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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Spanish Community Service Learning Students Need to Know about the Dream Act

by Ann Abbott
When our Spanish community service learning students work in the community, they are confronted with the realities that immigrants in our community face. Many times my students work with children in schools, helping them to enhance their academic skills. By the end of the semester, my students come to really like and respect the children and adolescents with whom they work. But until I bring it up in class, most of my students do not know that those same children--if their parents brought them here undocumented--who they are helping to excel in school will not have the opportunity to go to college. Because they are undocumented.

My students research the Dream Act on-line, but this film--Papers--would also help them understand the issues. It will be shown as part of the Social Justice Forum and here are more details:

  • Channing Murray Foundation
  • 1209 W. Oregon
  • Urbana, IL
  • February 1
  • 7:00 pm
  • Free and open to the public
  • Light refreshments will be served
  • Q&A discussion afterward

Framing Community Service Learning through a Business Lens

by Ann Abbott


These are all things I do in my courses. In part, I teach this way because I keep up on pedagogical advances. But in part, I teach this way because this is simply how I like to do things. I can't imagine teaching concepts without the community context. I can't imagine teaching about immigration myths and facts without sending students to websites that have data for them to analyze. I can't imagine not asking my students to put that information in a poster and present it at a poster session on campus. I can't imagine asking my students to do a "fake" marketing activity instead of asking my friends with businesses what information they truly need from my students. Etc.

How do you implement the video's concepts in your teaching?

University of Illinois: Teaching Workshops Pertinent to Community Service Learning

by Ann Abbott


The Center for Teaching Excellence is a wonderful resource for all faculty at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and Valeri Werpetinski makes it a top-notch resource for those doing community service learning and public engagement in general. Please take a look at some of the events they are offering this semester:


Specifically about community service learning
1. A workshop on "Case-based Teaching for (International) Service Learning."
2. A poster session titled "Social Entrepreneurship and Service Learning Showcase." Not only is this a good place to promote your own community service learning course, program or research, it is also a great forum for your students to present. I have a student team present here, and they are excited by the energy that surrounds the event and surprised to see how many other students on campus are doing service learning.


Not specifically about community service learning but supportive of the work we do in a CSL course.
1. Making Content Memorable and Transferrable using Narratives. Our students change their hearts and minds about immigration once they are exposed to the "stories" of the individuals they connect with in the community and the stories behind our government's immigration policies and realities. I use stories frequently, but I think this workshop would help me do so in a more deliberate, theory-based way.
2. Using Students' Prior Knowledge to Help Learning. I find this interesting because what we often have to do in a Spanish community service learning is correct students' prior "knowledge" because there is so much misinformation about immigration. I think this approach, however, could help us know--and even publish--what students do bring to a Spanish community service learning course.
3. Building Community in the Classroom - an Intercultural Approach. I think this is great! Our students absolutely need to do this during their CSL work, By talking about it explicitly and reflecting upon it in the classroom we can help them better achieve it in the community.
4. Creating Effective Student Teams and Team Assignments. I took this workshop with Cheelan a few years ago, and it changed the way that I thought about teams in my courses. I highly recommend it.