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21 Replies to “Building Connections and Critical Language Awareness: Collaboration Between Learning Communities in Two Distant States (Marisol Marcín, Damián Vergara Wilson)”

  1. Marisol and Damián, thanks so much for sharing your collaborative work with the audience! I loved reading your students’ reflections, especially given their various backgrounds.

    Personally, this talk is super timely, as I am trying to incorporate something similar to increase students’ (L2ers, but mainly HSs) in my ‘From Reggaeton to Flamenco’ (aka Intro to dialectology class through music). My questions are a bit specific given this interest, así que allá van:

    1. What were the types of prompts used to elicit the reflections? Did you give them an open-ended question (i.e. “Y qué es lo que más te has sorprendido/has aprendido en esta clase sobre X?) or was it more guided?

    2. If this were to be done in a pre/post-test fashion (me puede la formalista que hay en mí ;)) what would be your recommendations in terms of data collection? I say this because I think the collaborative nature of your courses probably had a lot to do with the increase of CLA among students, so it’d be ideal to maintain/preserve the ecological validity of this type of study.

    Thanks in advance for your answers y de nuevo, ¡enhorabuena por un trabajo excelente!

    1. Hola Silvia!!! We did a semi-guided interview and had a variety of very open ended questions, one of which was very similar to the one you inferred. One of the most useful questions was at the end when we asked if the participant wanted to share any other thoughts that weren’t raised in the previous questions.

      Respecto a pregunta dos, we would have liked to organize a pre-post test. When we did this, we didn’t have the intention of doing a study, just connecting students. The students’ reactions to our collaboration inspired us to actually take the next step and get an IRB organized. We didn’t do the interviews until August/September of last year and the class ended in May, so it was nice to see that it had stuck with them.

      One of the points that we weren’t able to discuss in the short format was our deliberate attempts to set up projects and then get out of the way so that students could have maximal agency llevando a cabo el trabajo.

      Gracias de nuevo!!

      1. ¡Muchas gracias por la respuesta, Damián! Excelente colaboración 🙂

    2. Thank you for your comments Silvia,
      Damian touched on the main aspects of the first question, so I want to elaborate a little bit on the second one. In practical sense, an initial guided reflective essay at the beginning of the semester would provide a good “before” image, as far as the “after” picture, in our case, our students wrote papers and also created podcast episodes talking about issues relating their fields of expertise and the intersection with language. Some students created outstanding pieces; I recall one in which students interviewed professionals in the medical field to ask about perceived disparities and language, and another on language perception and the bilingual brain.

  2. This is a WONDERFUL talk! It is indeed true that, oftentimes, constructs such as CLA tend to be abstract which makes using them for research somewhat difficult. You have taken a wonderful step forward in operationalizing it! In addition, I love, loved, loved, how you interleaved Spanish and English in your talk.

    1. Gracias Priscila!!!! You are right, CLA can be very abstract and we hope to make it more accessible and concrete to conceptualize.

    2. Thank you, Priscila,
      This has been a great experiment. Our goal is to develop a reliable tool to help us assess CLA because we believe this approach we took advanced our students’ understanding and knowledge in ways a traditional classroom could not.

  3. Dear Marisol and Damian,
    Thanks for an interesting presentation. I learned about CLA as well as the project you implemented with your students, which was super positive for students.
    Best,
    Pablo

    1. Muchísimas gracias Pablo!!! We also learned about CLA during this.

  4. Damián y Marisol, thanks so much for your presentation! Súper importante para operacionalizar CLA con datos cualitativos! Enhorabuena! ¿Tienen o van a sacar un artículo sobre este tema y con estos datos pronto? I can´t wait to read it.

    1. Gracias Beatriz!! Es mi misión personal intentar aclarar los conceptos de CLA pa que sean más fáciles de implementar para educadores que no necesariamente tengan un PhD en Ed Ling o sociolingüística, o algo relacionado. Como muchos, decidimos presentar aquí para recibir feedback y pa animarnos a seguir con el proyecto. Entonces, Sí, queremos publicar esto.

  5. Thank you very much for your presentation! It is great to learn about HS/L2 working together from very different states and contexts! I have a couple of question regarding students’ opinions about this:
    What were student thoughts in interacting with peers from distant states? What kind of collaborating projects did they carry out? ¡Muchísimas gracias!

    1. Marina, excellent question y gracias. The students really enjoyed the interactions. They interacted on platforms such as Flipgrid (video sharing app for edu purposes), Zoom and email. De hecho, creo que la inclusión de la video conferencia fue una buena preparación para lo que pasó con la pandemia a medio semestre. In the home forums, not shared entre unis, the students expressed a great deal of enthusiasm.

      Projects:
      Lexical variation: Students showed images of objects known to have variable terms (e.g. turkey, bus, baby etc) to participants in their communities and discussed the results. Even with just gentle guidance students almost inevitably come to challenge the standard language ideological staple that there is ‘una palabra correcta y las demás están mal’.

