural understanding and diversity has on student's desire and willingness to achieve.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Student Reflection

by Erik Bingham

Getting Better All the Time

I have now worked more than half of my required 28 hours of service at ECIRMAC. Although 28 hours really isn’t that much time, I have already gained practical experience through my knowledge of the Spanish language. I still struggle all the time with understanding what is being said, what is being asked, and how to respond. But I have good news- it’s getting better all the time.

We spent a week in class doing the exact same things that I do in my work- taking messages. Our teacher would read us a list of names and addresses that we had to write down. I am glad we got to do these exercises because it is something that I still struggle with. Our teacher also read us short messages that included all the information that we needed to write down including names, dates, places, numbers, and addresses. This activity was more difficult than what I have to do in the office because there was no opportunity to ask questions.

In addition to this practice, we learned how to ask the right questions when we don’t understand something. This seems like common sense, but it can be quite overwhelming when someone is saying something to you that you don’t understand in a different language. For the past couple weeks whenever someone is speaking to me on the telephone and I did not understand something I would just ask them “what?” or say “repeat that again.” After a while the other person would just hang up and I would feel bad that I couldn’t do anything to help them. Our professor taught us how to ask questions more efficiently. For example, if someone tells me a telephone number and I only understood the first three numbers then instead of asking them to repeat the whole thing, I would say the numbers I understood and then ask them to repeat the rest. While I haven’t had any major problems since this lesson, I know that I am going to use this strategy the next time I run into problems.

Every now and then I get to do something besides take messages. One of my favorite things to do at ECIRMAC is to work with people directly. When there is nobody in the office or everyone else is busy with other work, I get the opportunity to interact with our clients. Most of the time I have no idea what I am doing but luckily there is someone to guide me along. For the most part it is my responsibility to figure out what the client needs and then help him or her. From my experience so far I have helped clients fill out tax forms, food stamp request, and other things like that. Before working at ECIRMAC I had little to no knowledge of how to fill out these forms. While they are pretty easy to figure out, it is still difficult because I have never filled them out before, they are usually in Spanish, and I do not want to make the slightest mistake. Every time I help one of our clients I get better and better at my job.

This week is my last week of paid work (at another job). With this in mind, I am thinking about picking up some additional hours per week on days where I would’ve normally had work. Its not that I want to say that I volunteered 45 hours instead of 28 this semester, it’s because I want the experience. With more hours of practice comes more experience. Every time I get to do something at ECIRMAC I not only help the community but I also help myself get better at these practical skills that would be expected of me in the future if I want to put that I am fluent in Spanish on my resume.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Student Reflection

by Flora Ramirez

For this course I have chosen to work with the Center for Latin American Studies on their community outreach program called “Story Time.”  This program is spearheaded by Alejandra Seufferheld. Alejandra coordinates efforts with the Urbana Free Library to host “Story Time” every second Saturday of the month.  We usually begin with a short story that is written in Spanish.  Then, as a pair, we translate the story from Spanish to English as we work our way through the narrative.  From here we usually have a portion of the time set aside for music where children and parents are encouraged to sing along in Spanish.  Normally the songs we play are chosen with the intent to teach the children simple words in Spanish such as colors or numbers.  We conclude our Spanish Story Time with a craft activity; thus far we have made, “Papel Picado” (where intricate design patterns are cut out of tissue paper: a traditional form of Mexican folk art), pumpkin cards, and family trees.

During these Saturdays my main duty is to assist Alejandra with anything that will make the event run smoothly.  Sometimes this may mean inviting people in the library to join us, helping program the day with activities prior to that Saturday, or reading and translating the story with Alejandra’s daughter. While my opportunities to speak Spanish are limited mainly to reading a story, I appreciate the interesting dynamic that the Urbana Free Library offers.  By this I am referring to the children who come to “Story Time.” The majority of them do not actually speak Spanish and yet their parents attend the event.  I think that it is wonderful that in some ways these parents accept diversity and acknowledge the globalized society we live in.  Whether they are consciously or unconsciously aware of it, they are preparing their children to become individuals who welcome differences.

Even though I may be overestimating the effects of reading time, I think that at most these children are being exposed to new cultures.  By simply learning new words in Spanish, learning about new foods, or simply listening to new instruments and rhythms, children can realize that different is not necessarily bad.  This is a beautiful thing to me because these children are in reality learning about genuine acceptance from early on.   

Reflective Essay Prompts in an Active Community Service Learning Classroom

by Ann Abbott

Homework. Independent work. Writing. That's what we tend to think of when we talk about reflection in a community service learning course.

