I have used this high-stakes assignment in the last four semesters, in the ELS103 Intermediate Spanish I class. However, it was considerably revised during two Center for Teaching and Learning sponsored seminars at LaGuardia Community College: “Bringing Global Learning Competency into Your Class” and “The Pedagogy of the Digital Ability.” These seminars allowed me to have a better understanding about how to scrutinize contexts in order to bring assignments closer to the Global Learning Core Competency and the Digital Communication Ability. The “Bringing Global Learning Competency into Your Class” seminar in particular shaped my thinking about the design and content of this assignment, and how to take advantage of this competency in an Intermediate Modern Language class, in which, due to language constrains, students are not supposed to produce more abstract, or complex ways of thinking, both of which are more appropriate to more advanced levels of the language. But when preparing these assignments about Latin American artists of the 20th and 21th centuries, students have to research different historical contexts, and aesthetic ideas in a given historical moment. Talking about artists’ lives and work will give them an opportunity to learn about global issues. They will become more aware of themselves as global citizens, since most of these Latin American artists had to deal with global issues related to national identity, how to earn a living, traveling, surviving in a foreign cultural environment, and in mainstream, European or American hegemonic cultural centers. This assignment could help students understand how our lived experiences are not that different from others around the world and in different historical contexts.
This is an intermediate level Spanish class where, by the end of the semester, students should know how to use the main verb tenses in Spanish, as well as being able to describe things, such as the weather, people, and certain landscapes. Taking the “Bringing Global Learning Competency into Your Class,” convinced me that I can take advantage of the Global Learning Rubric and apply it to an intermediate level language class, as far as I could adapt it to the needs of the students. On the other hand, the “The Pedagogy of the Digital Ability” seminar showed me the possibilities of going beyond power point presentations, and asking students about using other digital media, such as audio or video recordings. The assignment, which is in Spanish (for non-Spanish speaking users, the version here is translated into English), focuses on digital literacy, builds on students’ existing skills such as preparing power point presentations and doing online research. The assignment might also help students to become familiar with topics that are developed in other, more advanced, levels of the Spanish language, where issues related to art and literature are frequently discussed. The oral presentations, seen as a whole, intend to render an overview of Latin American art.
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