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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Student Reflection

by Lindsey Schmidt


Hola, me llamo Lindsey, y estoy emocionada para documentar mi progreso y mis experiencias de SPAN 332 durante todo el semestre.  Por ahora, voy a presentarme.  Es mi segundo año en la Universidad de Illinois.  Estudio las ciencias políticas, y quiero ser abogada en el futuro después de graduarme.  Creo que mi conocimiento de español me puede ayudar en esta carrera.  

He estudiado español por seis años, desde mi primer año de escuela secundaria.  Español siempre fue mi clase favorita porque disfrutaba aprender cómo expresar mis ideas en otro idioma.  Me gustaba aprender sobre las conjugaciones de los verbos y las palabras de vocabulario.  El verano antes de mi último año de la escuela secundaria, fui a España con un programa escolar por nueve días.  Visitamos Sevilla, Córdoba, y Granada.  Me encantó los sitos y la cultura.  Durante el viaje, me di cuenta de que quería estudiar español más en la universidad.  Ahora que tengo más experiencia con la lengua, quiero volver para expandir mis conocimientos pronto.

Mi aspecto favorito de español siempre ha sido la escritura.  Me gusta tener tiempo para pensar y poner mis ideas en papel.  En contraste, hablar es mi habilidad más débil.  Por eso, estoy emocionada para trabajar en la comunidad hispanohablante.  Voy a trabajar con La Línea, una organización de la YMCA de la universidad.  Tendré que hablar en español con varias personas en la comunidad sobre muchos asuntos diferentes.  Será un desafío, pero creo que va a ser una buena experiencia educativa.  

Igualmente, mi trabajo con La Línea me presentará a muchas personas de la comunidad.  Antes de esta clase comenzó, no tenía mucho conocimiento sobre la comunidad latina en Champaign-Urbana.  Estoy emocionada para aprender sobre estos individuos y sus situaciones.  Ser voluntaria es una gran manera para ayudar la comunidad local, y es excelente que puedo usar mis habilidades españolas para hacer esto.  

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Spanish and Entrepreneurship: Week 4

by Ann Abbott

This week we move on to the concepts of "mission" and "mission-based management."



Día 1, Semana 4

1.Combinación. We need to back up and remind ourselves of our guiding definitions in this course. Social entrepreneurship does two things:
  • Creates social value.
  • Combines business strategies with nonprofit value-creating values and practices.
2. La misión. The concept of organizational mission was popularized in the commercial realm, and now is also fundamental for non-profits. Your mission should be short, inspiring, and answer these two questions:
  • ¿Cual es tu razón de ser?
  • ¿Por qué existes?
It also fits within this commonly-used framework:
  • Visión
  • Misión
  • Valores
3. Ejemplos. We'll take a look at some examples from organizations we've already looked at:
4. Advinar la misión. Now we'll look at the concept of mission from a backwards perspective. In pairs, students will consider their experiences at the University of Illinois and try to write the university's mission statement. Then we'll look up Illinois' mission statement to see if they came close.

5. Tomar decisiones. The mission should make your organization work better, not just be a brilliant wordsmithing exercise. This is where the concept of mission-based management comes in. Whenever the organization has to make decisions, especially tough ones, they should do it based on their mission.

To analyze this, we will look at the Refugee Center's mission statement and services and follow these steps:
  • Do the services match the mission?
  • How would the mission guide your decisions in the following situations:
    • You have to cut half your services.
    • Of the remaining services, you are able to significantly expand just one of them.
    • A very rich community member who is an animal lover offers to donate $250,000 for the Refugee Center to start a program that is somehow related to animals. 
    • A volunteer comes to the Refugee Center wearing a Make America Great Again Tshirt.
6. Reflexión 1.  To wrap things up, we will go to our course learning management system, look at the assignment for Reflexión 1 and begin thinking, outlining, etc.


Día 2, Semana 4

Today we are going to pivot back to understanding the specific realities and events of our local Latino community. At the same time, I want to help students build the skills they need to be helpful during their CSL work.

1. Recado. As I always say, reading a complex message to students and asking them to write it down on a pink telephone message slip reveals how difficult this task is yet how often they need to do it during their CSL work in offices.

