Workshops and Lectures

The following table is just a selection of some of the most recent workshops and lectures on pedagogy that I have attended and participated in:

Fundamentals of Teaching Course
Course title Semester taken Facilitator name
Fundamentals of Teaching in the Humanities and Social Sciences Spring 2012 Damian Blattler and Jeff Gonda (Yale U)
Advanced Teaching Workshops/Lectures
Workshop Title/Lecture Semester taken/attended Facilitator name/Presenter
Pedagogy Workshop for Foreign Language Teaching Fellows and Instructors Fall 2011 (Aug. 23rd– 26th) Nelleke Van Deusen-Scholl et al.
The Educational Promise of the Language Center Fall 2012 (Nov. 9th) Claire Kramsch (U of California at Berkeley)
Curriculum Reform: Toward Language As Development of Meaning-Making Capacity Across Contexts. Spring 2013 Marianna Ryshina-Pankova (Georgetown U)
Advanced Fundamentals  Workshop in Language and Literature Spring 2013 (Jan 31st, Feb. 7th and 14) Dustin Hooten and Suzanne Young (Yale U)
Teaching Portfolio Workshop Spring 2013 (April 23rd) Bill Rando (Yale U)
Technology Workshop Series (Technology in the Language Classroom) Spring 2013 (March 28th, April 4th, April 11th) Theresa Schenker (Yale U)
Language Learning E-Portfolio Workshop Spring 2013 (May 13th and 14th) Mary Toulouse (Lafayette College)
Language Use During Study Abroad and in the Classroom Fall 2013 (Sep. 13) Glenn Levine (UC Irvine)
Communicative Language Teaching and Form-focused Instruction: Implications for Teaching Fall 2013 (Oct. 7th) Nina Spada (U of Toronto)
Reflecting on Language Learning Fall 2013 (Sept. 26th) Facilitated by Suzanne Young and Sybil Alexandrov (Yale U)
Language Learning in the Community Fall 2013 (Oct. 3rd) Facilitated by Suzanne Young, David Malinowski et al.
Heritage Language Learners Fall 2013 (Oct. 10th) Facilitated by Nelleke Van Deusen-Scholl et al.
Using OWL for Online Practice and Assessment Fall 2013 (Oct. 16th) Facilitated by Suzanne Young (Yale U)
Using Telecollaboration to Develop Intercultural Competence Fall 2013 (Nov. 7th) Facilitated by Theresa Schenker (Yale U)
Teaching Outside your Area of Expertise Fall 2013 (Nov. 12th) Facilitated by Megan Ericson and Sara Ronis (Yale U)
Teaching with Technology Fall 2013 (Nov. 14th) Facilitated by Claudia Calhoun and Joseph Panzik (Yale U)
Leading an Effective Review Session Fall 2013 (Nov. 19th) Facilitated by Terry Dumansky and Ashley Sjolund (Yale U)
Teaching Large Classes Spring 2014 (Jan. 27th) Facilitated by Mario Bonett-Matiz and Dan Jones

Reflective comments after attending these professional development activities (workshops, lectures, round tables, etc.)

Fundamentals of Teaching in the Humanities and Social Sciences

This workshop helped me find new techniques to promote students’ participation in courses where discussion about texts is a key element. Not only were these techniques explained and talked about, but we also adopted the role of the student and applied these strategies to promote the discussion during the workshop. Being placed in the student’s position helped me realize about the importance of trying to find ways in which to promote students engagement by stating clear goals and expectations. The discussion on how to prepare students to approach a text was really helpful, since pre-task activities and explicit discussion of strategies with students seems to be very productive. Finally, I found that my way of evaluating student work has improved after the workshop, making it more efficient and informative for students.

Pedagogy Workshop for Foreign Language Teaching Fellows and Instructors

Since this consisted of several workshops and talks over the course of several days, I will just remark on some of the sessions that were more helpful for my teaching. Nelleke Van Deusen-Scholl’s  workshop on communicative teaching helped me prepare sample of a communicative class for beginners for a break-out session in which we would present this activity to our peers as if they were students. I endeavor to create a task that would allow me to adopt the role of a facilitator and make this a student-centered activity. I also tried to divide the task in smaller tasks that would require a gradual process of understanding and language use.

The Word Press/Blogging workshop, facilitated by Trip Kirkpatrick, helped me realize the potential that a computer-based communication has for students, who are eager to integrate their technological skill into their learning.

Ayala Dvoretzky’s talk on Journal Writing was very inspiring, since she showed us some of these journals in which students had been working for a full semester and where they could see their evolution and improvement.  I thought that this journal writing could take the form of a blog, thus benefiting from the advantages of having this project be computer-mediated.

