Monday, March 24, 2014

Give Your Spanish Community Service Learning Students' Reflections an Authentic, Global Audience

Follow me at @AnnAbbott, and I will follow you.
by Ann Abbott

As much as I love social media, I just can't seem to integrate Twitter fully into my life. 

When I joined Twitter several years ago, I would tweet after each class I taught, summarizing what I had done with students. It was a nice way to share my approach to community service learning (CSL) and to promote my textbook, Comunidades: Más allá del aula. But then I got out of the habit.

At this point, Twitter is a place where I go every couple of weeks to be inspired by others.

I was delighted that Carolina Egúsquiza @cegusquiza reached out to me via Twitter this past week. 

First, she shared the link to my blog and specifically called out how much she liked reading the students' posts:

Blogging can feel kind of lonely. Even though you see the stats and know that people are reading what you post, few people leave comments. You don't get the instant feedback that Facebook or Twitter provide. So this tweet from Carolina meant a lot to me.

Then Carolina reached out again, this time sharing the link to a webinar about a topic I am passionate about: preparing students for life after college. She also included two of my good friends and colleagues: Darcy Lear @Darcy_Lear and Mary Risner @LangForCareers. She has a finger on the pulse of social media and languages for specific purposes:

Because I'm not on Twitter too often, I missed the webinar. I replied though and said that I thought it was an important topic. Carolina told me her thoughts about the webinar and emphasized again how important it is to read students' stories, to see their veiwpoints:

I replied to Carolina to let her know that I would share her thoughts with my students. I am a firm believer in providing students with writing tasks that have a real audience--not just the instructor. With social media, we have more and more ways to provide that audience. Knowing that someone will read their words, that they can have an impact with their writing, photographs, videos, curated content, etc. can be very motivating and satisfying. Carolina agreed:

I'm following Carolina (@cegusquiza) now, and I'm looking forward to reading more of what she shares on Twitter. I'm also going to share this blog post with my students on my Facebook Page so that they will see that people are indeed paying attention to their posts.

  • Are you on Twitter? Follow me at @AnnAbbott. 
  • Do you want to see and read about Spanish CSL students' experiences? Go to my blog and search for "Student Reflection" and "Student Spotlight."
  • Do you give students assignments that have a real audience? Do they get feedback from people outside of the class? Please share your ideas and strategies.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Ann,
    ¡Qué coincidencia! As I'm getting ready to post a reflection about last week's webinar "Preparing students for a global community: Leadership and language", I visited your blog once again because I had mentioned it on my post and wanted to copy the link and voilà! I found this post! I was very happy to read it, but really, because I truly like what you're accomplishing with your students. The fact that you offer this class "Spanish in the community" is a great initiative and a unique opportunity for the students. And the fact that you give them the chance to write about their thoughts and that you post them is really encouraging. I'm sure they will inspire future students of yours and other students who take Spanish. Teaching Languages for Specific Purposes is all about the students' needs, we know that, but knowing what students actually need takes time, takes a lot of involvement from part of the teacher to actually talk to them, listen to them, periodically, not only current students but also students from previous classes to see how their needs have evolved... I'm taking a break from teaching because I recently had my second baby but as you say, social media is a great way to say connected, meet people who share your interests and get inspired for when I go back teaching. I'll definitely be checking your blog and posts - and your students' posts of course! Gracias por todo!