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Showing posts from May, 2016

My Summer Schedule: Selectively Working

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by Ann Abbott

Yes, this gazebo is in my back yard.

Yes, this is where I plan to several hours each day. With my laptop. With a pitcher of herbal iced tea. Listening to the birds. With some privacy, while the kids are in just a few steps away in the house. Away from the phone. Alone with my work.

I'm trying to balance work and family; disconnecting from work yet advancing on projects; enjoying my creative process without burning out; keeping my family close while also claiming my own space.

Does this sound anything like your summer? Maybe the particulars are different, but do you also have to manage competing needs? Between wanting to be active and wanting to just still your mind? If you're a mother, do you want your kids to have fun yet refuse to turn yourself into a taxi driver and money machine?

Summers are a little complicated.

I hope that by limiting my summer goals, I can both accomplish something and revive my spirit.

Online course development I am designing the fully on…

Writing Strategy: Don't Write, Just List

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by Ann Abbott

Do you ever procrastinate on a writing project?

I do. Not as much as I used to, but still, it happens. Even with a relatively small writing project I sometimes feel like I need a block of time (even if it's small) that I don't have. Or I think that since it won't take long I can wait until it's closer to the due date. Or I just don't feel like I'm in the mood for writing.

So I've learned not to write. Just to list.

See, successful writing comes in large part from having strong, clear ideas with supporting evidence. That's structural. And for me, a lot of that can happen before I even write a complete sentence at all.

The trick is to know that jotting down your ideas and listing them is writing that doesn't feel like writing.

Making a list has none of the psychological pressures of "writing." Jot down. Scratch out some ideas. Let me think about this for a couple of minutes. None of those phrases cause as much anxiety as "…

Welcoming New Faculty and Staff to Your Department

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by Ann Abbott

This past year we were lucky to hire three instructors in our department to help teach Spanish, one advisor and one Teaching Assistant Professor to direct the Portuguese language program. For a department that has not experienced the same growth in non-tenure track faculty that many other departments have, this was a big jump.

Perhaps because we were not used to hiring so many people at once, the "onboarding" (as they say in business contexts) was bumpy...and at times non-existent. Some things were out of everyone's control (e.g., late arrivals due to visa issues, problematic visa categories, etc.), but other things, in hindsight, could have been handled differently.

But when it comes down to it, people in our department work very independently, are rarely in their offices, and share no real common spaces. Building a sense of community is hard in a department that doesn't really function as...well...a community. (This is not a criticism. It's simpl…

Student Reflection

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Consider this a manifesto from Joey about what we need to do differently in our country regarding when we teach languages, how we teach them and what we teach in those classes. He has hit upon our country's contradictory relationship with languages and language speakers, both in terms of official language policies and in the every-day practices of language ideologies. Bravo, Joey.
by Joey Gelman
No puedo creer que ésta sea mi última entrada sobre mi experiencia con el programa de ESL en Central. Me ha encantado mi tiempo allí y he aprendido mucho sobre el tema de la educación para estudiantes que son sólo hispano-hablantes o que son recién llegados a los EE.UU. Lo más interesante pero también lo más triste que he aprendido es que nuestro sistema de educación y también la mayoría de las personas que pueden ayudar a estos estudiantes no están preparados.  Como he explicado durante mis otras entradas, la mayoría de las maestras, la facultad y también otros estudiantes no pueden hablar …

Student Reflection

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As you read Joey's reflection, think about this situation from many angles. The students' perspectives (as he shares in the second paragraph). The volunteers' perspectives. The schools' perspective. And others. What was your high school experience like? Was it "do or die"? Or did you have a feeling that high school flowed into simply another stage for you? Do you think it's easier or harder to learn a language under high pressure? Do you think these students would have used more English if more English-speaking kids befriended them? 

by Joey Gelman

Para  esta semana yo quiero enfocar mi entrada en el compromiso de hablar español  o inglés durante el día por los estudiantes.  Como he dicho antes, la mayoría de los estudiantes son de Guatemala, y su lengua materna no es español sino Q'anjob'al. Por lo tanto, cuando los estudiantes no necesitan hablar con el profesor, o no quieren que los maestros sepan lo que ellos dicen, ellos usan Q'anjob'al…

Community Service Learning Students and the Peace Corps

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by Ann Abbott

I know several students who have gone to the Peace Corps after a college experience filled with travel, language learning and transcultural encounters. It's a fantastic experience, and they come back with unique perspectives and skills.

Scrolling through LinkedIn this morning, I came upon a blog that my former student, Andrew Piotrowski has contributed to. His posts are about El Salvador, and I just loved reading them. I admire the way he presents his experiences, the people who he worked with, and the way the he sees things now that he is back in the US. I encourage you to read them on Peace Corps Volunteers: Stories about the Toughest Job You'll Ever Love.

If you search through this blog, you'll find old posts from Andrew. Here is what he wrote to me after I told him I much I loved his blog posts.

Thank you Annie! I'm glad you enjoyed reading it. I feel like I got my start blogging by writing articles for your blog to earn that extra credit hour I needed…

Language Teaching Tips: The First in a Series of Short, Focused Tips

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One Instruction at a Time: A Teaching Tip for Foreign Languages from Annie Abbott
by Ann Abbott

On this blog I usually tackle "big picture" items. I think a lot about what a Spanish major should look like in the US today. I use it as a platform to hopefully make Spanish community service learning more accessible to anyone thinking about teaching with it. I want to share my students' reflections so they have a strong voice in how we construct (or don't) our courses. I'd love it if Business Spanish and specific topics like social entrepreneurship and bilingual social media marketing gained resonance in our field.

But I started out, many years ago, as a course supervisor. Of SPAN 101 and 102. That was my first gig.

I worked on the syllabus, did classroom observations, put together tests, soaked up ideas from my professors and mentors, and much more. I had to pay attention to the little things that make classes work. And even more specifically, that make language lear…

End of Academic Year: Time for Reflection

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by Ann Abbott

As the spring semester and the academic year come to a close, it's a good time to reflect. Last week I handed in my annual activity report, and that forces you to reflect on the products of your work within a structured (and hierarchical) format. Some of the highlights from that list include:

Research/Writing

Incorporating New Areas of Business into Business LanguageStudies: SocialMedia Marketing.” Global Business Languages 19 (2014): 71-84.  
This was my only piece of writing that appeared in print this year. In it, I use Radio Ambulante as a case study to exemplify linguistically- and culturally-appropriate social media marketing. So it combines two things that I love: the creativity of social media marketing and Radio Ambulante's masterful storytelling--in their podcasts and in their marketing. I'm also happy to say that the article cracked Global Business Language's list of its most popular papers.

I have four other pieces in press, one abstract awaiting…