Advanced Fundamentals Workshop in Language and Literature

In this workshop I developed several strategies to incorporate in a more comprehensive way literature in language classes. See an example of how I did that for one of my classes. The literary text was not part of the course packet or textbook, I selected it and integrated it with the grammatical topic. As a way to start the discussion we often used the strategy of “free writing”. I had personally not used this particular technique in my classes, but being able to adapt it during the workshops was really enlightening since I realized that it was a great way to promote participation in a more balanced way. I decided to incorporate this in my language class and it significantly helped shier students to participate more since they had an opportunity to briefly develop and organize their ideas before saying them out loud.

It was also useful to be introduced to a text loaded with cultural aspects that were foreign to me. Being aware of this cultural difference contributed to reinforce the idea that it is important to draw connections between the target culture and other cultures in order to avoid stereotyping or alienating the target culture.

Teaching Portfolio Workshop

By participating in this workshop, I learned how to put together a language teaching portfolio and how to demonstrate that I am able to reach students. While I was a aware of the individual elements that conformed the portfolio, I was not aware of the importance of presenting these elements as a whole until after this workshop. In this sense, I realized that one of the key factors of the teaching portfolio is not only what we put into it, but how we connect its content with our reflections about how the elements of the portfolio have impacted our teaching and our reasoning for following a specific teaching route.

Technology Workshop Series (Technology in the Language Classroom)

I found out about a wide array of new technological tools that I could incorporate in my classroom. I found particularly interesting the integration of “mashup”, blogs and other computer mediated communication for students outside and inside the classroom. We discussed the advantages and disadvantages of a synchronous vs. asynchronous virtual exchange, concluding that both can be useful, depending on the type of task we design and the type of student we have in the class. In the past I have used wikis as a way to have students discuss certain topics among themselves outside of the classroom. My role in this was that of a facilitator and moderator. After attending this workshop, I designed a computer mediated activity using Adobe connect in order to discuss a film that students had to watch.

Language Learning E-Portfolio Workshop

After attending the Language Teaching Portfolio workshop it was really interesting to see how the portfolio could be a useful tool for students to show what they know about the target language they are studying and what they can do with it. For the teacher, moreover, it can be a tool to assess language learning. The fact that the Portfolio can be part of an electronic platform is an advantage since it allows an easier accessibility as well as facilitating the inclusion of different types of media. The inclusion of the Language Learning E-Portfolio in the curriculum  allows academic institutions to follow their students’ progress over the course of several semesters and it helps students see their own progress. At the same time, students can use this E-Portfolio to show case their ability in a foreign language.

Teaching Outside your Area of Expertise

This workshop offered specific data related to how successful people can be teaching outside their specific area of expertise. Focusing on preparation and establishing credibility were the main aspects of this workshop. I thought the recommendations were very helpful, especially keeping a diary or log where we could keep track of what worked or did not work. I think this would also be helpful for any other class we teach, regardless whether it is in our area of expertise or not. I think that teaching courses that do not fall within our main field of specialization are a great opportunity to hone my pedagogical skills because, by going outside your comfort zone, you really have to rely on your ability to be an effective teacher even when you are not an expert on the material you have to teach.

Teaching with Technology

This workshop took place at the TEAL classroom at Yale University and it was amazing to see the presentation by the ITS staff member Randi McCray was impressive not only for all the resources that were available in that class but for the constant

This was a great workshop since it introduced me to some resources I was not familiar with. I enjoyed the versatility of some of these tools, like using clickers for review sessions or for an efficient way of getting immediate feedback from students. Google Docs/Google drive used collaboratively for an in-class activity where students can edit files and show the final product is another useful resource that is easy to implement in the classroom.

Leading an Effective Review Session

The most useful aspect of this workshop was the student-centered approach to preparing and leading an effective review session. Being aware of the students’ needs, skills, preparation and anxiety before an exam is important for teachers to keep in mind. Making students active participants in the review process has proven to be successful for everyone involve. Among the types of tasks that can be develop in order to carry out a review session (question and answer style, group outline on the board, turning drills into games and practice problems) I consider that the most useful approach for a language classroom is group work. Rather than using the board (sometimes there are too many students or there is not enough space in the classroom for everyone to circulate), in the past I have adapted this kind of group work by using Google Docs. The advantage of this type of activity is that it is a synchronic way of integrating technology and everyone is able to participate and see what the rest of groups/students are doing. In my experience, games like jeopardy (with a computer-mediated approach) are also useful to review (language, vocabulary, grammar, culture, etc.).

Teaching Large Classes

This workshop has been particularly useful because my experience up to this point has consisted of teaching smaller classes. The facilitators not only raised awareness of the challenges that are faced when teaching courses that potentially include a large number of students, but they also provided tools and strategies to tackle this situation. We discussed the different ways that we can engage, manage and assess large classes. One of the strengths of the workshop was the emphasis that was given to student participation, thus debunking the common assumption that large classes can only consist of lecture-type of courses where the teacher is constantly the sole focus of attention. Adapting student-centered tasks that are used in smaller classrooms to larger classes is possible and we discussed some of these options (such as “Think-Pair-Share” or “Collaborative Problem Solving”).

More lectures, workshops, and reflections coming soon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *