Reflections on LLU #11 and the spring semester (Part 1)

This hopefully will be the beginning of what I hope will be a series of posts on my experiences with blogging in a third year (fifth semester) college Spanish language course. The course ended in May, but it has taken me a bit of time to find the space (and the quiet) to pull together some thoughts on what I learned, and what my students helped me learn, over the last 16 weeks.

We just finished LLU #11 and another wonderful engaging conversation about teaching languages with technology with people from all around the country…and hopefully others listening in too. Four people, four different places on the globe, all in one conversation and talking, weaving ideas, asking questions, providing support. What I find so extraordinary about these conversations is how energizing they can be, how effortless they are, and how much more there is to talk about when they come to an end. All that is missing is a comfy couch and the (refreshing) beverage of your choice…

As Barbara Ganley aptly noted, one way to continue the conversation(s) is to blog: to write, to think outloud and invite others in to think along with you. And so I shall

This blog has been quite silent, but not because a lack of thinking, rather, because of a lack of quiet, and a lack of focused time to pull the pieces of my thoughts together. Thankfully, I am not enough of a multitasker to try and write and drive, but I there have been times –driving up and down Rte 95 MANY times these past few weeks– that I wish I had one of those ipods with a microphone like my students used for their recordings. Maybe then I could at least capture some of the thoughts that are racing through my head…


I know that in the case of my student Anna, having a mobile recording device was a wonderful outlet for her. Anna would walk and talk, in Spanish, and post those comments on her blog.

Here is a link to one of her final podcasts…I love how you can hear the sounds around her when she walks (and at quite a clip!) while she speaks. I also love how she stops, pauses, self corrects and at times gets totally lost in her thoughts. It is not perfect, fluent, effortless Spanish…but the fact that she is walking and talking and thinking and creating in the target language is, I think, pretty impressive.

I am thinking of Anna and my other students these days as I, too, get lost in my thoughts, and then again as I try to sort out those same thoughts to form some coherent statements to share (hopefully) with others. Just like they did in our class in Spanish, I now have to do here…

More to follow.

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Barbara is a Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at a small liberal arts college in Maine. Rumor has it this was also her alma mater. She used to work for a small liberal arts college in the cornfields of Ohio for almost 20 years as a teacher and language center director. Prior to these adventures in higher ed she taught high school Spanish and loved it. She wishes she had more time in her life to play with her dogs, write, read, swim, do yoga things and making stuff out of clay. To see her online portfolio please click here!

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