  • I passed out the pink telephone message slips, read the following message once, and asked students to take down the message as best they could: "Consulado Mexicano. Las citas para el consulado Mexicano ya estan disponibles. Les sugiero a las personas que necesiten una cita que llamen a diario para asegurar que obtienen una. El numero es 1-877-639-4835. El Consulado Mexicano estara en el Independent Media Center en Urbana. Cuando llamen tienen que indicar que su cita la quieren para el consulado movil en Urbana los dias 14, 15 y 16 de febrero."
  • I asked students to write down specific questions to ask me to help them fill out the message slip completely and accurately. (The first question was, "Could you please repeat the telephone number?") They did a great job and then compared their messages to each other for accuracy.
2. Informacion accesible. Then we moved to more information about the upcoming visit from the Mexican Mobile Consulate. The point I wanted to drive home to students is that you can provide information in Spanish, but if the people who need the information don't understand it, it's still not "accessible."
  • First students read the following post in a group for local Latinos: 
    • Tengo varios mensajes con preguntas sobre la doble ciudadania. Espero que este mensaje del consulado les aclare sus dudas. El tramite de la Doble Ciudadania requiere cita previa. Ese tramite en el consulado sobre ruedas consiste en la revisión de los documentos, integración del expediente y canalización para su captura a sede. Para esta etapa solo una persona puede llevar los documentos, es decir, no se requiere que los testigos o a los menores de edad esten presentes. DOBLE NACIONALIDAD Presentar la siguiente documentación en original: Acta de nacimiento de la persona a ser registrada “versión larga”, en la que debe especificarse el lugar, la fecha y la hora de nacimiento, así como el nombre completo y fecha de nacimiento de los padres, nombre del hospital y nombre del médico que atendió el parto. El original no se devolverá. Identificación del menor según su edad: Si el registrado es menor de seis años, podrá presentar certificado de alumbramiento expedido por el hospital, identificación del Estado ó pasaporte como identificación; si el registrado es mayor de seis años, deberá presentar una identificación oficial vigente (pasaporte, identificación escolar ó del estado ó licencia de manejo).
  • These are the questions students needed to answer for themselves.
    I told students to imagine that they needed to help a client go through this process. That means that you need to understand the instructions yourself before you can help someone else understand them. Write down a list of the information in this message that you need to find out more about. (Examples that emerged were: What is the Mobile Mexican Consulate? What is a long form birth certificate? What is the difference between un acta de nacimiento and a certficado de alumbramiento? How do you get official copies of documents if the Consulate doesn't return the originals?)
  • Then students had ten minutes to work with their group to search for the answers to their questions and inform themselves. 
  • Finally, I passed out large pieces of paper and markers and asked students to make a simplified visual guide in Spanish about the process. We ran out of time, but I had wanted them to put them on the walls and present them.
Again, the main point of the class is that speaking Spanish is not enough; we have to inform ourselves about things we don't even know in English to be able to help our clients access the services that they have the right to. And presenting information in Spanish is not enough; if it is not easily understood, it is still not accessible.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Spanish and Entrepreneurship: Week 3

by Ann Abbott

Almost all my students are squared away with their community partners now. There are about three who are still waiting, but hopefully they will hear back from the community partner and be able to start soon.

Día 1, Semana 3

Today was another active class. Students had to get up and change partners frequently. To form partners, I usually go around the room and count. If I have 20 students and want them to work in pairs, I count students until 10 and then count another ten. Then I say, "Uno con uno, dos con dos, etc." This ensures that students work with many other students, not just the ones they tend to sit with.

1. 3 minutes. In pairs, talk about your community partners, orientation and any work that you have already started doing. (As they talked to each other, I was able to follow up with a few students who haven't yet completely figured out their CSL work.)

2. 5 minutes. In groups of three, talk about your reactions and questions about the book reading that you attended last week instead of coming to class. Out of 24 students, four were not able to attend either one of the author events. They had to read a chapter of the book, write two pages of reaction/analysis and then include four questions that they would have asked the author if they could have attended the events. So to conclude this portion of class, I read a few of those questions to the class, and the students who did attend the events answered them for the students who couldn't attend. That worked out nicely.

Transition. "Attending the book reading and author events gave you perspective into one undocumented immigrant's life and perspective. That allows you to better understand many, though not all, undocumented immigrants better. Now, we are going to pivot to the lives of immigrants (documented or not) in our community."

3. 5 minutes. I copied and printed four recent Facebook posts from a private Facebook group dedicated to supporting Latino immigrants in our community. (I did not include any private information!) Each student read only one of those posts. After they read, they had to form groups of three with people who read different posts than theirs and present and discuss each post. The posts were about these four topics:

  • Banks asking for social security numbers.
  • Finding the right lawyer for your immigration needs.
  • SNAP
  • DACA 

I asked students to raise their hand if the post they read was old news to them, if they already knew all the information it contained. Only one student raised her hand. In other words, reading these posts helped them understand the immigrants they will work with and their realities in new ways.

Transition. One of the posts was about DACA, and we have heard a lot of about that and Dreamers in the news lately. But there is one group of young, undocumented immigrants that no one is talking about: our unaccompanied minors. These are children, mostly from Central America, who crossed the borders from their country to ours alone, without their parents. In other words, the story people tell about the Dreamers--"Their parents brought them here; it's not their fault they are undocumented"--does not apply to this group of children who came here mostly beginning in the summer of 2014 and who came to escape violence, especially gang violence, in their countries. Let's read about some of those children who go to the schools were some of you will work for this course.

