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Showing posts from 2016

Student Reflection

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by Araceli Pérez

Ya he estado participando en el programa de Abriendo Caminos por varias semanas y puedo decir con confianza que me ha encantado la experiencia hasta ahora. He tenido la oportunidad de trabajar con los niños, que he disfrutado mucho porque planeo ser maestra en el futuro. También  he podido participar en las clases que toman el grupo de control. Me ha gustado mucho participar en estas clases porque me ofrecen la oportunidad de conversar con las madres de familia.
Algo que me pareció muy interesante fue la conversación que tuvimos cuando hablamos del tema de las finanzas. Muchas de las madres hispanas confesaron no saber mucho de cómo manejar el dinero. Esto no me sorprendió mucho porque yo vengo de una familia hispana y sé que ellos también tienen mucha dificultad manejando el dinero y  sus finanzas, Todo esto me llevó a la conclusión que deberían de haber muchos más recursos e información sobre el dinero para las familias hispanas que no hablan inglés. Creo que esta inf…

Advice for College Spanish Majors

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by Ann Abbott

Even though the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign is a huge university, it is possible for students to connect with faculty. I say this proudly: especially in the language programs.

I had many wonderful students this semester, and many of them happened to be freshmen. I took one of those freshmen out for lunch at the end of the semester to let her know that I saw great intellect, talent and creativity in her work in my class. I wanted to encourage her, as a freshman, to consider opportunities on our campus that match her abilities--as well as complement them--and that she might not have found on her own. Or that she might have found much later.

Let me share that list because I would encourage all students of Spanish to look into them.

More languages This student already has Spanish and French under her belt. Someone who is so obviously good with languages should take advantage of all the wonderful languages we offer on our campus. (That's a rare opportunity, an…

How Much Time Does It Take to Teach Spanish Community Service Learning?

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by Ann Abbott

Recently, an interesting question came up about how much work it is (or isn't) for graduate teaching assistants to teach a Spanish community service learning course.

Here's some background on the concept of "time" in my Spanish in the Community course.
Students must work 28 hours in the community during the course of the semester.28 hours means that students work in the community 2 hours a week for 14 weeks out of a 15 1/2 week semesterIt is a three-credit courseThe class meets two hours a week Two hours of experiential learning equals one hour of classroom learning, according to some sourcesThe main grading tasks are three reflective essays and students' community participation self-evaluationsSo, all in all, for three hours of academic credit, students spend two hours a week in class and two hours a week in the community What about the person teaching the course? At first glance it seems as if you work less than others because you only teach two ho…

Student Reflection

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by Araceli Pérez


Tener la oportunidad de trabajar en la comunidad es una responsabilidad muy grande pero gratificante. Así que cuando la Dra. Michelle Cruz Santiago informó a mi clase sobre la oportunidad de trabajar en un programa de investigación en donde serviríamos a la comunidad hispana, inmediatamente me llamó la atención. La Dra. Santiago nos explicó que este programa de investigación, llamado Abriendo Caminos, buscaba descubrir si clases de nutrición ayudarían a la comunidad hispana a ser más saludable.
Para investigar este tema a fondo la Dra. Michelle Cruz invitó a muchas familias a venir al Centro Cultural en Rantoul. En el centro las familias se registraron para el programa y acordaron a venir cada jueves para recibir las clases de nutrición. Antes de tomar las clases, la presión, el peso, y medidas del cuerpo fueron tomados de cada miembro de familia. Esto ayudaría a la Dra. Michelle saber cómo estaba el estado de salud de cada familia antes de comenzar el programa.  Las fa…

Task List for Directors of Spanish Community Service Learning Courses

by Ann Abbott
In some ways the Fall 2016 semester was on of my most difficult. 
But in one specific way it was the best: I scheduled specific times for taking care of all my weekly teaching tasks and did them. That's right, every week I graded, entered grades in Blackboard, and responded to student problems promptly. Preparing the final grades was no problem whatsoever because everything was ready to go. Hurray!
What a relief! In the past, my calendar showed my teaching times (of course) and my office hours. But I used my office hours to address whatever was on my desk, answer emails, decompress, any number of things that push and pull all of us during a normal workday. I would also make my office hours available in Doodle polls for committee meetings. But this semester, I guarded my office hours carefully and used them to catch up on my grading and prep immediately following class.
So in that spirit of organization and prioritization, I'd like to share my detailed list of tas…

