13 Replies to “Exploring Curricular Innovations in Spanish Language Instruction through Latinx Archival Resources (Tania Avilés Vergara, Rosalía Reyes Simón)”

  1. Thank you, Tania and Rosalía! I Could you explain what type of work learners do with texts within this model? and How do you go about selecting texts for different type of courses and different levels?

  2. Hello Alberta, thank you very much for your question!

    We understand ‘text’ in a broader sense and within the Multiliteracies Framework, and we create constellations of ‘texts’ about a specific topic. Our goal is to bring Latinx history and culture to the Spanish heritage classroom, sometimes as a new topic or (most of the time) by going deeper into a discussion that is already available in the curriculum. This constellation has, as starting point, the resources that we are able to pull out from the archive, and we complement these resources with academic scholarship (depending on the course topic and level), audiovisual resources, podcasts, online newspapers, etc. It all depends on the students and course needs!

    While working with ‘texts’, and because our ultimate goal is for students to create connections between Latinx history and culture and their own experiences, we dedicate an important amount of time during class to experience a‘new text’ through the experience of the known (knowledges students already possess). This type of work with ‘texts’ is done mainly through speaking tasks in different stages: first in pairs, and then by sharing their findings with the complete class. In this way, we create a sense of community of learners and every student contributes in different stages to unpack meaning from ‘texts’ while making connections with their own experiences. In a second level of knowledge production, the students critically analyze the new information through writing tasks as “responses” to the new knowledge. The writing tasks are conceived as a process where students receive feedback from their peers and the professor.

    1. Thank you for restating what you say on your presentation and expanding. Actually what I was asking is, what is the actual work with those multimodal texts as they relate to learner goals (the goals you have on the presentation and course or curricular goals). It seems by what you write that the interaction with texts proceeds as an engagement with content in a critical fashion (a cognitive goal). Are there any other literacy goals within the curriculum besides content?

  3. Of course! Thank you for your interest!

    It is important to keep in mind that our goals are related to the course goals because we are implementing curricular interventions. These interventions should be aligned with the content goals, but also the linguistic ones! We are sorry if we were not clear about that.

    I will use as example the two-week unit “Orígenes de la Afrolatinidad”, implemented in elementary Spanish for heritage students at Lehman College.

    Elementary Spanish at Lehman College is an intensive writing and reading course, on the one hand. On the other, the course aims to develop a greater understanding of the significant role that Spanish has played in US society and history.

    With this in mind, the main goal of our curricular intervention was to reflect on the origins of discrimination that currently affect Afrolatinx communities (including students) and to create historical connections with the history of slavery in La Española (today República Dominicana).

    In the two-week unit “Orígenes de la Afrolatinidad”, the students worked in scaffolded speaking and writing tasks that aimed to activate previous knowledge on the topic (we used art work and Pero Like videos on YouTube), assess their understanding of the readings that we were discussing in class (coming mainly from the digital collection “First Blacks in the Americas”), and as a final product, they had to write a response paper. In this final written assignment, students had the chance to demonstrate the new knowledge on the topic using archival resources and to reflect critically on their own experiences through this history.

    Of course, there is content, but also linguistic skills that we worked on, such as reading comprehension and grammar exercises built from the written assignments that the students were submitting after every class. We used these assignments to identify the grammar and spelling aspects that needed to be improved upon, and we dedicated class time to reviewing these. For the final written assignment, I offered two different topics to develop, and I guided the process of writing by offering questions to guide their response papers. Before beginning the writing process, we spent one class unpacking the guiding questions and collectively activating ideas and knowledge to develop in the response paper. The students elaborated two drafts for the response paper, and they had the chance to integrate my feedback.

    This reply is already too long, but yes, there are content and linguistic goals that are aligned with our project and the course requirements (and the required textbook in some cases, such as the class that Ricardo Coloma is teaching). We are working with different levels and courses, developing different formats of interventions (unit-contents, final projects, etc.), but the process of embedding the curricular interventions is the same for everyone!