4. 5 minutes. Again, I had four recent posts about unaccompanied minors in our community. Students read one post then sat with someone who had read a different post. They presented and commented on their posts. I then asked each group to write down at least two questions they had after reading those posts. (I'll go through those questions later.)

Transition. Why did we read these posts and do these activities? Students gave good answers, and I added that while many CSL students "discover" that undocumented immigrants are just like them (not like the criminals the media portray them as), on the other hand, they are not like them at all. Most of us have privileges as citizens that we aren't even aware of, and that makes our lives very different.

5. Un recado. Now I wanted students to see an example of services that the community offers for our Latino immigrant community. Everyone took a pink telephone message slip and filled it out as I read the following message several times.

DIA LATINO DE SALUD DENTAL en PARKLAND COLLEGE
EL 3 DE FEBRERO
Llamar y dejar mensaje (en espanol) entre las 9 am y las 5 pm lunes a viernes al (217) 417-5897 para hacer cita.
Citas para exámenes dentales sin costo desde las 7:45 de la mañana hasta mediodía.
No habrá cuidado de niños.

Despensa de alimentos de 8:30 a 12:30 para TODOS.

Many students struggled to understand and write down the message. "What was hard about it?" I asked. "The numbers!" they said.

To wrap it all up, I said, "So this semester we need to learn about immigration, immigrants, and..." "Spanish!" students said.

And they will learn. I know it.

[I don't want to put the Facebook posts that I shared here, in this public forum. But if you would like to use them for your own teaching, send me a message at arabbott@illinois.edu, and I will share them with you.]

Día 2, Semana 3

This is the day that I need to pull the pieces together. The first week of classes, we had to get geared up for working in the community. The second week, we cancelled classes so students could attend orientation and attend a book reading. This week, I need to reign things back in. I can seem like we're going in too many different directions if I don't show the common thread.

So today I brought us back around to the topic of our course: social entrepreneurship.

1. I explained social entrepreneurship to the students. This is the definition we use, although others define it slightly differently.

  • Social enterprises exist in order to create social value, not to make profits for shareholders/owners.
  • Social enterprises are nonprofit organizations (organizaciones sin fines de lucro). But not all nonprofits are social enterprises. Yes, they both accept donations and grants, but social enterprises do something else: they sell products or services. That money goes back into the enterprise's programming, not into stockholders' pockets. In other words, generan ingresos propios.
2. We looked at one specific example of a social enterprise, Homeboy Industries. If you click on their tienda virtual you can buy items that are a byproduct of their job-training programs.

3. We looked at another specific example of a social enterprise, Idealist.org. Their volunteer/internship/job matching site is free for some users because other users pay for it.

4. To summarize, students read this post: "¿Es mi organización una empresa social?" After they read, I put students in pairs and they looked at these two examples from the blog post in order to identify how they generate income: Njambre y Auara. (The second was easier for them to discern than the first.)

Three weeks down, 11 more to go!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Spanish and Entrepreneurship: Week 2

by Ann Abbott

This is the week when students' work in the community has to come all together. There are always a few students for whom things become complicated (a delayed background check, unanswered emails, etc.), but ensuring that students are set up with their partners by Week 2 makes the rest of the semester so much easier.

Which reminds me: have you seen the "complete guide" to setting up your Spanish community service learning course that I shared on my blog some time ago?  I hope that it will help others with the nagging details that can sometimes decide whether or not a CSL course takes off or not.

Día 1, Semana 2

Class cancelled; orientations with the community partner. 

A few years ago, I decided that I had to give time in class for ensuring that students were set up for success in the community. Somehow I had the notion that if I wasn't "teaching" during class, I wasn't doing my job. Instead, giving students time to decide which partner to work with during the semester, to sign up on the wiki and to attend orientations is an investment in all the teaching I do afterward.

So I cancel class this time of every semester for community partner orientations. Students who work at the Refugee Center use our class time to attend an orientation at the Refugee Center. Other students need to follow their own community partner's instructions regarding orientations.

I use the time during cancelled class to go over our course wiki and make sure that students are all signed up and ready to with their CSL work.


Día 2, Semana 2

Class cancelled; mandatory attendance at talk by author of Illegal.  

It was odd to cancel classes two days in a row, but I had to take advantage of the opportunity for students listen to the author of this wonderful memoir who was speaking on our campus. I highly recommend the book (in English) to anyone who is doing community service learning work or who just wants to read a beautifully written memoir.

I'll paste below the email that I sent to students at the beginning of the week. It lays out the work of the second week of this and any CSL course: getting students over the hump of moving from campus to community. Additionally, it shares some links that you might find useful.

