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Showing posts from April, 2016

Life Long Language Learning: Online Tools for Portuguese Learning

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by Ann Abbott

I say it all the time: I love hearing from former students! Especially when they tell me that they are still using Spanish and are interested in continuing their learning.

This week I received this email from a student:

Hi Ann,

I'm not sure if you remember me or not, but I am a former student of yours (like six or seven years ago). I saw you on LinkedIn the other day and have been thinking of trying to pick up Portuguese lately so thought I'd reach out for some direction. I would like to take an online course for credit somewhere to keep me motivated and on task. If you have any insight and advice (and also time haha) please let me know. If you know of any similar advance Spanish courses like that I'd be interested as well. I've been using it a lot and there's always room for improvement! 
Unfortunately, I don't have good answers to the specific type of learning experience he's looking for. I understand signing up for a for-credit course because…

Student Reflection

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[from Ann: As you read this reflection from Joey, think about what questions you would ask him about this situation. What kind of behaviors might he be referring to? Could they be attributed to a number of things? How could you find out more about who attends school in Latin American countries and who doesn't?]

by Joey Gelman

Yo tengo una vista limitada sobre el mundo educativo. Por lo tanto, cuando yo pienso en el sistema de educación, es una idea normal que todo el mundo por lo menos tiene un nivel de educación básico. Pero esta idea no es una realidad y está reflejada en el comportamiento de los estudiantes en mi clase. En mi entrada anterior, hablé de un estudiante que está nueva a la clase y está teniendo problemas en la clase porque no sabe mucho inglés. Encima de esta idea, este estudiante nunca ha asistido a una escuela antes de Central. Es decir, él tiene casi 18 años sin educación formal. ésta es una idea increíble para mí, y desafortunadamente una realidad triste para mu…

Student Reflection

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by Joey Gelman


Para esta semana, quiero reflexionar en mi experiencia de una manera más personal con un grupo de estudiantes. Durante la clase de estudios sociales, trabajé con un grupo de estudiantes que no habían acabado sus tareas por el día.  Generalmente, hay un grupo de la clase en lo que trabajo pero ese día trabajé con los estudiantes que o no participan mucho o son nuevos. Uno de los estudiantes está en la clase una vez cada semana si tenemos suerte. Pero mientras el profesor trabajaba con los otros estudiantes, fue mi responsabilidad para trabajar con este grupo. Por primera vez, trabajé con este estudiante, y por fin, estaba interesado en el tema de la clase. Estaba preguntándome sobre las preguntas y entendió las ideas que eran clave para entender el tema. También, había un estudiante en este grupo que tuvo su primer día en la escuela, pero llevó en los EE.UU por cuatro meses. Entonces, cuando lo pasé el paquete que necesita terminar, él no sabía ninguna palabra de inglés. …

Student Spotlight: Hannah Rickey

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by Ann Abbott

Hannah Rickey was a student in a special section of our Spanish composition course the only time I ever taught it as a community service learning course. That's a course that many students take as freshmen or sophomore, so I was delighted when Hannah was my student again in "Spanish in the Community" and my social entrepreneurship course a few years later as a senior.

She went on to work last year as an Americorps legal advocate.

And now she is transitioning again. I want to share her message to me so that all students can see the connections between law and our Spanish community service learning courses. Hannah doesn't say that she's interested in going to law school, but who knows? Many of my former students have ended up going to law school and some now work specifically in immigration law or with immigrants.

Hannah is a role model not only because she has been working with immigrants' rights, but also because she exemplifies the winding path s…

Student Spotlight: Brianna Anderson

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by Ann Abbott

What a difference a few years makes! I want to share these two emails from the same alum so that current students can see that it's very normal for careers to follow winding paths.

Focus on finding your first job. Then keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities to move forward in your career.

December 2013 Hola Senora! 

