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Meaningful Engagement of Language Students in Communities Local and Abroad : 

Meaningful Engagement of Language Students in Communities Local and Abroad David C. Julseth Belmont University Nashville, Tennessee

Presentation Description: 

Presentation Description Although examples are from Spanish classes, this session will detail projects that can be adapted by teachers in a variety of languages/levels who are looking for interesting and meaningful ways to connect their students with people from many countries - either living in the U.S. or abroad. These projects also help students become more responsible for their educational experience - both in the classroom and in the community - because they must use their developing language skills and cultural knowledge to meet real needs in the community in mutually beneficial ways that connect with course objectives and enhance learning goals. Furthermore, students immediately see the value of learning another language because they get to use their language skills in context with native speakers. Examples will be given from "done-in-a-day" projects to semester-long, on-campus and off-campus, as well as some ideas for engagement through the use of technology.

Presentation Overview: 

Presentation Overview Projects Linked to Course GOALS & CONTENT Connection between Campus and the Community “Nuestros Proyectos”- Creative Service-Learning Projects Here and Abroad Connections via Technology Benefits and Challenges

The “Nuestros” Proyectos: 

The “Nuestros” Proyectos Four creative projects to engage your students in the community: “Nuestro Arte” “Nuestra Historia” “Nuestro Libro” “Nuestra Publicidad”

Where is the Learning?: 

Where is the Learning? The community provides limitless opportunities for the engaged campus to put: theory to practice, hypothesis to test, and acquired skills to use.

Where is the Service?: 

Where is the Service? Students are engaged in volunteer work in their community at: Schools, Community Centers Clinics or hospitals ESL programs Museums Homes, Churches, Businesses, or Non-Profits AND on their own campus

Why Service-Learning?: 

Why Service-Learning? Service-learning fosters a mutually beneficial partnership between the campus and the community

Mutually Beneficial: 

Mutually Beneficial Student Benefits: -Opportunity to use and develop language skills -Practical application of course content and goals -Learn civic responsibilities -Enhanced awareness and understanding of their community -Increased interest in studies Community Benefits: -Real needs are met by the students’ talent, energy, volunteer time -Community is seen as a valuable academic resource

Service-Learning Component: 

Service-Learning Component Select Service Sites in the Community Orientation/Training/Liability Pre-reflection Activities Reflection Activities GOAL: Connection between Course Content, Language Skills, and the Service Experience in the Community

Selecting Sites & Establishing Community Partnerships: 

Selecting Sites & Establishing Community Partnerships Location Logistics -Transportation -Safety Issues -Hours/Days: When? How many? Contacts Expectations and Qualifications

Pre-Reflection Activities: 

Pre-Reflection Activities Guest Visitors Community Partners Visitors from the Community Students write about their goals Assess what students know and think before they engage in service-learning

“Done-In-A-Day” Projects: 

“Done-In-A-Day” Projects Belmont Neighborhood Literacy Day Language students read bilingual storybooks and taught vocabulary in French, German, Italian, and Spanish

Course Component – CUBA Class: 

Course Component – CUBA Class Spanish 360 “Cuban Culture and Literature” Spanish students visited Cuban families and tutored English on a weekly basis

Nuestro Arte: A Service-Learning Project: 

Nuestro Arte: A Service-Learning Project SPA 330 "Civ. of Hispanic America" -Students required to work 24 hours in the Hispanic Community -Students needed to get to know an Hispanic "artist" and interview them for biographical and artistic info sheet -Students had to borrow something from their artist for the art exhibit -Students presented their artists at the reception

Biographical and Artistic Information Sheet: 

Biographical and Artistic Information Sheet Written and re-written in Spanish by the students as composition topics Later, translated by students from Spanish into English Posted next to each work of art

Nuestra Historia: A Service-Learning Project: 

Nuestra Historia: A Service-Learning Project SPA 311 "Advanced Spanish II" -Grammar, Composition, Conversation Course -Students required to work 24 hours with an organization that is involved in the Nashville Hispanic community -Students needed to get to know a member of the Hispanic community through service-learning -Students wrote compositions based on interviews

Nuestra Historia: The Interview Process: 

Nuestra Historia: The Interview Process Comp. I = Write your own autobiography (en español) and the questions that would have elicited this information. Comp. II = Write a short summary of the person you will interview and write 10 questions to ask them. Comp. III = Interview the person and write down their answers w/ your questions. Comp. IV = Rewrite their answers into a biography in Spanish.