*********************************************
Hola. I am delighted to see that so many of you have already signed up for a community partner. ¡Gracias!

A few announcements/reminders about our wiki:
·         If you have not yet signed up for your community partner, you need to do so by Monday. (Of course, if you have a problem, just let me know.)
·         To sign up, use this wiki. To edit the wiki, you can either create an account at pbworks or submit a request for permission. When you submit a request for permission to edit, I receive an email and then grant you access. I check my email often, but you will not have an immediate response.
·         For those of you who have not signed up yet, I would like to see you sign up for one of the schools or SOAR.  In both settings you will learn a lot from the children. A lot! And with SOAR, you only have to sign up for one day, not two. (You can help a little before or after and still get your 28 hours.)

A few announcements/reminders about classes next week:

  • We do not have class on Tuesday, January 23 or Thursday, January 25.
  • On Tuesday, those who will work at the Refugee Center (East Central Illinois Mutual Assistance Center) go directly to the Refugee Center for a brief orientation at either 9:30 or 12:30. You can go at either time.
  • Students who work at other organizations will follow their supervisors’ instructions about any necessary orientations.
  • On Thursday, you will go to one of the events listed on our course calendar (a document you can find on our course Compass site).
    • In preparation for those events, please take a look at the book description or even read a chapter or two. (The book is free online through our library. Just click on the “Books” tab and search for “Illegal reflections of an undocumented immigrant.”)
    • Megan Gargiulo, who teaches SPAN 232 this semester will attend the noon event. Please sign in with her. I will attend the evening event. Please sign in with me.                                                                                 
Tomorrow I will send personalized emails to everyone about their work in the community. Enjoy your Saturday!

Gracias.

Ann

Ann Abbott, Director of Undergraduate Studies
Dept. of Spanish & Portuguese; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Office hours for Spring 2017: T/R at 11:00 in 4006 FLB, 217-333-6714

Why not study both Spanish and Portuguese?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Spanish and Entrepreneurship, Week 1

by Ann Abbott

It's a hard time to be teaching about immigration and doing Spanish community service learning in the US. Every day--every hour--the news about immigration reform and a fix for DACA is more and more soul-crushing. And that's not an exaggeration.

But truth be told, it's always a hard time to teach about immigration in the US.

It's a new semester, and this is the plan I followed for the first week of classes in SPAN 332 Spanish & Entrepreneurship: Languages, Cultures & Communities.

Día 1, Semana 1

1. It took me a while to set up the laptop and become familiarized with the classroom. While I did that, students jumped right in.

  • Three minutes: introduce yourself to someone in the class (dar la mano, decir "Hola, me llamo X" y luego continuar). Two minutes: do the same with someone new. One minute: do the same with someone new.
2. I presented the three steps to the entrepreneurship process that we will refer to throughout the semester, emphasizing the fact that if you speak Spanish and participate in Latino communities, you will recognize opportunities and posses resources that others simply do not have.

3. Next, I explained that entrepreneurship does not take place in a vacuum; there is always a cultural context surrounding it. In our case this semester, that cultural context is everything that is going on within the Latino community. To understand a little about that cultural context, we looked at the following:
  • "Coyote." I used the video from this wonderful  RadioAmbulante podcast episode. It has the transcript, making it easier for students to follow along.



  • Illegal. I asked students to read the description (in English) of this memoir. This shows the opposite side of the story, that is, the person whom the coyote helps to cross the border. Luckily, the author of Illegal will be speaking at two events on our campus next week, and so students had to open up their calendars and decide which one they would attend.
4. That led us to open up our course website in Blackboard and look through the syllabus and calendar. 

That was it! 50 minutes go by very fast when students are talking, moving, listening and reacting.

Día 2, Semana 1

1. We'll start by finding out about students' previous experiences with the components of this course. I'll put them in pairs and have them talk about their experiences with the first two items on the list below. Then I will find students who took SPAN 232 in previous semester and ask them to speak to the other students about their experiences and their tips for success.
  • Spanish.
  • Volunteering. 
  • Writing essays.
  • Community service learning.
2. Then we'll go straight to the course wiki. They need to choose their community partner and sign up for it during class. I'll dedicate the whole time to that because it sounds simple, but it can actually be tricky.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Student Reflection

por Daniel Donovan

Hoy fue mi último día de voluntario en la comunidad. No hay duda de que aprendí muchísimas cosas que nunca puedo aprender en la sala de clase tradicional. Por ejemplo, aprendí mucha de la mezcla de las culturas mexicanas y estadounidenses y que los mexicanoamericanos hacen para celebrar su cultura.

