Thursday, May 23, 2013

Languages Department Celebrates with our Graduates

Department of Languages 2013: Carlos Peral, Amaya Amaya, Yachu Liu, Jennifer Colón, Ai Namima, Susan Myers, Michael Foster, Jane Woodruff and Nicholas Clercy

This past Saturday the Languages Department celebrated our seniors' achievements at the Commencement ceremony. Although a hot and steamy day, it was also a day to rejoice as our seniors in languages walk across the platform and shake the President's hand.

If you would like to add any Commencement pictures of language graduates, visit our Facebook page.

Kristin Eaves, minor in French, poses for her graduation picture

Chriska François and Nyasha Firnhaber, minors in French, await the procession

Cynthia Hartwell, major in Spanish Education, celebrates her achievements

Ai Namima, instructor of Japanese and major in Business Communication, celebrates with Paige Bolduc, minor in Japanese Area Studies

Ashton Wells, major in French, taking her senior walk around the Quad

Nicholas Clercy, French Assistant, and Carlos Peral, Spanish Assistant participate in Commencement, receiving Certificates of Successful Study Abroad

Cynthia Hartwell, 2013 Senior Star in Spanish

Cynthia Hartwell is this year's Senior Star in Spanish. Every year the Department of Languages features a graduating senior with a language major who has studied abroad and has been inducted into Phi Sigma Iota on its departmental page. We are honored to have Cynthia represent the Department of Languages this year for the Spanish major.
Congratuations, Cynthia!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Spanish 114 Students Engage in Service-Learning

Dr. Jennifer Colón's students in Spanish 114 Accelerated Beginning Spanish took their first steps into service-learning this spring. Committing some hours to service-learning, students engaged with Spanish-speaking people on the KC area. Below are presentations students made to their class to talk about what they have learned.

First is Hannah Ford who helped with YouthFriends.

Next we have Cody Edwards who worked at YMCA Head Start.

Last, Katy Lehenbauer worked with the Iglesia Camino Verdad y Vida.

Kasia Kovacs Reflects on Service-Learning at JVS

Kasia Kovacs, a graduating senior in Oxbride Literature and Theory with a minor in French reflects upon her service-learning experience at the Jewish Vocational Services in Kansas City.

The days, hours, and moments before the end of an era make up one of the most bizarre sensations a person can experience. In some instances, they creep up on you, slowly and menacingly, as you attempt to stop time and stay in once place in a manner of determined defiance. These, for instance, were my sentiments during my few weeks of my year abroad in Cambridge, England; I simply refused to believe that my stay in the UK would end, but time cruelly snatched me back into reality.  In other instances, you are in total awareness of the impending end, but you are so wrapped up in your work and commitments that you lose all sense of time entirely. You sleep when you can—maybe a few hours in the afternoon and perhaps you can fit in half an hour before your nine-o-clock class (that is, if you manage to actually wake up to your blaring alarm)—and your meals become so sporadic that cooking a full pasta dinner at two in the morning is nothing strange. Suddenly, it is the last Friday of finals, and your to-do list still spills over into two pages of your planner.
Wait, is graduation tomorrow? you wonder, in utter shock that your undergraduate career is ending with this astounding speed. And it is, and once again time has the last laugh.

This was my last semester of college. I committed myself to far too many responsibilities, and suddenly the imminent deadlines from both my internships and William Jewell’s newspaper began to interfere with precious study time for my Oxbridge comprehensive exams, among attempts to juggle and keep up with my regular classes. Naturally, when I was told that I could achieve a French minor if I took four credit hours of independent study in the language, I thought it would be a terrible opportunity to miss—and I signed right up.  (Clearly, I live in denial that there are only 24 hours in a day.)

Furthermore, I don’t regret it.

I volunteered at an organization called Jewish Vocational Service, which is not, as it may sound, a rabbi-training program. JVS in Kansas City works with refugees from developing countries ridden with violence and civil war as they assimilate and become self-sustaining individuals and families in the United States. I had hoped to speak with some French-speaking refugees from francophone African countries, but these immigrants were far and few in between. Thus, my role was generally limited to office work. I worked with files and worked on grant proposals through research and writing. Both of these tasks taught me about international policies that were previously completely unknown to me.

Refugees come to the United States in search of asylum from their poverty- and war- stricken nations, from west Asian countries, African nations, the Middle East, and Cuba. These refugees often come from camps, where they apply to come to the United States. Once they have arrived in Kansas City, JVS places them in an apartment and provides a temporary financial allowance (well, a loan) for three months as the refugees search for jobs and enroll their children in school. After three months, the refugees would ideally begin to pay back the loans and save money to begin to become self-sufficient. Yet several are unable to find jobs… and when they do, the positions are generally in factories or custodial service, which is understandably disconcerting for refugees with higher education, and these positions lack a sense of dignity when they do not allow for many advancement opportunities. Eventually, if the refugees cannot begin to pay back their loans after an extension, they are sent back to their home country.

As I was sorting through files, I read about several of these cases, and I came to the following conclusion: Although I believe that the United States’ involvement in refugee services is admirable, the system must be refunded and reorganized. Historically, the States have been a nation composed of immigrants—and these refugees surely have many talents and ideas to offer to our country if they are given the chance and a proper education.

So you see, although organizing my time this semester was near impossible, I still grew as a student and a human. My liberal arts degree has taught me to think critically in any situation, particularly as an informed and responsible citizen of the global community. Thus, when I was thrust into an occupation with which I was completely unfamiliar (read: refugee volunteer), I was still able to participate with the approach informed by an eagerness to learn, though with a perceptive and analytical eye.

Thank you William Jewell College, and thank you Dr. Myers.

And thank you for reading.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

French Students Enjoy Fondue!

Students in FRE 353 Poetry and Civilization since 1789 and FRE 415 French Senior Capstone celebrate the end of the semester with a fête, a short community time and sit back and take a break from finals. Students made chocolate fondue with strawberries and a cheese fondue with French bread baked that morning.

Students in FRE 353 preparing fondue
After making the fondues, students enjoyed each other's company with their professor, Dr. Myers, and their French assistant, Nicholas Clercy.

Students in FRE 353 enjoying fondue and each other's company

Students in FRE 415 enjoying community time with Nico, their French assistant

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Intermediate Spanish students of SPA 212 Share Service-Learning Experiences

Dr. Jennifer Colon's intermediate Spanish students engaged in service-learning this semester and presented their reflections in class presentations.
Dr. Jennifer Colón

We'd like to highlight in this posting presentations from four students. First is Hannah Bruins who served at the Iglesia Camino.

Next is Elisa Bulger who volunteered with Migrant Farmworkers Project.

Lory Mercer worked with the Westside Housing Organization.

 Rebecca Roach talks about her experiences working at Posada del Sol.

Monday, May 13, 2013

French Program Refines Assessment Rubrics Inspired by CEFR Standards

The French Program has been piloting rubrics inspired by CEFR standards in all of its upper division courses this year. Since the blog post of 9/12/2012, certain rubrics needed updating for use in the 2013-14 academic year.

From trial and error, the assessment rubric for the dissertation explicative now has the style standards incorporated in the linguistic function rubrics, which cleared up some misunderstandings and kept style from outweighing the intellectual task. It also became obvious that having descriptions for introductions and conclusions separate from the organization structure descriptions gave too much weight to organization. Given that these are very important areas and ones students need to work on, the descriptions were included in the same standard description, rather than deleted.
CEFR-inspired assessment rubric for writing
Another change involved the speaking rubrics for recitals and presentations under the description for delivery. Rather than separating each description, these were placed into one, in order to more evenly weigh linguistic and intellectual tasks, the quality of French with delivery.
CEFR-inspired assessment rubric for recitals with creative pieces

CEFR-inspired assessment rubric for inquiry/research in-class presentations
The students have found that using achievement standards to be very rewarding as well as useful when understanding placement into and grading used in study abroad programs. It has proven to be a way to better integrate courses abroad with work done at Jewell.

This spring the instructor of French 114 piloted the assessment rubrics tailored to the beginning level. These have proven to be very easy to use and the students quickly understood their significance as measures of competency in language skills. At this level, A2 descriptions were considered "meeting" the expectations of the class (or a B on the assignment), B1 descriptions "exceeding" expectations (or an A on the assignment).
Beginning French assessment rubric for interpersonal communication (speaking)

Beginning French assessment rubric for compositional writing
Next year, the intermediate French classes will be introduced to the CEFR descriptions. At this level, the B1 descriptions "meet" expectations and B2 descriptions "exceed" expectations. This will fit in a coherent fashion with the 300-level in which B2 descriptions "meet" expectations" and C1/C2 descriptions "exceed" expectations.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Rosemary Loehr, 2013 Senior Star in French

Rosemary Loehr is this year's Senior Star in French. Every year the Department of Languages features a graduating senior with a language major who has studied abroad and has been inducted into Phi Sigma Iota on its departmental page. We are honored to have Rosemary represent the Department of Languages this year for the French major.

Congratulations, Rosemary!

Beginning Japanese Students Enjoy Cultural Event in Class

This past week students in Ms. Ai Namima's JPN 112 Beginning Japanese I class enjoyed cultural events.
Ms Ai Namima, Japanese instructor at Jewell

Ns. Namima explains: "Before the culture class, students learnt how Japanese names are created. Each Kanji (Chinese characters) has each meaning and Japanese people name their children with wishing how they want their children to be. Also each kanji determines the pronunciation of how to read the name. So, JPN112 students chose kanji using their creativity and apply that to Japanese calligraphy."

Practicing calligraphy

JPN 112 students showing their work
 "At the same time, we made Japanese rice ball, which we call 'onigiri.' There are different seasonings that people in the U.S. do not see or eat usually. We tried to make it in traditional triangle shape, and some of the students made it into Panda onigiri."
Making traditionally-shaped onigiri
A panda onigiri

Monday, May 6, 2013

Spring 2013 French and Arabic Recital

Thursday, May 2, French and Arabic students presented at the spring 2013 French and Arabic Recital. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear what our advanced students in French have accomplished and to hear from Lydia Berns, our first Arabic presenter in the history of our recitals.

Lydia is one of our first students to graduate with a minor in Arabic Area Studies. She has spent a semester studying in Amman, Jordan (see her blog post) and is now completing her minor in Arabic 212 Intermediate Arabic II.

The students of FRE 353 French Civilization and Poetry shared original poetry with the attendees. After explaining the inspirational source of their poem and its significance, students recited their work. This semester we would like to highlight Lisa Brune, whose poem "C'est trop tard" imitated Jacques Prévert's "Déjeuner du matin" and, on a lighter note, Evan Jones, whose poem "La banane" imitated Guillaume Apollinaire's "La Mandoline, l'oeillet et le bambou."

The students of FRE 415 Senior French Capstone present the findings of their research into a cultural topic from the Middle Ages. Highlighted this semester is Adrienne Ebert who talks about monastic life and Rosemary Loehr, winner of the AATF 2012 Outstanding Senior in French Award, who talks about hospitals and medicine.

Congratulations to all the students participating!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Phi Sigma Iota Induction Ceremony

New Phi Sigma Iota members: Webber, Peoples, Jaeger, Deckman and Belshe

William Jewell College’s Department of Languages on April 27 inducted nine new members of the Phi Theta Chapter of the international foreign languages honor society Phi Sigma Iota. Inductees this year represent majors and minors in five languages: Arabic, French, Greek, Japanese and Spanish. Joseph Gunn, vice-president of the Phi Theta chapter, the faculty of the Department of Languages, friends, family and current Phi Theta Chapter members celebrated the induction of new members of the chapter: Charlotte Belshe, Paige Bolduc, Erin Christiansen, Natasha Deckman, Rachel Jaeger, Rebeka Loyd, Bailey Moffitt, Susan Peoples and James Webber. Present at this year's induction ceremony were Charlotte, Tasha, Beth, Susan and James.
Dr. Amaya Amell, professor of Spanish and advisor of Phi Sigma Iota, awarded cords to the new initiates.
Charlotte receives her honor cords from Dr. Amell

 Charlotte, completing a minor in Spanish, talked about her language studies.

Dr. Susan Myers, Chair of Languages, congratulated the new initates while awarding them their certificates.
Tasha receives her certificate
Tasha talks about her studies in Spanish as she finishes a major in Spanish.

Beth Jaeger holds a special place in the history of the Phi Theta Chapter as our first initiate in Arabic.
Beth receives her certificate

Beth, having completed a minor in Arabic Area Studies, talks about her language learning experiences.

Dr. Myers also awarded the initiates their Phi Sigma Iota pins.
Susan participates in the pinning ceremony
James awarded his Phi Sigma Iota pin
Susan has completed a minor in Japanese Area Studies and shares her thoughts about her language learning experiences.

James, a Spanish major, concluded our program with reflections on his experiences in Spanish.

Congratulations to our new initiates!

Rosemary Loehr awarded Outstanding Senior in French

Rosemary receiving her certificate
At the French and Arabic Spring 2013 Recital, Rosemary Loehr received the AATF (American Association of Teachers of French) Outstanding Senior in French Award for her accomplishments in French. Nominated by Dr. Susan Myers, Rosemary received the award for her demonstrated excellence in the study of French as well as exceptional commitment to the French language and the many cultures where it is spoken, including membership in Phi Sigma Iota, study abroad and service-learning with French-speaking immigrants.

Dr. Myers congralating Rosemary

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Spotlight on Adrienne Ebert, graduating senior majoring in French

This May we turn the spotlight on Adrienne Ebert, graduating May 2013 with majors in Psychology and French. We've chosen Adrienne for her enthusiasm for travel and learning languages. We hope her story inspires all those who aspire to learning languages. Congratulations, Adrienne, on your graduation! And thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us.

The view from the Fourvière on a rainy day with a sad-looking umbrella
            Learning a second language never came easily for me; it’s one of those rare things that I’ve had to actively work to absorb, but perhaps this is why I found the prospect of trying to learn French so appealing.  It was a challenge.  I wasn’t sure if I was even capable of doing it.  So, I did the logical thing and went to live in France for six months.
            As language students, sometimes it’s hard to force ourselves to actually speak the language we are trying to learn, especially if we know we can always default to English to fill the gaps in our knowledge or confidence.  We know that our speech will be rife with mistakes, and we fear embarrassment or imagined judgment.  As intimidating as it was, I didn’t want to give myself the option to default to English.  I wanted to force myself to function in French.
You try to speak English, and I'll try to speak French.

            I had taken French classes both in Montréal and at Jewell before I left, so it wasn’t as though I was going into the experience completely unarmed.  Still, I soon discovered that being able to role-play placing an order at a fast food restaurant or discussing the plot of a movie in simple vocabulary with patient, slow-speaking teachers is dramatically different than communication in the real world.  But I was there, in France.  In Lyon.  The program had a coordinator at our disposition who spoke English, but other than that, I was on my own.  I had no choice: I had work with what little I had.
            At first, I relied on a pidgin language of gestures and signs and messages scribbled on post-it notes whenever my pronunciation proved to be indecipherable to a native ear.  I felt kind of ridiculous, but it worked.  I did what I needed to do.  Oh my God, I thought, I just opened a back account in French.
            Oh my God, I just set up a phone plan in French.
            Oh my God, I just signed a lease.  In French.
            I was functioning.
The view from my apartment in Lyon after the first snow of the year

            Even before my classes started, I could feel myself improving with each passing week.  I picked up new vocabulary.  My ear acclimated to the accent.  I began to parse the words and sentences that I was hearing in my head.
            Oh my God, I just had a doctor’s appointment in French.
            Oh my God, I just talked my way into a club in French.
            Over time, it got easier still, until slow and steady speech was enough to make myself understood.
            Oh my God, I just argued with a taxi driver in French.
            Oh my God, I just went out on a date in French.
The courtyard of my apartment at sunrise

            I had arrived in France terrified of being a burden on everyone I tried to talk to; I had imagined them becoming frustrated with me for not learning their language faster, or easier, or better than I did.  My fears were totally unfounded.  As long as people understand what you’re trying to communicate, that’s all that matters.
            It would take many more years of that type of immersion if I wanted to even come close to speaking with real fluency, but all in all, the experience was far less painful than I thought it would be.  No, it was rewarding!  It was worth every single awkward moment, it was worth all the mental exhaustion.  Being able to communicate in French as well as I did gave me the greatest sense of accomplishment I’ve ever felt in my life, and I’ve done a lot of things.  It was a challenge – a surmountable challenge – but I cannot imagine how I would have done it without the foundation I got from Jewell.
Le Parc de la Tête d'Or on a sunny day

Intermediate Spanish Students Write Haikus

Students in SPA 211 Intermediate Spanish I practiced their poetic skills writing haikus in Spanish. Here is a selection chosen by their professor, Dr. Amaya Amell.

From Kristin Meinert and Carmen Robel, "Los Arboles."
From James Young and Kaylee Marquardt, "El Amor."
From Rachel Beranek, Chelsea Taft and Julia Smith, "Les Teléfonos."

Congratulations to the creative students of Spanish 211!

Chriska François wins Teaching Assistantship in Montpellier, France

Chriska François
Chriska François, a senior French minor graduating this month, has received notice that she has been accepted to the Teaching Assistantship Program offered through the French Ministry of Education, CIEP (The International Center for Pedagogical Studies) and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. Chriska will be providing English-language instruction to French students over a 7 month period. She will be working at the Académie de Montpellier (the Montpellier school district).
Views of Montpellier

Paige Bolduc, minor in Japanese Area Studies, wins Faculty Award

Paige Bolduc
Paige Bolduc, minor in Japanese Area Studies, was one of five finalists for the Faculty Award for 2013 at William Jewell College. This award honors a senior with at least a 3.75 GPA and is selected by faculty to represent the best of Jewell's values. You may view Paige's nomination in an article in the Hilltop Monitor.