Student Reflection

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by Alicia Barbas

Mis últimos días trabajando como voluntaria en una escuela primaria me han ayudado a aprender más sobre los estudiantes hispanohablantes pero también sobre la vida como inmigrante en esta sociedad. He aprendido a relacionar la información que aprendimos en clase a las vidas cotidianas de estos estudiantes y de muchas personas en este país. Aunque haya terminado mi trabajo para el semestre, es aún más importante que siga luchando por los derechos de todas las personas después de los cambios recientes en el gobierno y en la sociedad.
Mientras trabajaba con los estudiantes, sabía que muchos de los que hablaban español como su primer idioma seguramente venían de familias inmigrantes, las cuales podrían incluir personas indocumentadas. Por ejemplo, un día, un estudiante muy inteligente me comentó que iba a faltar muchos días de la escuela en Diciembre porque su familia iba a pasar cerca de un mes en México. Mientras pienso que faltar la escuela no es lo mejor para un estudia…

Student Reflection

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by Alicia Barbas
Últimamente, mis experiencias en la clase bilingüe me han enseñado la diferencia entre los niños en el nivel individual, y por lo tanto, entre las formas de las cuales se debería ayudar a cada estudiante. En mi última entrada, hablé sobre las conexiones con cada estudiante, pero mi trabajo más reciente me ha enseñado la idea de trabajar individualmente de un nivel completamente diferente y con diferentes actividades. Por lo general, siempre he entendido la importancia de hacer conexiones personales, pero a través de mi trabajo voluntario, también he aprendido que cada estudiante aprende y avanza de una manera diferente, y por eso, es importante enfocar en sus fortalezas para ayudar con esta educación.
A la hora de hacer nuevas actividades con los estudiantes, les suelo ayudar a mejorar su conocimiento de los números. Primero, señalo a los números de 1 a 30 en una página y les ayudo a contar. Una observación curiosa que tuve es que la profesora me dirigió de practicar l…

Connecting College Students with Alumni: A Classroom Networking Project

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By Ann Abbott 

On Friday I will give two talks. One is a noon-hour workshop on service learning, and the other is a quick description of a classroom project for our School's Share Fair. Here's what I will share in the second talk.
Connecting Students with Alumni: A Classroom Networking Project Making the transition from language student to working professional can be a difficult and mysterious process to our current students. In my Business Spanish course, students work on a networking project that connects them to former students who were in their seats just a few years ago but are now in the working world. I will share the specific steps and resources I use for this activity—from researching alumni LinkedIn profiles to writing a “cold” networking email. This activity can be adapted to any language and any course.  On their end-of-the-semester course evaluations, several students listed this project as one of their favorite components of the course.

1. Research alumni. I am co…

Amid Falling Enrollments It Is Imperative to Advertise Your Spanish Courses

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by Ann Abbott

I'm our department's Director of Undergraduate Studies. I work hard with our advisor, Tasha Robles, to try to increase the number of students in our courses and our major/minor.

It's not easy. And yesterday I was sad to see that our numbers are low compared to the Spanish programs in most other universities in the Big Ten. (By the way, Indiana University is doing something right!)

And it's even harder when students don't have enough information to get excited about our courses.

As of right now, with just a couple of days before students begin registering for spring 2017 courses, this is our situation:

Several sections of "generic" courses don't have a title or description in the online course catalog.The advisor has received no flyers about any courses.I haven't seen any promotional materials for any courses except for Basque. I'll share the checklist below with our faculty.

How do you advertise your courses to increase enrollment…

Service Learning Workshop for Liberal Arts and Sciences

Service learning in liberal arts and sciences from Annie Abbott
by Ann Abbott

Next week I´ll give a workshop on Service Learning. My goal will be to help people from many disciplines envision how service learning can work for their courses and within our local community.

