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Showing posts from May, 2015

When Information Coalesces across the Spanish Curriculum

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by Ann Abbott

Sometimes when you teach Spanish community service learning, it can feel like you're all alone. It can feel like you have to fill all the gaps in students knowledge about immigration, professional skills, specific vocabulary--and all in just one semester. 
It can feel like we're all teaching in different directions, with different goals.
And then...
Sometimes it can feel like our students take complementary courses, learning things that expand their understanding of the issues we see in a Spanish CSL course. 
Here's a message I received from a student this semester; the video is at the top of this post.
Hola Ann, Quiero compartir un video muy poderoso que vi en clase hoy. Estoy en la clase SPAN 312 de Pilar Martinez-Quiroga. Es una clase de literatura espanola y Pilar eligio el tema de la inmigracion y la emigracion de Espana por este semestre. Entonces hoy vimos el video parte 1 de "Europe or Die" cual es "Storming Spain's Razor-Wire Fence.…

Student Reflection

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by Nicole Tauster

[A note from Ann: Dr. Glenn Martínez's talk took place early in the spring semester, but I am just now posting Nicole's reflection.]

La charla de Glen Martínez fue muy interesante, especialmente la discusión de la explotación de enfermeras hispanohablantes como traductoras en sus trabajos. Profesor Martínez presentó los resultados de una investigación hecho en un hospital urbano en Phoenix. Unas enfermeras quienes son habladores nativos de español contestaron preguntas sobre cuándo ellas usan su español en el hospital y cómo se sienten en esas situaciones. Muchas de ellas sentían que no pasaron bastante tiempo con sus pacientes porque los médicos que no hablen español siempre piden a las enfermeras por ayuda cuando tienen enfermos hispanohablantes. Esto no molesta algunas de las enfermeras porque ellas quieren ayudar a los enfermos expresar sus sentimientos mejor, pero otras se sentían mal o estaban nerviosas si pensaban que el nivel de su español no era sufici…

How to Talk about Education Experience in Business-like Terms

by Ann Abbott

I wanted to share an email I received from a former student who worked with Teach for America. Aside from the fact that I am very proud of her work, I want students to take a close look at the second paragraph, where she has teased out the transferable skills that she developed while doing Teach for America.

Think about how you can do the same thing based on your Spanish community service learning work, community-based team projects (SPAN 332) and social media marketing (SPAN 202).

Here's her note to me:

How is everything going for you and your family back in Illinois?  I follow you on Facebook and it looks like all is going well!  I am just beginning my second year with Teach for America and already starting to think about post-TFA jobs.  I am applying for various business jobs, and hoping to land something international where I can use my Spanish skills.  

During my past year I have been very humbled by my experience here in the Delta, and although I am choosing a sligh…

Student Spotlight: Kelly Klus in Colombia

by Ann Abbott

For all my students who think about living and working abroad after they graduate: this video tells Kelly Klus' story of living in Colombia and teaching English this past year.

Think about it! But don't over-think it. If Kelly had a good experience on this program, you know that you could, too.

Student Reflection

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by Nicole Tauster

Knowing Your Audience
Obviously in the course Spanish and Entrepreneurship we are going to discuss entrepreneurship, but particularly social entrepreneurship. Throughout the semester one of the most important things we talked about was the fact that you have to create something that would solve a problem in the community and/or provide a needed product or service. If you don’t create something of value, what purpose will it serve? No one is going to want or need it and you won’t be making any difference. In order to really help a community or a specific group of people, you have to know what it is they need.
I think CU Immigration Project struggles somewhere around here… They are a wonderful organization, one that I had the opportunity to volunteer with a few times this semester, but they are lacking the knowledge to truly progress and make a difference. It’s not that they don’t know what the Latin American immigrants in the Champaign-Urbana need or that they aren’t p…

Results of Community Based Team Projects

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by Asilah Patterson & Marcos Camarillo

What?This semester our group focused on a social media marketing campaign for Darcy Lear who is a Spanish Lecturer at the prestigious University of Chicago. Here business, DarcyLear.com offers a variety of services including academics (writing coach for PhD candidates), job/career transitions (resume critiquing and interview preparation), and on campus workshops (interview preparations, professional school applications, and job search documents).
In a time like now when social media is extremely popular, we knew that we needed to utilize the most commonly used outlets in order to ensure that Darcy’s services would be publicized to the fullest. One major source that we utilized was Darcy's Twitter page, which was very beneficial to our project. Twitter allowed Darcy to be connected to other professionals that offered similar services while simultaneously promoting her own. Marcos and I were also aware of the “peak” hours of Twitter (which ca…

