On Oct. 4 and 5, the Spanish department went to Iowa City for the Iowa World Language Association conference to meet with high school Spanish teachers.
At the conference, high school teachers discussed the different ways they teach language in their classrooms and had open discussions on what other professors were doing. The conference focused on having the teachers discuss the best teaching method for students to learn the most about the language.
“At the convention we focused on how the high school students were being taught because we can better tune our classes after knowing their level of knowledge. It also allows us to show these high school teachers a different way to approach learning about Spanish,” Associate Professor of Spanish Molly Tun said.
Simpson had two professors, Molly Tun and Lau Cesarco Eglin, present on how a Spanish class could teach students more about the culture of a nation and the people.
“We need to dig deeper and ask questions about these practices,” professor Lau Cesarco Eglin, assistant Spanish professor said. “Molly and myself try to apply this in the classroom and explore how the culture varies and how language can help show the differences.”
Tun and Cesarco Eglin apply this practice at Simpson. Professor Tun teaches a class over culture in spanish speaking countries “Memory and Culture”, and Cesarco Eglin talks about cultural differences in her class “Turning Points.”
“We don’t come into this program saying ‘Oh yeah, I want my students to be able to conjugate these subjunctives.’ That’s not the goal. The goal is I want our students to be able to observe different practices and understand the underlying values and beliefs behind them,” Cesarco Eglin said.
The professors were not the only Simpson faculty participating in the conference. Spanish teaching assistants Luciana Sarda, Luisa Minici and Lisa Walzok, also went to the conference.
“The conference was well organized with a well balanced variety of sessions and resources during the two days which presented different ideas and activities related to biliteracy. There were also different booths that encourage studying abroad and higher studies on language teaching.” Sarda said in an email.
Simpson offered an opportunity for those who attended the conference to earn one credit hour.
High school teachers could sign up before the event and attend for credit. This allows teachers to work toward a higher degree and give them experience in the field.
“By interacting with high school teachers we make high school students aware of the opportunities to learn languages at Simpson,” Tun said.
The Spanish department plans to return to the Iowa World Language Association conference next year to continue discussions on different methods of teaching Spanish.