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Empowering Language Learners: A Critical Pedagogy across the Curriculum


How does working with materials in languages other than English enliven the possibilities of any course and introduce language learning in highly motivating and contextualized ways? Can proficiency in another language—say, by heritage speakers, international students, or those just fulfilling the language requirement—be a deeply empowering asset for students across the disciplines at UO?
In this interactive session, we’ll learn about the CAS Renaissance award winning-work of Robert Davis and Claudia Holguin (Romance Languages) and Julie Weise (History) to bring Spanish-language materials into courses in which the primary language of instruction is English—elevating the research-based aspect of these courses and drawing students into the powerful, human stories of their course subjects through an encounter with Spanish-language vernacular texts and their authors. They have successfully employed this critical language pedagogy with students with as little as one year of college Spanish, or who emerged from several years of high school Spanish erroneously believing, “I don’t remember anything.”
We’ll practice a real activity our presenters use in class and brainstorm ways this teaching could work in other contexts. Moreover, we’ll consider how a more multilingual relationship to instruction at UO energizes the core liberal arts mission of the university at a time when global citizenship is being undermined as a value in U.S. public discourse and student participation in language study in declining at American colleges and universities.
Our presenters want you to know that language “mastery" isn’t a prerequisite for embarking on this exciting teaching. If your research includes materials in languages other than English you are a good candidate for this workshop. 
Robert Davis, Professor of Spanish, director of language instruction in Romance Languages
Claudia Holguin, assistant professor of Spanish, Director of the Spanish Heritage Language Program
Julie Weise, associate professor of history

Teaching Engagement
Academic Affairs - Teaching Engagement Program
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