Earlier this semester, three School of Letters and International Cultures Arizona State University faculty members have been selected as winners of the school’s course redesign scholarship competition. They each received funding update the curriculum of an existing course to give it a new orientation.

Spanish teacher Sean McKinnon, one of three recipients, currently teaches the revised version of SPA 194: Language in the US. The course examines why only about 20% of the population of the United States is bilingual despite being a nation of immigrants and indigenous people. McKinnon said he plans to revise the course again over the summer based on student feedback before teaching it again in the fall of 2022.

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“I love teaching this general education course because I teach students to think critically about language and how it is used in society,” he said.

McKinnon’s proposal was to reframe the course around issues of social justice and equity through critical perspectives. He used the pedagogical framework of critical awareness of language teach students how language is embedded in social meaning and power dynamics. Some of their assignments include reviewing social media posts for their language ideology posts. Students can create a meme or TikTok video demonstrating what they have learned; McKinnon said it helps teach students than linguistic messages are present in their daily lives.

“I think it’s important for educators to think critically about what they teach, how they teach it, and why, especially since ASU is known to be a hub of innovation,” said McKinnon said. “I’ve found that reorganizing my classes around social justice/equity issues has increased student engagement and enrollment, which hasn’t surprised me, since Generation ZGeneration Z (or Gen Z for short), colloquially also known as zoomers, is the demographic cohort succeeding Generation Y and preceding Generation Alpha. Researchers and popular media use the mid to late 1990s as initial birth years and the early 2010s as final birth years. Most members of Generation Z are children of Generation X. is so in tune with issues of social justice and equity.

Portrait of ASU Spanish Instructor.

Sean McKinnon

German teacher Sarah Lee had a similar social justice-focused approach to updating its class, GER 494: Language and Disability. The course was already deeply engaged in the topics of social justice and equity, so the redesign allowed Lee to add more opportunities for students to participate in community outreach, learn about options for career and internship in the field and to carry out projects by applying their knowledge to real situations. .

For example, students will develop materials for extracurricular language lessons geared to the needs of learners with disabilities. Barrett, the Specialized College students will be encouraged to complete a honors enrichment contract dive deeper into the course material, or even consider focusing their honors thesis on disability, inclusion and equity in different cultures.

Spanish teacher dulce estévez was one of five members of the awards committee tasked with selecting proposals from faculty members who should receive funding to support their curriculum redesign projects.

“We were particularly interested in courses aimed at connecting students to their local community and challenged them to complete projects that enhanced their portfolios for their professional careers or future academic pursuits,” Estévez said. changing student interests and labor market demands are essential.

Portrait of the German ASU speaker.

Sarah Lee

Italian lecturer Enrico Minardi been the ultimate recipient of course redesign grants. His class, ITA 319: Italian for Professions, will be taught in fall 2022 with new material and career-specific assignments. Minardi said that although many assignments and readings from the previous version of the course were retained, “This course represents a profound revisiting and redesign of Italian for Professions as it was before.

“It is the most popular economic sector among young people these days”, Minardi Explain. “Italy is one of the leading countries in the sector, having started working on environmental protection legislation in the late 70s and 80s with the early implementation of recycling and the victory in the referendum to abolish nuclear energy in 1987 Pin up.”

Students will receive training on the differences between Italian and American business etiquette, the most important trends in the Italian economy, how to write a resume and apply for jobs, how to ace a job interview, and how to apply for a visa of work.

Portrait of the ASU Lecturer in Italian.

Enrico Minardi

Their one semester project will be an analysis – from a sustainability perspective – of socio-economic organizations in Italy. They will prepare a multimedia exhibit documenting their findings that will be open to the public on campus and may be shown to other students or members of the community.

For each of these three updated classes, students will not only learn their course material, but how to apply it in the personal and professional worlds they hope to inhabit upon graduation. McKinnon said he wants students to take what they learn and use it beyond the classroom.

“For my bilingual students, I I hope the class will teach them to advocate for their own language interests and those of their community, as well as provide them with ideas and strategies on how to pass their language on to the next generation, should they decide to have children,” he said.

“And for my monolingual English students, I hope they will become better linguistic allies for bilinguals in the United States. and also consider becoming bilingual themselves. … Knowing two languages ​​promotes better cognitive flexibility, delays the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and exposes you to new cultures and ways of being/thinking.

This is consistent with the principles that Estévez and the other members of the award committee were guided by this when reviewing applications for funding. The school’s mission is to prepare ASU students to become global citizens, which goes beyond language skills to also include cultural awareness and lifelong curiosity about the world around them.

“At (the school), we aim to make the world more equitable and just by equipping students with a worldview that values ​​the contributions and knowledge of diverse groups of people in the field of study and profession that students choose to practice,” she said.