Si tengo la oportunidad de hacerlo otra vez en el futuro, voy a hacerlo, porque aprendí cómo ser verdaderamente bilingüe y cambiar cual idioma estoy hablando en sólo unos segundos sin usar el <>. Este es porque hay unas personas que hablan el inglés y el español. Por ejemplo, cuando hay una presentación de seguridad, en inglés, necesito hablar con los estudiantes en español y también escuchar en inglés para poder traducir qué están diciendo.

Esta experiencia fue más o menos igualmente útil que mi viaje de inmersión en España, porque en mi lugar de voluntario, la gran mayoría de las personas solamente habla español, pero algunos quieren practicar su inglés, aunque quiero practicar mi español. Más que nada, era una experiencia extremadamente importante y útil porque aprendí mucha lengua coloquial y muchísima de la cultura hispanoamericana en Urbana-Champaign. Era una experiencia que yo recomiendo a todas las personas en la Universidad de Illinois que hablan el español.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Student Reflection

by Daniel Donovan

Trabajando en la escuela primaria de Leal es una experiencia diferente y nueva cada día. Cada día es una experiencia valiosa y feliz y que da el conocimiento. Por ejemplo, un día visitamos a la feria del libro y compramos muchos libros en español para los niños como <>, un libro popular en inglés que estuvieron traducidos al español. Además, otro día, escuchamos música en español para los niños como <>. También, hoy, visitamos a una feria de ciencias.

Está claro que, las actividades que los niños están participando son unas muy valiosas especialmente para niños tan jóvenes, siete y ocho años. Obviamente, las experiencias que estos niños reciben en la sala de <> son unas que van a influir el resto de su vida porque hacen conexiones en su cabeza. No hay duda de que, estas conexiones den más inteligencia que pueden aplicar a otras situaciones en sus futuros.


Claramente, hay innumerables experiencias valiosas en las salas de clase de <> especialmente en la de Leal en Urbana.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Student Reflection

by Daniel Donovan

La clase de español 232 en la Universidad de Illinois es  muy importante y valiosa porque enseña cosas que los estudiantes nunca van a aprender en la sala de clase normal. Por supuesto, hay un montón de experiencias que ya tengo personalmente, trabajando en la comunidad, que más o menos nadie podía tener en una sala de clase tradicional. Es obvio que trabajando en la comunidad es algo súper importante con muchísimos logros y poquitos retos. Más que nada, los logros valen la pena de los retos.

Yo trabajo en la escuela primaria de Leal en Urbana y ayudo a los niños de segundo grado en la clase de la <> donde los estudiantes leen y escriben en español en silencio cada día, para un mínimo de 15 minutos por actividad. Soy muy agradecido que tenemos solo 3 maestros en la sala de clase en un día normal de voluntario, pero tenemos más o menos 30 estudiantes. Por esta razón, puedo ayudar a enseñar a los niños, pero también ellos enseñan muchas cosas a mí. Por ejemplo, hay un montón de estudiantes quienes solamente hablan el español, y hay palabras de argot que no sabía después de trabajar en la comunidad. Esto es porque, la mayoría de los estudiantes en aquella sala de clase son hablantes de herencia de la lengua española. Por lo tanto, trabajando en la comunidad es una experiencia muy rara pero súper importante que tiene muchos valores. Alguien solo puede obtener estos valores trabajando en la comunidad. Sin embargo, trabajando en la comunidad no es perfecto, pero los logros valen la pena.

Obviamente, hay unos retos de trabajar en la comunidad también. Uno de estos es que los estudiantes de mi clase casi nunca hacen que deben. Si yo digo a ellos, <>, ellos no me escuchan. Pero, puedo usar este reto para lograr el conocimiento que necesito usar más de la inflexión y más acciones con mis brazos si quiero que ellos escuchan. Cuando yo hago este, casi siempre ellos me escuchan y no tenemos más problemas para el momento. En los casos que ellos no me escuchan, puedo recibir ayuda de otros maestros porque tenemos un mínimo de tres casi cada día que yo soy voluntario. Por eso, es como los retos son actualmente logros que necesitan cambiar, porque dan información en cómo cambiar el método de interactuar con los estudiantes que son tan jóvenes.


Al final, el voluntariado en la comunidad es una experiencia súper especial que todas personas deben tratar. Además, personas pueden aprender en miles de métodos no tradicionales y esto es una de las habilidades más importantes en la educación. También, es muy valioso hablar con estos hablantes herencias y aumentar mi vocabulario, gramática, y aprendizaje de la cultura de los hispanohablantes viviendo en Champaign-Urbana. Sobre todo, mi experiencia trabajando en la comunidad era una inolvidable que recomiendo a todas personas, no solamente en el área de Champaign-Urbana, pero a todas personas del mundo, independientemente de cuantos años la persona tiene. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Student Reflection

El salon de la clase de alfabetismo en espanol
by Danny Donovan

Estoy trabajando en la escuela primaria de Leal, en Urbana. Está muy cerca de <> y está en la calle de Oregon, la misma calle que el restaurante de <>. Me gusta mucho la escuela y me encanta el programa en que estoy trabajando.