But just listen to the students in the video above, and you will notice that my class today about reflection was interactive. Collaborative. Noisy.

1. I gave each student a slip of paper with one of the reflection prompts assigned to them for their next reflective essay. Each prompt corresponds to a lesson from Comunidades: Más allá del aula. (I will list them at the end of this post.)

2. I gave them ten minutes to research on-line and think about the first part of their question: ¿Qué? (Here is a good resource about the 4 C's of reflection and other best practices for reflective writing in a community service learning course.)

3. I put them in pairs. Each student had five minutes to summarize and explain their prompt and information to their partner.

4. We then moved to the ¿Y qué? part of the prompt and changed it to an interview format. Each student had to ask their partner the ¿Y qué? part of their prompt. That is, the student being ¨interviewed¨ had to answer the ¿Y qué? question based on their partner´s prompt, using the information that their partner had given them in step 3 above. Each student had 5 minutes to do this.

5. Students then worked individually for five minutes, writing an answer to the ¨¿Ahora qué?¨ section of their own prompt, using the information they researched in step 2 above, and the information exchanged with their partner in step 4.

6. I showed students this picture of verbs related to Bloom´s taxonomy, and they had to match the ¨verbs¨ or triangles to the three step process of our reflection prompts: ¿Qué?, ¿Y qué? y ¿Ahora qué?

7. Finally, working together, each pair had to come up with an original topic and formulate their own ¿Qué?, ¿Y qué? y ¿Ahora qué? questions for exploring it.

Step 7 was definitely the hardest for the students. Choosing the topics and creating the guiding questions themselves really pushed them out of their typical "student role" and into something that tapped into a less-developed skill.

By ending the class with the creation of their own questions (and telling them that I would use them with next semester's students), I also signaled to students that our 50 minutes together modeled the same cycle within Bloom's taxonomy. That is to say that they started out simply gathering information, then they analyzed it together, and finally they used their new knowledge to create something--new reflective essay prompts.

Later, I will analyze the questions they submitted.

Here are the reflection prompts I used with the students.

Lección 10
Algunos estudiantes dicen que no sabían cuántos latinos había en su ciudad hasta que empezaron a trabajar en la comunidad.  Esta percepción se debe a varios factores: geográficos, socio-económicos y culturales.  En algunos casos, la universidad existe en “una burbuja” separada de la comunidad exterior.
·         ¿Qué? Ve a, haz clic en “MPI Data Hub” y busca información sobre tu estado y/o condado.
·         ¿Y qué? Compara esa información con lo que has observado en tu trabajo en la comunidad.
·         ¿Y ahora qué? Analiza el impacto de los inmigrantes en tu comunidad.  ¿Qué contribuyen a nivel cultural, económico y social?

Lección 11
Para la gente que vive fuera de su país natal, el poder comunicarse con sus parientes y amigos en su país de origen es muy importante. Ahora con la tecnología, la comunicación puede ser gratis.
·         ¿Qué? Lee este artículo sobre la brecha digital (hay que leer las primeras cuatro páginas, no las páginas sobre la metodología): (Puedes utilizar otro artículo, pero tiene que tener datos actuales y ser de una fuente
·         ¿Y qué? Conecta esta información con lo que has  observado sobre la gente latina en nuestra la comunidad. ¿Cuáles son las implicaciones de la brecha digital para ellos?
·         ¿Y ahora qué? Selecciona un tipo de tecnología que los inmigrantes pueden usar para mantener el contacto con sus seres queridos en su país de origen (e.g., Twitter). Crea una mini-guía en español sobre cómo usar ese modo de comunicación. Escribe instrucciones claras y concisas.

Lección 12
Has llegado a la mitad del curso.  ¿Cómo se conecta lo que estás aprendiendo en este curso con lo que has aprendido en otros cursos?
·         ¿Qué?¿Qué aprendiste en tus otros cursos de español que has podido aplicar a lo que estás haciendo en este curso?
·         ¿Y qué?¿Qué aprendiste en tus otros cursos no de español que se conecta de alguna manera con lo que estás aprendiendo en este curso?
·         ¿Y ahora qué?¿Cómo puedes conectar lo que aprendes en este curso con tus cursos futuros?  ¿En otras áreas de tu vida?

Lección 13
(I skipped this one.)

Lección 14
La inmigración no es un fenómeno nuevo, pero con la globalización, los movimientos de las gentes han cambiado de carácter—y en algunos casos han cambiado la cultura de esas gentes. 
·         ¿Qué? Ve a, haz clic en “Translations”, “Spanish” y “Cultura”.
·         ¿Y qué? Compara la información del informe (contiene varias páginas) con lo que has visto en la comunidad.
·         ¿Y ahora qué? Al final, aboga a favor o en contra de la globalización.