    I can share another curricular intervention on Advanced Grammar for Heritage Speakers that Andrea Ariza is developing and that is great as well. Or the project that Ricardo Coloma is developing in Writing in Spanish.

  4. Fascinating project Tania and Rosalía! Congratulations!
    I think you can gather and analyze a lot of qualitative data with the exit questionnaires you mentioned, about reception and acceptance of the pedagogical activities and measure students’ awareness.
    It would be really interesting to see that analysis.
    Also, thank you for your willingness to share your valuable activities with the CUNY Community.

    1. Hola Evelyn:
      Thank you!!!
      We hope to publish an article to share the experience, the unit and the students’ reception!

    2. Hi, Evelyn!
      Thank you very much for your comment. Yes, the survey yielded extremely useful data and we look forward to sharing more details in the future. As a team we consider that it has been a great opportunity to work interdisciplinary in this project led by Tania because we have seen the intersection of archive theory with pedagogical approaches and emphasize that students become familiar with archives and see them as living places and sustaining a dialectical relationship in constant intervention, instead of seeing them as inert repositories. We plan to continue developing more lessons with material from these Latinx archives and teach them in future courses at CUNY. Warm regards!

  5. Congratulations, Tania, Rosalía, and the whole team for such a wonderful project! Your project is very important not only because it incorporates local resources in the Spanish classroom but also because you are using these resources both in HL and L2 classes, which is always recommended, but even more so in CUNY as L2 learners are very diverse and have close connections to the Latinx community. I can´t wait to learn about your results!

    1. Hi Beatriz!
      Thank you very much for your comment. Yes, we consider that the diversity of the students has been a decisive factor that has guided the team to develop each lesson depending on the level of Spanish in each course. Undoubtedly, it has been a challenge to intervene the materials of the archives taking this aspect into account, but at the same time it has given us a great opportunity to investigate in depth the resources of the different collections and bring them to the classroom. We look forward to sharing the survey results and continuing to implement more lessons in future courses at CUNY. Warm regards!

  6. Hola Tania y Rosalía: Felicidades por este lindísimo proyecto. Me pareció muy interesante y productiva su conexión con archivos de la universidad. Esto les da acceso a los estudiantes a recursos que quizá de otra manera no conocerían, así que hay varias enseñanzas simultáneas. Yo también tenía la misma pregunta de Alberta Getti, pero ya la han contestado. Felicidades!

    1. Hola María Luisa!
      Muchas gracias por tu comentario. Sí, precisamente, uno de los objetivos de “traer” estos archivos al aula ha sido contribuir a socializar el valioso contenido de estos acervos Latinx con los que cuenta CUNY e incidir para que lxs estudiantes los vean como centros cercanos a ellxs a los cuales recurrir cotidianamente como fuentes informativas, pero también como recursos que permiten ser ampliados con las propias intervenciones desarrolladas en clase por lxs estudiantes. Confiamos en seguir colaborando en ese sentido con los institutos Latinx de CUNY. Saludos cordiales!

  7. ¡Enhorabuena y gracias por incorporarme en este proyecto, Tania y Rosalía! Está siendo una experiencia muy enriquecedora conocer estos materiales de archivo con mis estudiantes.

    My class and I have been working on a final project with the First Blacks in America archive in the Dominican Studies Institute, which has not only been an organized and scaffolded way to learn more about histories of Blackness in what we now consider the Spanish-speaking world, it has also provided an organic and rigorous way to practice a lot of the linguistic content in Spanish 102: differentiating verb tenses like preterite vs. imperfect, direct and indirect object pronouns, and of course tons of new vocabulary.

    ¡A seguir!

  8. Me encanta este trabajo. Me quedo con muchas ganas de leer el artículo y ver en detalle los materiales que han desarrollado. ¡Enhorabuena!

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