Estoy trabajando es una clase totalmente en español que se llama <>. Yo enseño a los niños de las edades 7 a 8 en el segundo grado. Es una clase súper importante e informativa porque casi la mitad de los estudiantes solamente hablan en español.

Para el programa, ellos leen, escriben, hablan, escuchan y más totalmente en español. Cada día ellos tienen la gran oportunidad de escuchar un libro de audio, en español; leer casi en silencio con un compañero; leer solo en silencio completo; trabajar en la escritura; trabajar con los imanes de palabras y formar frases completas, memorizar su ortografía con tarjetas de palabras en español, y memorizar el vocabulario con el juego de tarjetas de memoria.

Estos niños tienen una gran oportunidad que se llama <>, en mi opinión es muchísima mejor que el programa de <>. Ojalá que los niños no nativos sean totalmente bilingües cuando tengan más años. 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Student Reflection

by Danny Donovan

Me llamo Danny y este es mi primer año en la Universidad de Illinois. En mi primera clase de español del séptimo grado, yo enamoré con la lengua y quise saber más.  Muy poco después yo estaba leyendo libros, escuchando música, y viendo programas en español casi cada día.

Mi consideración por el español aumentó, y el verano antes de mi último año en la escuela secundaria, yo viaje, con mi escuela, a Barcelona, Toledo, y Madrid.  Yo asistió a escuela cada mañana y exploró la cultura el resto del día.  El mismo verano, yo trabaje para una empresa de la fabricación.  Casi cada semana ellos quieren que yo envié correos electrónicos a los empleados en Alajuela, Costa Rica. Un gerente de aquel invite a mí a trabajar en su planta para dos semanas con los empleados locales en la fábrica. Todos los empleados de la fábrica solamente hablan el español. Yo hablé el español con personas cuando trabajé, cuando jugué el fútbol, y con las familias de anfitrión.

Quisiera ser fluente en y más informado de la lengua española. Mas que nada, deseo aprender más de las culturas de los hispanohablantes en la comunidad de Champaign-Urbana.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Why Students of Spanish Should Prepare to Be Advocates

Next year's conference will be in Salamanca, Spain.
by Ann Abbott

This year's annual conference of the American Association of Teacher of Spanish and Portuguese celebrated the 100th anniversary of our professional association. The inimitable and admirable Sheri Spaine Long invited me to participate on a plenary panel consisting of several people who had written essays or rejoinders for the centenary issue of Hispania that will come out in December of this year. It promises to be an expansive look at where we have come from and where we are going as a profession.

I'd like to share below my presentation from the plenary. What do you think our challenges are as a profession? What do you think "Spanish" means today and for the future? Do you think that teaching Spanish in this political climate requires us to rethink anything we do? Or teaching it in this changing environment of higher ed? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

***********************************************************
I don't have a picture from the plenary panel, so I'm sharing
picture from my room in the conference hotel in Chicago. It
was a wonderful conference and great to see so many friends.

My goal for the next few minutes is to light a fire under all our seats.


Online, you can read the very good essay by Prof. Robert Bayliss and Prof. Amy Rossomondo to which I wrote a reply. (Other essays are also available online.) They situate the ongoing work of Spanish programs within the demographic growth of Latinos in the US that necessitates the linguistic and cultural knowledge that we are already providing to our students. My rejoinder says that those demographic changes create tensions, complexities, and, frankly, dangers, that we are not preparing our students for. To truly rise to these challenges, we need to do our work harder, better, faster, stronger.


We need to get political. In many spaces and moments, speaking Spanish in the US is a political act. In a wonderful session at this conference by Stacy Hoult-Saros (Valparaiso University) and Sarah Degner Riveros (Augsburg College), I saw a video of candidate Trump criticizing Jeb Bush for speaking Spanish on the campaign trail and declaring that we need to speak English. For many people, he was “telling it like it is.” Is your program explicit about what it means to learn and to speak a stigmatized language? In our classrooms, Spanish might be just a vehicle to communicate what we did last weekend or what our analysis is of a piece of literature, but outside our classroom Spanish is always already politicized.


Furthermore, I don’t believe we should invoke the numbers of Latinos and Spanish speakers in the US as justification of our discipline’s relevance and then ignore the millions among those numbers who are undocumented or in mixed-status families. My work involves community service learning, and colleagues have challenged that work by, among other things, claiming that it reinforces stereotypes of Spanish speakers as undocumented, poor and in need of service. I say that a Spanish program that wants to increase enrollments by appealing to astonishing numbers of Spanish speakers in the US and at the same time erases the lived reality of many of those people is dishonest. So take a look at your program, your curricula: are undocumented Spanish speakers mostly absent, reproducing their lives in the shadows within our larger society?