Lección 15
Dos canales pueden presentar el mismo acontecimiento de manera diferente (por ejemplo, Fox News y CNN).  ¿Qué pasa cuando leemos la prensa en dos idiomas? 
·         ¿Qué? Lee un artículo en la prensa en inglés que trate algún tema de la inmigración y resúmelo brevemente.  Incluye el url o la información bibliográfica.
·         ¿Y qué? Lee un artículo en la prensa en español que trate algún tema de la inmigración y resúmelo brevemente.  Incluye el url o la información bibliográfica.
·         ¿Y ahora qué? Analiza las similitudes y diferencias y compáralos con lo que está viendo en la comunidad.

Lección 16
“Escuchar es un acto de amor,” dice el portal de StoryCorps.  Al escuchar las historias de los otros se puede tener muchas reacciones: identificarse, horrorizarse, entristecerse, alegrarse y más.
·         ¿Qué? Ve a y lee sobre el programa StoryCorps y su misión.  Haz clic en “Escuche historias” y escucha varias de ellas.
·         ¿Y qué? Explica tus reacciones (intelectuales y/o emocionales) a estas historias.
·         ¿Y ahora qué? Analiza el poder de las historias de algunos individuos. ¿Pueden cambiar las opiniones de algunas personas sobre la inmigración en general? ¿Pueden instigar un cambio en las leyes? Piensa en otros casos en la historia de este país en qué una historia personal se ha usado para impulsar un cambio social o político.

Lección 17
La vivienda accesible y sostenible es un problema en otros países, pero existen soluciones también. 
·         ¿Qué? Ve a, haz clic en “Ashoka Fellows” y haz una búsqueda para “Region—South America” y “Sector—Housing.”  Lee sobre los intentos de mejorar los problemas de la vivienda en Sudamérica.
·         ¿Y qué? Analiza los pros y contras de varios programas.
·         ¿Y ahora qué?¿Qué programa (o elementos de varios programas) podrían ayudar la situación de la vivienda en la comunidad donde trabajas?  Explica tu respuesta.

Lección 18
El trabajo también afecta la calidad de vida.  Muchas personas trabajan para un/a patrón/patrona, pero otras personas tienen sus propias actividades empresariales. es una organización que permite que algunas personas den un préstamo a otras personas que quieren empezar o hacer crecer su propio negocio.
·         ¿Qué? Ve a, haz clic en “Lend” y busca empresarios en las regiones de Centroamérica o Sudamérica.  Lee sobre los empresarios y sus negocios.  (La información está en inglés y en español.)
·         ¿Y qué? Compara y contrasta las actividades y propuestas de los hombres empresarios con las de las mujeres.
·         ¿Y ahora qué? Compara la importancia de prestar servicio con la importancia de dar préstamos (micro-credit loans) a la gente de escasos recursos. Si sólo pudieras hacer una cosa, ¿prestarías tu dinero a o prestarías servicio en la comunidad

Student Reflection

Field trip to learn about fire safety.

by Megan Creighton

Recognizing and Assessing New Opportunity in Businesses and in the Classroom

            Although it is directed at entrepreneurs in the non-profit sector, chapter 3 of Enterprising Non-Profits (Wiley, 2001) by Jerry Kitzi provides invaluable pointers about taking advantage of opportunity in any situation, including the classroom. The chapter strives to explain the skill of recognizing good opportunities and explains that optimizing functionality and success in one's business is based on careful analysis, entrepreneurial instinct, and follow through. I would argue that such pointers are just as applicable to teachers in the classroom as well as they try to improve upon various teaching methods and enhance student achievement. The chapter offers four tips in seeking innovation which I have adapted for a classroom environment:

1)      Look through a different lens: Kitzi encourages businesses to consider the service from the eyes for the user. In the same way, teachers must constantly be evaluating their lesson plans and considering how the students learn best. They must also make sure that the students have an accessible venue to give feedback to the teacher. This could mean filling out daily evaluation quizzes before the kids leave or regularly meeting with individuals, especially those that are falling behind. Many times the teacher, or the owner, simply cannot naturally understand the student's perspective, and its important to always keep them in mind.
2)      Change the basic assumptions: Like successful entrepreneurship, successful teaching requires thinking outside the box and constantly reconsidering the way in which one runs a classroom. Are the routines in place effective for learning or have they become monotonous? Is repetition really an effective means of learning? Do the students feel comfortable when they are called upon randomly? These are all questions that teachers should be asking themselves to make sure their work is effective.
3)      Brainstorm with colleagues/competition: Teachers' effectiveness varies greatly, even within schools and departments. However, rather than lamenting the charisma or success of a co-worker in their classroom, engaging in teamwork and collaboration with colleagues would improve teaching across the board. Perhaps one teacher has creative teaching methods but doesn't know how to discipline her class, and across the hall her colleague runs a very structured, well-behaved class but the routine becomes monotonous. They could work together to share strengths and improve upon weaknesses by participating in workshops within their department or even observing one another's class.
4)      Brainstorm with the customer: It is important that teachers design lessons and assessments with students, rather than simply for students. It's important that the students work with the teacher to set reasonable yet challenging goals for themselves rather than having the teacher define the same expectations for everyone. If the students are individually empowered and motivated to learn, they will be much more successful in achieving the goals they have set.

In the classroom I work in, it is evident that the teacher actively does many of these activities. Especially in a bilingual classroom, it is important to constantly be aware of the students' perspectives to make sure that they are not falling behind their peers. Moreover, having students set their own goals to work to the best of their ability encourages students to motivate themselves and recognize their own successes. One particular task may be too daunting for one student and cause him to give up, while another student feels bored with too little of a challenge. 

In our classroom for instance, students that finish their work quickly and efficiently are given either more work to do, or an assignment that is extra challenging. Students who are struggling with given assignments, however, are given more instruction and leniency, to make sure that they understand and are not discouraged. 

Typically, I will work with students that are confused or working particularly slowly. I try to make sure that these students at least understand the concepts that have been taught. If the concept is not understood, I will try to explain it again. Some students are simply slower workers (this was me when I was in school!), so I remind them to try and work quickly, and sometimes show them techniques for writing or completing tasks more efficiently. Others, especially English-speakers, work slowly because they do not understand the directions that were given in Spanish. In this case, I will go over the directions again using some words in English, while showing them the first step in the assignment. It can also be helpful if another peer explains the assignment to them. 

For all of these students, it is more important that they still feel encouraged to complete the assignment and learn the material despite obstacles. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

ACTFL Sessions on Languages for the Professions

I hope to see many friends and colleagues at ACTFL next week.
by Ann Abbott

I'm excited to go to Philadelphia next week for the ACTFL conference. I'm going to bunk with my BCF (best colleague forever), Darcy Lear. I'm going to hang out with Holly Nibert and all my Pearson friends. I'm going to attend Dan Thornhill's session because I'm interested in the topic and because he specifically invited me. And I am looking forward to the session dedicated to new research directions.

There are many sessions with service learning in the title. Click here to search the on-line program.

Mary Risner put together the very useful list below about sessions specifically referring to languages and professions. (I highlighted my session.)

Tap me on the shoulder if you see me at ACTFL!


Friday November, 16
1:15pm to 2:15pm

Building: Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room: Room 114 Lecture Hall

Building: Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room: Room 121 A

3:45pm to 4:45pm

Building: Marriott Philadelphia Downtown, Room: Grand Ballroom Salon A

Saturday November, 17
8:00am to 9:00am

Building: Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room: Room 119 B

11:15am to 12:15pm

Building: Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room: Room 113 A

2:00pm to 4:00pm

Building: Marriott Philadelphia Downtown, Room: Room 404

5:45pm to 6:45pm

Building: Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room: Room 123

SUNDAY, November 18
8:00am to 9:00am

Building: Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room: Room 102 B

10:00am to 11:00am

Building: Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room: Room 102 A

Building: Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room: Room 125

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lesson Plan for your Student-Citizens--Election 2012

Wearing my "I voted" sticker.
by Ann Abbott

Today is election day, and voting has a particularly important place in any community service learning course. We are educating our students to be informed and engaged citizens. To vote is one of the most important measures of our success.

I am so excited to be with my student-citizens today, and here is my lesson plan.

1. Share the picture I posted to Facebook after voting this morning. Ask them what is happening on their Facebook feeds regarding the elections.

2. Project the video of Jackie Kennedy's political ad in Spanish.

3. Divide the students in half. Using their own devices, half watch Mitt Romney's ad with son speaking Spanish, and the other half watch Barack Obama's ad in Spanish.

4. Pair students, each student watched a different video. Ask them to describe the video they watched to the other person then together answer the questions on Sarah Degner Riveros' blog post.

5. Education is political. Language is political. Is bilingual education political? Project the video of a local bilingual education teacher explaining how students--and schools--do not have to choose between English and Spanish.