Nuestra Historia: the Final Product: 

Nuestra Historia: the Final Product Students re-wrote their final two compositions (the biography in Spanish and the translation into English) I made a table of contents and cover I had the book printed and bound with a heat tape binding. Each student got two copies - one for them and one to present to the person they interviewed.

Nuestro Libro: A Service-Learning Project: 

Nuestro Libro: A Service-Learning Project SPA 350 "Libros para niños" -Study of Children's literatura in Spanish and English -Students required to work 24 hours with an organization that is involved in the Nashville Hispanic community -Most students worked with the Hispanic Achievers Literacy Program

Libros para niños: 

Libros para niños Hispanic Achievers Program SPA 350 “Children’s Literature in Spanish”

Hispanic Achievers Program: 

Hispanic Achievers Program To Promote Professionalism and Higher Education among the Hispanic Youth of Middle Tennessee

SPA 350 Children’s Literature in Spanish: 

SPA 350 Children’s Literature in Spanish Started with well-known books that have been translated into Spanish Bilingual Books Materials created for Spanish teachers Authentic children’s literature from Spanish-speaking countries On-line children’s literature (available in many languages)

SPA 350 Course Requirements: 

SPA 350 Course Requirements Readings (on reserve) – over 90! Reading journal Lesson Plan with book-related activities Exams Course Project & Compositions SERVICE-LEARNING – work with children in Hispanic Achievers Literacy Program

SPA 350 Course Project – “Nuestro libro”: 

SPA 350 Course Project – “Nuestro libro” Create their own Children’s Book in Spanish Required collaboration with the Hispanic children Children helped with art work and story Course compositions became the “About the Authors” section of the book Art Professor did a bookbinding workshop Books were presented formally to the HAP


Nuestra Publicidad 1. Worked 20 hours with an Organization in the Hispanic Community 2. Conducted a series of interviews (IN SPANISH) 3. Did research both in Spanish and in English to become knowledgeable about the organization 4. Wrote up the interviews into four compositions- the specific topics of the interviews / compositions were guided and announced by the professor 5. Based on ALL of the above, they designed a publicity item for the organization written in SPANISH


Nuestra Publicidad IDEAS: Web site for the organization Publicity brochure for recruiting participants, volunteers, and/or donors Video Newspaper article for publication in a Spanish-language newspaper


Nuestra Publicidad- Reflection & Presentation Final Presentation of their Publicity to the Class Sharing of their Publicity with the Organization and the Community Hispanic Achievers WEBSITE in English And in Spanish- Hermanitas ARTICLE published in Spanish newspaper La Campana Glendale Bilingual Immersion Elementary BROCHURE in Spanish

Connections via Technology Brainstorming : 

Connections via Technology Brainstorming Skype – free international calls via internet Cell phone – For some companies “local” calls include Puerto Rico Email and Word Attachments – “11 de marzo: Cartas a Madrid”

El 11 de marzo Letters to Madrid: 

El 11 de marzo Letters to Madrid Connecting Course Goals and Current – during times of crisis Pre-assignment Preparation We read articles about 11-3 (en español) Read an email from a friend and teacher in Madrid (also in Spanish)

El 11 de marzo Letter Requirements: 

El 11 de marzo Letter Requirements Reflect on how you felt on 9/11, where were you, how did you react, etc... (imperfect and preterite) Share your concern for the people of Spain (subjunctive) Express hope for the future (subjunctive)

El 11 de marzo Meaningful Connection: 

El 11 de marzo Meaningful Connection I read the letters and students made corrections They emailed me the letters as WORD attachments I collated the attachments and then forwarded to my friend and teacher in Madrid She printed them out for her students She wrote a response to my students which I fotocopied and we read together

Benefits of Service-Learning: 

Benefits of Service-Learning Students become involved in the community Students learn to share the enjoyment of art and of reading with others Relevancy of studies is very apparent Students may become inspired to become teachers

Benefits of Creative Projects as part of service-learning: 

Benefits of Creative Projects as part of service-learning Service-Learning can become a more meaningful experience Spanish conversations can be deeper as participants work toward a goal Spanish compositions are taken more seriously because they will have an interested public Feeling of completion and closure

Commonality in the Creative Projects: 

Commonality in the Creative Projects All of them involved the students in meaningful conversation with native Spanish speakers All of them emphasized writing, reading, speaking, listening skills, and culture They allowed for artistic and creative expression Built self-esteem for both my students as well as those with whom they worked.

Posible Challenges: 

Posible Challenges Need for a heritage community Realistic expectations Resources

Questions? / Comments?: 

Questions? / Comments? David C. Julseth Belmont University Nashville, Tennessee

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