Workshop DescriptionResearch shows that service learning helps students better understand "messy problems"--the kinds of complex, interconnected issues that challenge our communities and that lie at the heart of our disciplines. In this workshop we will start with the basics of service learning to understand what it is, why the AACU lists it as a "high-impact educational practice," and what it looks like in a variety of disciplines. Then we will turn to our local community. As we identify strengths and challenges within our cities and nearby areas, we will sketch out specific ways we can connect our courses and disciplines to community-identified needs. Service learning students are often eager, yet …

Student Reflection

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by Alicia Barbas

Durante los días más recientes de mi trabajo en la clase de Kindergarten en el International Prep Academy, he empezado a notar varios elementos que me ayudan a conectar con cada estudiante. Por la mayoría del tiempo, les ayudo a los estudiantes a aprender, a reconocer, y a escribir las diferentes palabras y letras del alfabeto en un libro. La dificultad de este trabajo es que el libro consiste en el alfabeto en inglés y también en español, y la forma en que lo enseño depende del idioma materno del estudiante y de cuánto conoce en este idioma.
Para los estudiantes que hablan inglés, simplemente les tengo que ayudar a reconocer como se llama la letra específica y cómo escribirla. Muchos estudiantes practican las letras de su nombre, y entonces no tienen tantos problemas pronunciando, reconociendo, o escribiendo letras como “a” o “b” en mayúscula y minúscula. Cuando terminan con la letra, identifican una palabra que empieza con esta letra que está en la misma página del li…

Insights from the 2016 Conference from the Consortium on Useful Assessment in Language and Humanities Education

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by Ann Abbott


This is just one example of the wonderful information that can be found at Rice University's CLIC website, Bridging Research and Practice.

Last weekend I was very happy to attend the Annual conference of  the Consortium on Useful Assessment in Language and Humanities Education (CUALHE) at Notre Dame.

I wanted to attend the conference because in my role as Director of Undergraduate Studies in our department, I will need to lead the assessment efforts when our university goes through its accreditation process in a few years. (My awareness and interest in this level of assessment comes from presentations and conversations with Dr. Staci Provezis in the Provost's Office.) Indeed, I picked up many good ideas about assessment, and I hope that our department can follow through on some of them.

For me and my interests for our department, the highlights were these sessions:
"Teaching and Testing Interaction Competence" by Maryam Emami, Kevin García, Katharina Kley…

How to Prepare to Be a Facilitator in Business Spanish Class

by Ann Abbott

As I've written here before, I like to have my Business Spanish students practice being facilitators. I think it's a very important skill to have in business, and I think they already have enough practice giving presentations.

But the fact that it is not a common academic assignment can create confusion. So here is one student's explanation to other students about how to prepare.

The Tensions in Spanish Programs Cannot Hold

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by Ann Abbott

One of the hats I wear in my job is Director of Undergraduate Studies. I work closely with our advisor, I speak directly with potential students and their parents, and I am on our department's curriculum committee.

On the one hand, I am passionate about Spanish and how it can help students understand our world differently, better. Studying Spanish, studying abroad in Barcelona for one year, and doing the PhD in Spanish literature gave me many wonderful experiences and tools. That was back in the 80s and 90s. On the other hand, I see some very important tensions that make me wonder about the long-term growth of Spanish as a serious, engaged, intellectual program on US college campuses.


1. Spain-centric programsSpain has central role in both the typical curriculum and in students' imagination of "Spanish," yet Spain is a small piece of the Spanish-speaking world and of Spanish-language cultural production.


2. Spanish as a toolMany students want to study the …

The Tensions in Spanish Programs Cannot Hold

Image
by Ann Abbott

One of the hats I wear in my job is Director of Undergraduate Studies. I work closely with our advisor, I speak directly with potential students and their parents, and I am on our department's curriculum committee.

On the one hand, I am passionate about Spanish and how it can help students understand our world differently, better. Studying Spanish, studying abroad in Barcelona for one year, and doing the PhD in Spanish literature gave me many wonderful experiences and tools. That was back in the 80s and 90s. On the other hand, I see some very important tensions that make me wonder about the long-term growth of Spanish as a serious, engaged, intellectual program on US college campuses.

1. Spain-centric programs Spain has central role in both the typical curriculum and in students' imagination of "Spanish," yet Spain is a small piece of the Spanish-speaking world and of Spanish-language cultural production.
2. Spanish as a tool Many students want to study the…