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Showing posts from August, 2013

Careers in Translation and Interpreting for Spanish Majors: a Presentation by Patricia Phillips-Batoma

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by Ann Abbott

Yesterday we had our very first "Mi Carrera" workshop for Spanish majors at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Patricia Phillips-Batoma from the Center for Translation Studies set a wonderful tone for the rest of the semester by doing three things:
Explaining very clearly what translation and interpreting are.Inspiring students to think of career paths they can follow (and money they can make!). Demonstrating how translators do their work. There's nothing like being at a workshop in person, but Dr. Phillips-Batoma kindly shared her slides which you can see below. The main takeaways include: There is a lot of demand for Spanish translation and interpreting jobs.You need some training.Freelancing is the dominant work model--and you can make good money.Furthermore,  I pointed out to students that even if you do not become a professional translator/interpreter, as a bilingual in any profession you will probably be called upon to do those things. Why…

Student Spotlight: James Peters

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by Ann Abbott

I've blogged about James Peters before, and I just wanted to add this quick update. I received a message from him just today, and I am so impressed by his work in a country that is rarely talked about: Paraguay.

"Hello from Paraguay! Sorry it has been so long- I have not had internet for the pat year. I have been pretty isolated down here but it has been an amazing experience. I'd say that I pretty much think and only speak in Spanish most days while I can retreat to the local indigenous language-Guarani. Thank you so much for all of your support through our time at U of I, I would love to come back and visit and talk to you about my experiences, if you are interested. Thanks again,

James Peters"

How to Welcome Students to Your Language Courses

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by Ann Abbott

Classes at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign start tomorrow. I'll be teaching "Business Spanish" and "Spanish in the Community."

I enjoy the first day of classes, even though I get a case of the jitters each year. I like meeting the new students, and I enjoy thinking of ways to make the first class engaging so that they will want to come back.

But my colleague Nola Senna starts engaging with her students before she even sees them. Read the emails below--the first one is for students taking their very first Portuguese course and the second is for returning students. Notice the ways that she accomplishes the following:

Makes the students feel like they have made a smart choice to study Portuguese.Puts their coursework on the Portuguese language into a global context.Shows students that she cares about them--and about the Portuguese program being a success.Creates a sense of community. Lists ways that they can take their learning beyond the cl…

10 Things an Arabic Course Taught Me about Spanish Programs

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by Ann Abbott

Spanish doesn't need to work very hard to attract students to its courses. Spanish is strong in high schools, so many university students simply continue on the path they have already begun. It's also viewed as a useful language, either when traveling through Spanish-speaking countries or within the US. And, let's be honest, many people see it as an "easy" language to learn.

But Spanish enrollments and number of majors have been going down at the University of Illinois. All of a sudden, we do need to start working harder to attract students!

And that's where we can learn a lot from the less commonly taught languages (LCTLs). To attract students to their courses, they do several things well: form alliances, advertise strategically and often, create eye-catching flyers, connect with heritage speakers, and more. Turns out being a "hard" language makes you create a compelling message and offer a high-quality product, just to bring in stude…

Learning Styles and Spanish Community Service Learning

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by Ann Abbott

I took this online quiz about learning styles and scored highest on "Intrapersonal." As someone who has committed her work to Spanish community service learning, it's no surprise that reflection is one of the hallmarks of this learning style. Self-reflection is one of the hallmarks of the CSL pedagogy.

But are all the learning styles compatible with CSL? There are students who are very uncomfortable with ambiguity, messy problems, evolving timelines, and emerging issues. Those are the very characteristics of CSL and, for me, what makes it such a rich and vibrant learning experience.

What is your learning style? How does that mesh with teaching CSL? Handling the relationships with your community partners? Explaining your work to colleagues?

Business Spanish: Turning Students into Social Media Marketing Consultants

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by Ann Abbott

It's been two years since I taught our "Spanish for Business" course. I missed it.

Business Spanish is, according to my friend Darcy Lear, a "hot-potato course:" it's on the books on many campuses, but the faculty don't like it, don't want it and aren't really sure how to teach it.

Not me. I love this course. Because I love business, and I love Spanish. Let me be clear, though. I love business not in a business school kind of way. Certainly not in a Republican, free-enterprise kind of way. And I don't love it in a business-is-better-than-the-humanities kind of way.

I love the creativity of business. The problem-solving involved in business. I absolutely love how it is solution-oriented. If you truly know about about business (not just stereotypes), you know that being successful in business requires critical thinking, an ability to recognize and appreciate multiple perspectives, excellent communication skills--all things that w…