Just wanted to send you a quick note and see how everything is going with you.  Things with me are going great!  I am working at a prevention-based non-profit called Dream, Inc. in Jackson, MS.  Our organization focuses on the issues youth encounter.  I work specifically with clubs (mostly SADD Chapters) across the state to incorporate highway safety activities into their schools.  Unfortunately, I haven't had much of an opportunity to use my Spanish recently and am afraid I've gotten a bit rusty!  Grad school is also going well--I just completed my first semester in a Child and Family Studies program at Southern Mississippi and am really e…

Student Spotlight: Ken Kliesner

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By Ann Abbott

----Update----I recently received this message from Ken: "I have still been working at Beam Suntory, racking up the international and government relations experience.  I'm happy to say I've won a a company-wide award (Rookie of the Year) and been promoted to Latin America Lead in our Global Supply Chain team." ----

I know I sound like a broken record, but it's true: I love hearing from my former students! 
Sometimes they contact me because they are thinking about their professional path. Sometimes they need a letter of recommendation (and I am happy to support them long after college). Sometimes they friend me on Facebook (I like following their personal and professional adventures on Facebook). But whatever the motivation or method, it's a real joy to see someone move forward and develop.
Ken was a great student last year in my course on social entrepreneurship. I've written about him on this blog before. And it was so nice to have a messag…

Student Reflection

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by Joey Gelman
[from Ann: Joey describes a situation that my CSL students see over and over again. Joey suggests solutions at the level of hiring within the school. I encourage you to think even further back in this chain and identify the role of languages (and missed opportunities to teach languages) in college, high school, grade school, pre-K, homes, communities, churches, etc.]
En la última entrada me enfoqué en la idea sobre el choque cultural para los estudiantes en su nuevo medio ambiente. Para esta semana, quería enfocarme en la idea sobre las escuelas y sus habilidades para servir los estudiantes que sólo hablan español en sus propias escuelas. Durante mi tiempo en la escuela, ha habido algunos días en que los maestros normales no estuvieron en la escuela porque tuvieron citas o conferencias etc. Pero, en está situación, la escuela no tuvo bastante maestros hispano-hablantes para enseñar la clase. La falta de bastante maestros preparados para el grupo de estudiantes de ESL es u…

Undocumented Immigrants: Invisible in Our Community, Invisible in our Curriculum

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by Ann Abbott

Florencia Henshaw invited me to speak to her students in SPAN 308 "Spanish in the US," and I was delighted to do so. I think we need even more of an emphasis on Spanish in the US and that students need to understand better the complex realities of Spanish and Spanish speakers in the US.

The topic of the week was "El español en la vida pública." I don't know exactly how she was planning to frame that topic, but I decided to talk about our public discourse towards undocumented Spanish-speaking immigrants and our public policies related to them and their lives.

I'll share my notes and resources below in a list format. I only had twenty minutes to talk, and I didn't take the time to structure this as a lesson like I normally would. But maybe something here will strike you and you could develop an actual lesson plan. If you do, I'd love to hear about it!

Pathways to citizenshipI passed out copies of the image at the top of the post, gave stud…

Spanish and Social Entrepreneurship: Week 10

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by Ann Abbott Semana 10: El riesgoMartesWe talked about ethics. Why? Because people normally think about risk as a financial game that entrepreneurs play. Sometimes they win. Sometimes they lose--and lose big. But with social entrepreneurship, losing your reputation is one of the biggest risks for the organization. 
As always, we spent the first five minutes of class in paired conversation. Like I always say, in community service learning (CSL) classes, students have to be able to start and maintain conversations in Spanish, often out of thin air. Those five-minute "hablar sin parar" activities are very important.
I transitioned us to our topic--ethics--and emphasized that compliance and ethics are two different things. Just because you are not breaking a rule or a law does not necessarily mean that you are doing the most ethical thing. 
Then we went straight into the series of activities that I shared with students, and that you can find here on my SlideShare. Ethics in Multi…

Experiential Activities for the Spanish Community Service LearningClassroom

Experiential actitivies for the csl classroom from Annie Abbott
Because a lot of language educators believe that community service learning (CSL) is only for Spanish, it's so nice to be friends and colleagues with Deb Reisinger from Duke University who does CSL with her French students. (She also does business language studies and teaches social entrepreneurship; we have many, many things in common.)
I'll be visiting her and her colleagues at Duke next week, and I'm excited to see their campus for the first time and learn more about their engaged scholarship and teaching projects. Although our universities are quite different (public/private) and in different places (small city Midwest/bigger city South), we actually are both part of the "New Latino Diaspora," a phenomenon that has the potential to radically shift how we teach Spanish in higher education in the US. (There might be a similar phenomenon for French speakers, particularly from the French-speaking Car…