6. Form groups of three, and ask students to read Obama and Romney's statements on language education. (Ignore the bottom half of the page.) Ask students to compare and contrast that information with the information in Luz Rio's video and what we have learned about languages, cultures and communities in general throughout the semester.

7. Conclusion: Find the place where you can vote. ¡Voten!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Student Reflection

by Megan Creighton

Bilingual Education in the United States: Why are we so far behind?

Since taking linguistic and socio-cultural anthropology courses as well as a Bilingualism course in the Spanish department, I’ve become very invested in the political controversy surrounding bilingual education in the United States. Although Spanish-speakers make up 12.8% of the population, effective bilingual education has yet to truly take off in the United States. When considering the U.S. education system in contrast with several European countries and other developed nations, U.S. bilingual or multilingual education does not remotely compare. Some scholars have even argued that the U.S. approach to bilingual education is more closely comparable to developing nations than developed nations despite its excellence in almost all other areas of education. English-immersion and ESL “pull-out” have been the most common methods of bilingual education for decades, and continue to thrive today today. In places like California (where roughly 1 of every 3 students is an English language learner) and Arizona, where the demand for effective bilingual education may be the highest in the country, Spanish instruction is outlawed throughout the state, giving non-English speakers only one year in an immersion classroom before being transferred to a mainstream classroom taught entirely in English. What does this mean for Spanish-speaking students? It means being a year behind in normal curriculum; limiting their proficiency in both Spanish and English; segregating schools along lines of language and ethnicity; and generally disadvantaging non-English speakers.

In Carlos Ovando’s article, Bilingual Education in the United States: Historical Development and Current Issues, he argues that despite the substantial evidence that bilingual education (not English immersion or ESL “pull-out”) is more beneficial for all students than the popular English-immersion system, it has been nearly impossible to convince the general public as well as administrative boards and policy-makers. He posits that bilingual education is more than a pedagogical tool, as it is entrenched with complicated issues of cultural identity, social class, language politics, and equal rights. The absence of bilingual education implies institutionalized and “symbolic racism” which denies Latino (and other) minorities the right to a good education and a future of opportunity in the United States. Ultimately, Ovando calls for researchers, policy makers, administrators, teachers, and even parents to be “passionate about providing a first-rate educational environment for all children, not only for those who speak standard English,” (19).

In order to reach out to these different populations with varying opinions, however, three decades of positive research results on bilingualism will need to be presented in order to, “clarify misunderstandings about the nature of bilingual education, and overcome xenophobic fears of a perceived attack on the hegemony of English,” (19). We must allow research to drive educational policy rather than politics, especially with regard to bilingual education where the hegemony of English and white American culture has continually prevailed. Ovando describes two distinct paths that U.S. can take in response to this predicament of educating language-minority students: one is implementing two-way bilingual education programs in which English-speaking students and language-minority students can, “learn side by side in multilingual classrooms, becoming bilingual and cross-culturally competent together,” (19) or to simply resist the use of other languages other than English in classrooms, perpetuating an academic and social gap between students, as well as a nationwide socio-economic gap.

In my dual-language Kindergarten classroom at Leal, I’m glad to see that students of both English and Spanish are being given an equally rich educational opportunity from an early age. Not only will these children have the chance to achieve proficiency in two languages by the time they finish elementary school, they will grow up in a more accepting, open-minded, and integrated social environment. At the beginning of the school year there were several English-speaking students that refused to use Spanish, understandably so because they were just introduced to the language. Moreover, I noticed that there was a clear social divide in the classroom: at recess, Spanish speakers played with Spanish-speakers, and English-speakers played with English-speakers. Roughly three months into the school year I have noticed quite a bit of change in both of these trends. Last week, one girl who was adamant against speaking Spanish in the first few weeks was applauded by the teacher and fellow students for willingly conversing in Spanish. Social dynamics on the playground have changed as well. Although there is still a general social divide between English and Spanish speakers, there is much more interaction between them at this point in the year.

I hope that more research on the effectiveness of various bilingual education methods will surface in the near future, and more importantly, that administrators, policy-makers, teachers, and others will listen and take responsibility in truly improving our education system for all students. I wish I had the wonderful opportunity to learn a second language, and in many ways a second culture, at such a young age, and I hope that others will also begin to see how much there is to be gained from adopting this method for our future generation.

Work Cited

Ovando, Carlos J. "Bilingual Education in the United States: Historical Development and Current            Issues." Academic Search Premier. EBSCO, 2003. Web. 16 Apr. 2012.