Results of Community Based Team Projects

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by Ken Kliesner, Shafia Murad, Annissa Zak, Julianna Ryuh
What? Our group took a different approach to the SPAN 332 project. We chose to search out grants to apply to that would allow us to get university funding for putting on an event that works with the Immigrant community. We ended up applying to the Service Learning Grant with a proposal to put on a DAPA registration event for the Champaign-Urbana Community, partnered with ECIRMAC (East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance center). A few of our group members had attended a similar event weeks prior and had seen the impact that it made on people’s lives and wished to continue making that impact! (If you’d like to learn more about DAPA visit this site: http://www.nilc.org/dapa&daca.html.)So our group wrote a grant which contained our proposal, the budget, and the impact that it would have on service learning at the university by hosting a DAPA registration event. Unfortunately, there was a federal court order which suspend…

Results of Community Based Team Projects

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by Justin Chacko, Sheila Shenoy, Nicole Tauster
What? We worked with Dr. Pilar Egüez Guevara, editing and transcribing videos for her project entitled “Comidas que Curan”, the goal of which is to inform the younger generations of Esmeraldas, Ecuador about nutrition and how to make traditional foods in healthful ways. Dr. Guevara traveled to Esmeraldas and interviewed several abuelas about traditional dishes that they have been preparing for their families for years. She filmed these women preparing the dishes and then spoke with them afterwards about the preparation and personal connections they had to each food. We used a lot of the footage, which was in separate clips to help her edit the individual video segments and render them together into one cohesive product. We transcribed some of the clips by adding subtitles in certain parts to make a professional-looking final product that she could post on her website. So what? It was important -- not only to us but also to Dr. Egüez Guevar…

Results of the Community Based Team Projects

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by Shreya Vasavada, Kimberly Soto, Brittany McCauley, Vicky Pavlou
What? Our group had to attend two different events, one of which was Read Across America day and the other which was a Public Engagement Symposium. In order to maximize efficiency we split our group into two pairs and each pair worked on one of the event projects. Kimberly Soto and myself worked on the Read Across America project, While Shreya Vasavada and Vicky Pavlou worked on the Public Engagement Symposium. All four members of our group attended both of the events on the day they were scheduled and we worked together to carry out the activities that the events required us to perform. Also, to guarantee success, we all came together for group meetings and reported what we were working on. Everyone communicated efficiently and asked for help when needed. Read Across America was held on March 7th. For our project, we had to set up a table promoting reading in Spanish. At our table we provided Spanish books and four Eng…

Results of Community Based Team Projects

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by Annette Popernik, Adam Klauss, Bryan Boccelli, and Danielle Binder
What? La Línea is a helpline dedicated to the Spanish speaking and immigrant community of Champaign-Urbana. Since 2010, La Línea has served the diverse Latino community by helping with advocacy, translation, referrals, etc. As a team, we focused our attention on developing their Facebook page. Our goal was to communicate with and inform the community of various opportunities and resources as well as expand the reach and activity of La Línea’s Facebook posts. From the start, we decided we wanted to have a general layout of what we would post each day, week by week to have similar themes but to also make sure that our posts were varied enough. On Mondays, we posted about various events happening in the local community, from community gatherings and La Línea fundraisers to educational events like DACA Workshops and Health Fairs. On Wednesdays, as a form of empowerment, we informed them about Latinos making national news…

Results of Community Based Team Projects

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by Allison Diaz, Elizabeth Chan, Rodrigo Avila
What?For our semester project, our team, including Rodrigo Avila, Elizabeth Chan, and Allison Diaz, was tasked with planning and implementing the social media strategy for the ECIRMAC Refugee Center. After conducting an interview with the women of ECIRMAC, we understood their goals, audience, and tips for success for the Facebook page. One of our biggest priorities was to share what ECIRMAC is all about. It is sometimes difficult to explain the importance of the daily work that ECIRMAC does for the community because to quote Deb, “We do it all.” Each day is different; the women of the refugee center help immigrants and refugees deal with difficult tasks from just about anything from signing up for Obamacare to completing confusing paperwork. The Facebook audience is not composed of clients to the refugee center, but the volunteers, prospective volunteers, and other people in the community. We noted that Facebook insights informed us that76…