As we know from recently published analyses of voters in the 2016 election, racism, nativism and Islamophobia are tenacious attitudes in our society, capable of producing political turns that then reproduce and reinforce these same attitudes among individuals and within our systems. Teaching against these forces is not easy. Preparing students to actually push back against these forces when they leave our classrooms is even harder.


So how can we approach this?


Yes, the first step is to simply inform students about these issues, and in many cases help them un-learn notions that have been ingrained in them. For example, Spanish programs are uniquely positioned to help students understand today’s Islamophobia by learning about the attitudes and actions of Christians, Muslims and Jews in Medieval and Early Modern Spain. But the connections to today must be explicit and teased out for students. Do students leave your program also knowing about Arabs and Muslims in Latin America--beyond a bit of trivia about Shakira and Salma Hayek?


After we inform students, I believe the next step is to educate them to be advocates, to turn the knowledge we provide into actions that are big and small. Let’s face it, issues like racism and nativism can create scary, even dangerous situations. Here are a couple of examples of how I broach this in my classroom.


My students watch Kim Potowski’s TEDx talk called “No Child Left Monolingual” and read one of her articles about immigration and heritage languages. In class I put them in two rows facing each other. One one side, I hand students note cards with nativist statements like, “This is the US, speak English.” And worse. The person facing then uses the information from the video and article to present counter arguments and examples from their work in the community. This is surprisingly difficult for both sides--emotions often get the best of them. But we work through this, and hopefully this better prepares them to dialogue with nativist Uncle Dan at the next family get-together, instead of just ducking the issue or getting into a heated debate that is ultimately unproductive or potentially destructive. (This blog post that describes the lesson more fully.)


In another activity, my students read an anti-immigrant letter to the editor and present arguments to refute its specious claims. They relish this. But then I ask them to find one piece of common ground with the writer. They often struggle with this. When they find it--maybe it’s as simple as “I also struggle with changes,” or, “We all want a community that is safe and secure,”--they must begin to write their rejoinder from that common ground. In fact, that’s a model of productive dialogue that you will see in the Hispania Centenary issue.


So just remember, our work is important and we need to dig deep to truly confront our country’s changing demographics. US Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly are working fast and furiously on their approach to confronting our country’s demographic changes. We need to work harder, better, faster, stronger on a better approach.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Student Reflection: Why Take SPAN 332 "Spanish & Social Entrepreneurship"?

Student from SPAN 332 Spanish and Entrepreneurship standing in front of the Refugee Center in Urbana where he did his community service learning work
Wole en frente del Centro para Refugiados
by Olawole Daramola 

Hola!

El curso SPAN 332 explora el concepto de emprendimiento social en un contexto latinoamericano. Se aprenden las injusticias en el sistema político contra inmigrantes sin documentos. Además, este curso revela oportunidades para transformar estructuras injustas de la sociedad y es un espacio para pensar sobre innovaciones de valor. Además, cada estudiante tiene un sitio donde ellos ayudan la comunidad latina en muchas formas diferentes. La clase proveerá conocimiento suficiente para navegar y entender las dinámicas de cada organizacion en comunidad donde se trabaja. Por ejemplo, si trabajas en El Centro para Refugiados sabrás tener más paciencia y compasión por los clientes porque en la clase escucharás sobre las barreras que enfrentan los inmigrantes. Éste es el sitio donde yo trabajé.

Aprendí mucho en este curso y estoy muy feliz de haberlo tomado. Primero, mejoré mi español--mucho. Además, he aprendido más sobre la realidad de inmigrantes, especialmente los inmigrantes sin documentos. Hay tantos obstaculos no solo para obtener la ciudadanía pero un buen nivel de vida también. Conocí a mucha gente y clientes en la comunidad donde trabajé, y fueron como el mismo tipo de gente de que hablábamos durante clase. En resumidas cuentas, en la clase tuve la oportunidad de hablar sobre los inmigrantes sin documentos y las estructuras injustas que enfrentan y pensar en formas para aliviar la situación. Entonces, en la comunidad, tuve la oportunidad para interactuar y verlo yo mismo. He disfrutado trabajando en El Centro de refugiados durante el semestre tanto que soy voluntario allí durante el verano también. Soy tutor de inglés para tres hermanos que son de México. Es una gran oportunidad y placer ayudarles y El Centro.

