Above all, I am committed to helping students become more thoughtful global citizens, with cultural competency understood as a key ingredient to achieve this goal. I see our courses together as part of a broader network of intercultural literacy across the university. Learning goals guide my teaching strategies, which draw generously on comprehensible input, culturally-authentic contexts, and task-based activities. Beyond the traditional written text, I expose students to other objects of study—my own audiovisual materials from Latin America and Spain, art, photographs, short YouTube clips, and Maya rap music just to name a few—to enhance their critical thinking skills.
I enjoy keeping in contact with students as they advance in their degrees and in exciting opportunities after college. I see myself as a role model and important source of information for my students as I encourage them to rethink the notion of Spanish as a "foreign" language in the United States or Latinx cultures as "the other." In the various courses I have taught, I provide the following tools:
Spanish Verb Forms: All major tenses and conjugations for hundreds of verbs in Spanish (credit to Professor Emeritus Fred Jehle, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne).
Spanish Language and Culture: Interactive activities that intertwine grammar practice and culture. Major tenses, parts of speech, time, stem-changing verbs, "ser" vs. "estar," and the subjunctive, among other topics, are amply explored (credit to Professor Barbara Kuczun Nelson, Colby College).
Spanish Resources: A treasure trove of digital language learning materials (credit to the Department of Romance Languages at Hunter College). In addition, the following Spanish essay phrases found here, here, and here help to unite ideas, introduce new ones, or add helpful buzzwords to written assignments.
I strive for inclusive and non-discriminatory practices in all aspects of my work, particularly in my teaching. I always share the following diversity statement, a work in progress, with my students on the first day of classes:
Classroom Decorum Diversity—cultural, ethnic, social, or otherwise—enriches any classroom. First and foremost, I acknowledge the Delaware, Miami, Potawatomi, and Shawnee indigenous peoples, whose ancestral lands we occupy in Bloomington.
I stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and the rights of those to participate in related non-violent acts of civil disobedience in our community. In Spanish, we refer to this movement as Las Vidas Negras Importan, which offers an opportunity to prioritize Afro-descendant perspectives in Spain, Latin America, and Latinx communities in the United States.
I defend all those who are threatened by white supremacy and other violent forms of systemic racism, religious discrimination of any kind, anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments, ableism, sexism, xenophobia, and any other hateful actions or rhetoric.
I wholeheartedly support international and undocumented students, whose studies and wellbeing have been jeopardized by discriminatory policies of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). I will uphold these values in face-to-face and virtual class formats, in my research, and service. To this end, I strive to represent a broad spectrum of Spanish-speaking cultures in my courses.
If you are a parent, please note that exclusively breastfeeding babies may be present when necessary, no questions asked. For parents with older children (or expecting parents), I understand that unforeseen disruptions in health/childcare may occur and I will work with you on a case-by-case basis.
I have a moral obligation to the acceptance of differing viewpoints and I ask that all students in our class work with me to create and maintain an environment committed to inclusivity. If I have inadvertently missed something fundamental in this statement on diversity, please let me know so I can revamp it in a way that makes you feel supported.
Please note: I am committed to referring to everyone with the correct pronoun and expect the same from all course members. Please feel free to correct me in this regard. Mine are he/him/his.