Results of Community Based Team Projects

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by Patrick Revesz, Alli Gattari, Kathleen Kolumban, Emily Melavic
What? Our group mission was to fund raise $500 for a community partner of Spanish 332. Patrick, Emily, Kat, and myself met up various times to devise a fundraising plan and discuss what community partner we wished to support. The choice was difficult because all of us volunteer for separate organizations such as ECIRMAC, Crisis Nursery, the International Academy, and Prairie Elementary School’s dual language program. All of the partners could benefit from the donation. Who has the most immediate needs? Before we decided on our community partner I attended a CU Immigration Forum retreat where I met the Urbana School District Latino parent liaison Lucia Maldonado. She gave a presentation on the situation of unaccompanied migrant children in the Urbana schools. Several unaccompanied minors traveled here from Central America on their own due to uncontrollable levels of violence and poverty. She explained that many of the stu…

Student Spotlight: Nick Romito

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by Ann Abbott
Nick Romito was a great student, but he's also a great guy. I love that about him. 
Nick is applying to medical school after a few years out of college, and I thought that many of my students who want to go to medical school, too, might benefit from reading some of the things that Nick did as a Spanish student at Illinois. (If you want to know what Nick has done since college, I have video interviews with him on my YouTube channel.)
Here's what Nick wrote:
I wanted to give you a list of all of the classes that I took for my Spanish Minor. I passed with a grade of A+ in 50% of the Spanish courses I have taken there. The class that I took specifically with you was Spanish 202—Spanish for Business where I had a very high attendance rate (maybe missed one class for when I was sick with the flu). I also took SPAN 232—Spanish in the Community where Megan Kelly was my TA during the same semester, but you were listed as the professor for the class. I graduated from UIUC w…

Student Reflection

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by Nicole Tauster
This semester for SPAN 332, in addition to volunteering, we formed groups and signed up for projects that allowed us to help community members/organizations with our Spanish skills. Some groups took over the social media campaigns for local organizations, others wrote grants or created fundraising events. My group did something a little different… We worked with Dr. Pilar Egüez Guevarra, editing and transcribing videos for her. Dr. Guevarra has a webpage and project entitled “Comidas que Curan” and her goal is to inform the inhabitants of Esmeraldas, Ecuador about nutrition and how to use traditional foods in healthful ways. One of the growing problems in Esmeraldas is that products that the locals have used and consumed for years, like the coconut, are becoming more expensive due to gentrification and higher global demand. Because of this many people, especially the younger generations, were using less healthy substitutes for coconut oil, milk, etc. But Dr. Guevarra …

Virtual Volunteering and Spanish Community Service Learning: An Example

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by Ann Abbott

Each semester there is at least one student who struggles to complete the required 28 hours of community service learning with a local community partner. While the best thing to do, of course, is to complete the commitment made to the community partner, if it's not possible for some reason, I like to offer some alternatives.

One of my students took advantage of one of those options this semester, and she shared with me the letters that she wrote to unaccompanied minors and that she sent to They Are Children. She gave me permission to share them here.



Positive Student Feedback about Spanish Community Service Learning

by Ann Abbott

Just wanted to share some messages from students.


CSL as motivation for study abroad
Once again, I wanted to say thank you for a great semester! I feel like I learned so much about myself and the community--in a very enjoyable way. I think that Span 232['Spanish in the Community"] is one of the most applicable classes I have taken, and I know I am definitely going to be grateful for this course in the future. 

After speaking with many of my fellow classmates in Span 232, I knew that I definitely wanted to study abroad. I was inspired when my classmates explaining amazing and eye opening studying in a Spanish-speaking country was.


CSL and content that moves studentsY para cambiar temas, le agradezco muchísimo por un semestre magnífico, realmente ha sido la mejor clase de español que yo he tomado en ambas universidades que asistí.  Que especial y conmovedor ha sido, nunca la voy a olvidar.  Le deseo sólo las mejores cosas en su vida y ojalá nos veamos en el futuro ce…

Cultural Appropriation and Spanish Community Service Learning

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by Ann Abbott

Add this to the list of things I never thought I would be talking about while teaching Spansih community service learning: clothing.

Yet this semester I have been confronted with issues of concern about clothing twice.

Chief Illiniwek One day, in the third of the semester, one of my students walked in wearing a Chief shirt. 
Oh, this was hard. I was frozen for a moment. I had two forces battling within me: Speak the truth. Always speak the truth. Confront racism. Be true to your moral compass. Call it out.Don't make a student lose face. Make your classroom a safe environment. (Safe for whom, though? Ugh.) We all make mistakes. Take care of things privately. I didn't do anything.  I didn't say anything. I didn't follow up in any way.
What would you have done? This student is a lovely person. A Latino/a (I don't want to give away the gender). This student was the last person I would have expected to wear something offensive.
After I hand out grades, I mi…