Como he dicho, conocí a mucha gente en El Centro de refugiados. Tuve la oportunidad para hablar con muchos clientes y pude aprender las historias de algunos. Un fue un hombre que se llama Mario. Vi a Mario en el Centro cada semana por casi un mes. La mayoría del tiempo hablábamos de deportes, específicamente fútbol. Mario vive en Urbana con su hermano y él trabaja muchas horas en un restaurante. Un día yo le pregunté, “¿Estás contento con todo?”, y me dijo algo como, “Sí, más o menos.” La razón potencial que Mario se mudó de México a los Estados Unidos es para tener un mejor nivel de vida (como casi todos inmigrantes). Mario está contento, pero es posible que él tenga muchas barreras aquí en Estados Unidos por su estatus. Me cae bien Mario, y estoy consciente de que las estructuras sociales y políticas de que aprendí en clase probablemente están afectando a Mario de esta manera negativa. Ésa es la razón por la que me gusta ser parte de trabajo en El Centro de refugiados y comunidades desfavorecidas.

Este curso es útil por mi carrera porque en el futuro puedo verme a mí mismo trabajando con una empresa u organización sin fines de lucro involucrado en mejorar las estructuras de la sociedad para ayudar a gente menos afortunada. Soy de una área de Chicago que es muy desfavorecida, así que tengo compasión y el impulso a ayudar en áreas como ésa. Entonces, puedo construir sobre la experiencia que he recibido en SPAN 332 porque es una experiencia única y significativa a mi y cualquier organización o empresa que se preocupe por el bien de la humanidad. Con eso, creo que cualquier campo de trabajo a que yo vaya, reconocerá y agradecerá la experiencia que he recibido en SPAN 332.


- Wole 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Spanish and Social Entrepreneurship: Week 1 Lesson Plans

by Ann Abbott

I think it's really important to use the first day of class to set expectations and get students excited. I try to teach it as a typical class so that they know what to expect. However, I have learned over the years that for community service learning courses, it is a good idea to ease into things, to take one step at a time, to use class time to tie up the many loose ends this kind of pedagogy can create.

I usually post my lesson plans on the UIUC Spanish Community Service Learning Facebook Page. Why? Because I post a lot of links that we then use during class for information and analysis. I also often have students write responses to my posts as a way to share their analyses, questions, etc. So look for the blue picture above that will accompany my lesson plans for this semester.

With that in mind, here are my lesson plans for the first week of SPAN 332 Spanish and Entrepreneurship: Languages, Cultures and Communities.

Week 1, Day 1: Presentación del curso

Conocer a tus compañeros de curso. 

I put students into pairs and gave them five minutes to talk to each other, to find out why they are in this course, to learn a little bit about the other person. Then I told them to go to our Facebook page, and: ¨Haz clic en el botón azul de esta página que dice ¨Send Message.¨ Sube una foto de tu grupo con algunas frases sobre ustedes.¨ This was fun! And since it was a message, it was private. After I got back to my office after class I read and replied to them all. 

This exercise introduced them to our Facebook page, where I post lots of useful information, it showed them the importance of getting to know each other and learn each other´s names, and hopefully it got them excited about the ways that they can be active learners in this class.


Ver los tres pasos en el proceso de emprendimiento.

I wanted to give students just a quick peek into the content we will study this semester. I gave one student a marker and asked her to write the first step as I said it, she gave the marker to another student who wrote the second step, and that student gave the marker to a student who wrote the third step. (I like to get students involved, and yes, writing on the board is actually an important tool, I think.) Anyway, here are the three steps.
  1. Reconocer oportunidades.
  2. Buscar recursos.
  3. Crear algo de valor.

Empezar a pensar en la comunidad donde vas a trabajar 28 horas para este curso. 

The local Latino community where they will work is full of complexities, and we have to guard against stereotypical or superficial projections onto what they will soon observe. I projected the Radio Ambulante website and told them: Vamos a escuchar algunos minutos del último episodio de Radio Ambulante, "Recién llegados¨.

We listened to a little more than seven minutes of the episode, and then I put the students to into pairs. I asked them comment on why listening to that is important for this class and what they should take away from it. They gave very interesting, good answers.

Safety
Lamentablemente, la universidad nos pide que les mostremos este video sobre qué hacer en caso de emergencias: http://police.illinois.edu/emergency.../run-hide-fight/.



Week 1, Day 2: Presentación de las organizaciones

Choosing a place to work is a big deal! Students are often a little hesitant, a little apprehensive. They want as much information as possible. They might be afraid of making a mistake. Or they´re not sure how they can get there and back in the time they have between classes. It´s complicated. And today´s class is meant to help them decide--to take the step and make their decision. We need them to decide and move on so that they don´t fall behind.

Escuchar a estudiantes de otros semestres


Familiarizarse con el wiki

Then we´ll move on to the course wiki. I´ll assign an organization to each student and give them time to read the information, explore the website, look on Google maps, etc. Then they´ll present the organization to the class.

Tomar decisiones

Finally, students will make their decisions and sign up on the wiki. The screencast below explains how to do that.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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