      Perceptual dialectology: Students presented a blank map of NY or NM to participants and asked them to indicate where people speak differently and to provide examples if possible. This line of inquiry is also called folk linguistics because of the way it positions participants as the experts. Also, it is very accessible to analysis by students, in addition to sociolinguists. The data give a very palpable demonstration of language ideologies.

      Census and ethnolinguistic vitality: students chose a county from NM or NY and determined the % of Hispanics/Latines, the rate of Language Maintenance among Hispanics, and other figures. They then did an internet study to determine whether there were detectable resources, institutional or informal, that might promote or inhibit Spanish in public spaces (e.g. does the county in question have a page in Spanish? Are there papers or radio stations that cater to Spanish speakers?).

      For the final project, instead of writing a paper the students had the option to create a podcast or a narrated PPT instead of just a final paper. They did such phenomenal work!!

    2. Marina, excellent question y gracias. The students really enjoyed the interactions. They interacted on platforms such as Flipgrid (video sharing app for edu purposes), Zoom and email. De hecho, creo que la inclusión de la video conferencia fue una buena preparación para lo que pasó con la pandemia a medio semestre. In the home forums, not shared entre unis, the students expressed a great deal of enthusiasm.

      Projects:
      Lexical variation: Students showed images of objects known to have variable terms (e.g. turkey, bus, baby etc) to participants in their communities and discussed the results. Even with just gentle guidance students almost inevitably come to challenge the standard language ideological staple that there is ‘una palabra correcta y las demás están mal’.

      Perceptual dialectology: Students presented a blank map of NY or NM to participants and asked them to indicate where people speak differently and to provide examples if possible. This line of inquiry is also called folk linguistics because of the way it positions participants as the experts. Also, it is very accessible to analysis by students, in addition to sociolinguists. The data give a very palpable demonstration of language ideologies.

      Census and ethnolinguistic vitality: students chose a county from NM or NY and determined the % of Hispanics/Latines, the rate of Language Maintenance among Hispanics, and other figures. They then did an internet study to determine whether there were detectable resources, institutional or informal, that might promote or inhibit Spanish in public spaces (e.g. does the county in question have a page in Spanish? Are there papers or radio stations that cater to Spanish speakers?).

    3. Thank you, Marina,
      I want to add to what Damian said that students were very excited about the idea of working with people on other sides of the country. Since the first meeting, it was evident they were learning about aspects of their nation that had escaped them in other classes. When the pandemic began, and for a moment we were disconnected, students were texting each other to make sure they were ok. Although our present project focuses on CLA, there were other important skills that students learned and developed in this learning model.

  6. I love seeing presentations that inspire me to improve my SHL course–¡gracias! The breakdown of CLA into SLOs is so helpful.

    1. Yay!!! It’s an interesting step to take because it curricularizes it and allows ways to include it in program assessment. So on one hand very institutional but on the other promoting social justice. It’s one way to break it down. This whole thing is a process and I’m looking forward to how CLA evolves.

  7. Hola Marisol y Damián: Gracias por su presentación. Me encantó la diferencia que hacen entre “language awareness” and CLA , Y su correlación con Bloom taxonomy. Estoy segura que será una información/distinción muy útil para los profes. También me gustó mucho la colaboración entre dos campuses y con dos cursos. Mi pregunta es ¿Cada uno de sus cursos hizo referencia al contenido del otro? Entiendo que hubo colaboración escrita, pero ¿Podrían dar un poquito más de información sobre la estructura de la colaboración? Gracias y felicidades! Igual que Beatriz Lado, también espero poder leer este paper!

  8. Gracias por la pregunta, Maria Luisa.
    Nosotros compartimos programas de curso entre los instructores antes de comenzar el semestre. Aunque nuestros contenidos generales eran diferentes, tuvimos algunas tareas y fechas en común. Por ejemplo, en la semana 4 ambos cursos estaban haciendo entrevistas para ver que palabras usaba la gente para nombrar algunos objetos y animales.
    Al principio del semestre, los estudiantes crearon videoperfiles en Flipgrid para conocerse, y luego durante las reuniones de Zoom que estaban previamente programadas, ellos tuvieron la oportunidad de compartir sus percepciones y conversar acerca de los asuntos del curso.
    Esta es una descripción superficial, ya te contaremos más cuando publiquemos.

  9. Hola Damián y Marisol,

    Excelente presentación, me ha encantado ver la relación de la taxonomía de Bloom y CLA/LA. Muy interesante ese punto. Yo tenía una pregunta similar a la de Maria Luisa Parra sobre cuál era el contenido de sus cursos, donde se aseguraban que había información sociolingüística para aumentar el CLA de los estudiantes. Cuando lo publiquen ahí estaré para leerlo. Very timely too!

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