Along with co-sponsors, the Department of Modern and Classical Languages seeks to inform, embrace, and celebrate diversity through guest lecturer, Dr. Kim Potowski.
In the fall of 2018 when Dr. Luciane Maimone submitted her project for the Curriculum Innovation Award at the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning (FCTL), she certainly hoped that she would ultimately be developing her brainchild into reality. Said project proposed the creation of a two-course Heritage Spanish Program within the Department of Modern and Classical Languages (MCL). The FCTL agreed Maimone’s proposal was valuable and she was granted the award, allowing her to bring her concept to life.
Maimone’s Heritage Spanish Program is now in the final stages of the curriculum design process and is to be introduced in the very near future, but as part of the finalization of these courses, Maimone felt it prudent to open up a conversation between students, faculty, and the administration about language identity and inclusion. One of the top experts in the field of heritage Spanish education and an acclaimed advocate of bilingual education and language inclusion is Dr. Kim Potowski and very few can rival her expansive knowledge of the topic. So, when considering how best to observe Latinx Heritage Month and continue in the creation of her Heritage Spanish Program, inviting Potowski to campus was such a logical decision, it was practically required.
“At MCL, we don’t just teach languages. We teach cultural and communicative competence…” – Dr. Luciane Maimone
As it is intrinsically connected to Maimone’s curriculum and the FCTL Curriculum Innovation Award, the co-sponsorship between MCL and FCTL was established from the beginning. In a decisively ingenious move, Maimone invited Multicultural Programs to sign on as another co-sponsor, this deft decision has opened up Wednesday’s lecture to a larger audience and assisted MCL as well as FCTL with both the financial and logistical burden of bringing a renowned expert in from out of town.
As our primary mode of communication, the language(s) we use are a fundamental building block to the way in which we see and interpret the world, and how we navigate our way through our interpersonal relationships. The faculty and staff of MCL choose to teach in a way that not only reflects but supports that truth.
“At MCL we don’t simply teach languages. We teach cultural and communicative competence, which involves understanding how our own culture (and the languages we speak) help build our identity. It also involves understanding the central role language plays in society and learning that, to communicate effectively across languages, we need more than knowledge of vocabulary and grammar.
Language identity is important for our department’s mission because only by understanding ourselves, can we appreciate what our culture shares with other cultures and the ways it differs from them,” said Maimone.
Given the passion this department has to explore the intertwining of language, culture, and identity, bringing a scholar and bilingualism advocate such as Potowski is an excellent step to expose a larger portion of the community to the ideas and philosophies supporting the benefits of multilingual education.
“Latinx Heritage Month is a great way for the University to show its support for and appreciation of the many contributions made by students, faculty, and staff of Hispanic or Latino origin. It also provides the University community and the broader public lots of great events that serve to raise awareness about issues—both historical and current—that are important to the Latinx community in the U.S. and to Latinos abroad. It’s a great way for Modern and Classical Languages to demonstrate its connection to the University’s emphasis on cultural competence, too,” Dr. Jason Jolley, head of MCL, expressed about Potowski’s upcoming keynote speech.
When asked who she believed would benefit from attending this lecture, Maimone responded, “If you are a student, faculty member, staff, or community member who is bilingual or, more specifically, a heritage speaker, you should attend this lecture to learn more about yourself and how to use your bilingualism in your favor.
If you are a student, faculty member, staff or community member who knows a bilingual or heritage speaker, you should attend this lecture to learn more about your friends, family, co-workers, students, or professors.
If you don’t know any bilingual or heritage speakers, you should attend this lecture to learn about the benefits of speaking more than one language. It is a self-discovery process and a window into someone else’s culture. It’s knowledge that helps build personal and professional relationships and it is also good for your brain. (Bilinguals have superior cognitive functions!)”
Kim Potowski will be speaking on Wednesday, September 25, 2019 4:30-6:00pm in Karls Hall 101 and is open to the public and promises to be an enlightening event for Heritage Spanish speakers, bilinguals, and monolinguals alike.
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