Course Instructors and Teaching Assistants of Spanish form a Community of Practice in benefit of our students

October 20, 2020 by Berenice Villagómez

Given the recent changes of educational paradigm as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, course instructors and teaching assistants in our department have recently formed a community of practice. Led by Prof. Juan Carlos Rocha Osornio, the aim of this group is to learn more about the latest digital pedagogy research and practice in Spanish language courses. This exchange of best practices in teaching and learning will support the professional development of instructional staff in our department and be in benefit of our students.

In addition, the creation of the Spanish as a Foreign Language Digital Pedagogy Community of Practice (SPANDIGITALP CoP) will encourage formal departmental dialogues on language pedagogy, teaching standards and learning management in the classroom.

The community of practice will meet throughout the academic year. Their first session, on October 9, was an animated discussion on whether instructors should request students to turn their cameras on for course meetings. Nayid Contreras, a second-year PhD student and currently a teaching assistant for SPA100Y, said that participating in this conversation made him aware of the nuances that instructors and teaching assistants must consider when teaching online. He is looking forward to continuing work on “implementing new methodologies of teaching and keeping our students interested and engaged”.

For their next meeting, on November 6, the CoP will welcome Diego Paniagua from Universidad de Salamanca as a guest speaker to talk about accessibility practices to support students with learning disabilities – focusing on the effects of dyslexia for students in a language course.

Future sessions will focus on academic integrity in an online course, emotional intelligence of instructors of Spanish as a Foreign Language, collaborative work in a standardized language course, and strategies to support the development of intercultural competency in students enrolled in Spanish.

For more information on the community of practice, please reach out to Prof. Juan Carlos Rocha, Spanish Language Coordinator.