Posts Tagged ‘SEFLA’
- In: Final Report
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Today’s post is a follow-up to my Mid-Semester Update.
This is final exam week at Our Lady of the Lake University. On Monday evening the final exam was given in my lecture class (I went and looked at the exam, but didn’t have to take it since I’m an auditor). Yesterday I attended the last session of my clinic practicum. I have officially completed my two courses and will soon receive my OLLU transcript. Before Monday’s class I picked up my letter from Joan Biever, Ph.D. (Professor and Chair, Psychology Graduate Programs) which documents my completion of a total of 90 clock hours (45 hours per course) of continuing education during this semester. This is significantly more than required in order to maintain my psychologist license.
I have achieved my sabbatical goals of learning about counseling issues and strategies for working with the Hispanic/Latino population and improving my speaking ability with the Spanish language. The two graduate-level courses I completed through OLLU’s Psychological Services for Spanish Speaking Populations (PSSSP) program were Language and Psychosocial Variables in Interviews and Assessments with Latinos (taught by Dr. Teresa Castaño, a.k.a. Classroom Professor in this blog) and a Spanish clinic team practicum at Community Counseling Service (supervised by Dr. Ezequiel Peña, a.k.a. Clinic Team Supervisor in this blog). Additionally, I had weekly Spanish lessons at the SEFLA language school. This educational activity was not part of my sabbatical proposal, but I found it to be extremely worthwhile as a supplement to my OLLU courses. I met with Elvia Quijano for two hours per week for ten weeks for Advanced Conversational Spanish for which I received a grade of A+ as indicated on the diploma given to me by Clara Pérez Peláez, Director. An unexpected and enjoyable professional development activity in which I participated was the National Latina/o Psychological Association conference that I attended last month (I earned 11 continuing education hours). I wrote about this excellent conference experience in a previous post (English) and in a journal entry (Spanish).
For my Language and Psychosocial Variables in Interviews and Assessments with Latinos class, I kept a journal in which I reflected on issues and connected the readings and lecture topics to my own experiences. This was a valuable exercise in which students were to document their personal and professional growth. I’m a private person who normally wouldn’t share so much publicly in a blog, but I feel that it could be instructional to others and more clearly show my thoughts and feelings about my experiences and progress with the Spanish language. So, here is the complete set of nine journal entries (in Spanish):
In expanding my own education in the area of multicultural issues, I did some research and came across useful articles, videos, and books that can serve as resources and discussion prompts for others. I posted several pieces about Hispanic/Latino culture which readers may find helpful. Here are the eight cultural pieces:
- 1. Hispanic or Latino?
- 2. Hispanic Heritage Month
- 3. Cultural Competence
- 4. Cuentos and Dichos
- 5. Bilingual Advantages
- 6. Day of the Dead (cultural holiday)
- 7. Cinco de Mayo (cultural holiday)
- 8. National Latina/o Psychological Association Conference
Overall, I’ve had a great first sabbatical experience. My classes and the NLPA conference were excellent! Even though my main focus this semester in San Antonio, Texas was academic (it was a paid sabbatical leave, after all), I did manage to work on some writing projects — taking an online book proposal writing class, attending International Freelancers Day seminars, and writing this blog. I also managed to have fun — joining social groups, eating at a variety of restaurants, going on tours, and doing leisure reading. As you can see, I’ve been busy. But it was a good kind of busy and a much needed break from my university job. I am grateful to Bloomsburg University (my home institution) and Our Lady of the Lake University (my sabbatical site) for allowing me to pursue this personally enriching and professionally relevant sabbatical opportunity. It has worked out extremely well, and I’m looking forward to future sabbaticals.
I’ve recently read some more Spanish children’s books in order to practice using the language and to learn about Hispanic/Latino culture. Most of these books were picked up at my local public library (Cody branch), but I also made a special trip to the Central Library downtown in order to read a recommended book that was not allowed to be checked out. As mentioned in a previous post, even children’s books in a foreign language can be challenging due to unknown words, regional dialect, and creative sentence structure. On a positive note, this batch of books was easier to get through than the last batch; I guess the practice helped. I recently read six books: (1) Sopa de frijoles: una poema para cocinar/Bean Soup: A Cooking Poem (bilingual) by Jorge Argueta and Rafael Yockteng; (2) In My Family/En mi familia (bilingual) by Carmen Lomas Garza; (3) A Gift from Papá Diego/Un regalo de Papá Diego (bilingual) by Benjamin Alire Sáenz and Geronimo Garcia; (4) The Empanadas that Abuela Made/Las empanadas que hacía la abuela (bilingual) by Diane Gonzales Bertrand and Alex Pardo DeLange; (5) Dancing Miranda/Baile, Miranda, baile (bilingual) by Diana de Anda and Lamberto Alvarez; and (6) The Everything Kids’ Learning Spanish Book: Fun exercises to help you learn español by Laura K. Lawless.
On a related note, when I stopped by the SEFLA office yesterday to pick up my diploma for successfully completing my course, I was pleasantly surprised. I received a grade of A+ for Advanced Conversational Spanish. I really enjoyed my weekly lessons with Elvia. These private lessons were an added out-of-pocket expense, but they were definitely worth it. Although several native speakers have told me that I speak Spanish very well, I still don’t have the comfort I would like in using the language. This will come with more practice and time.
Earlier this week on the way home from my clinic practicum, I had take-out food again from El Pollo Loco. I ordered their 2-piece chicken meal (leg & thigh) that came with two sides (I chose the broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot veggie mix and a corn cobette). The meal came with tortillas. I also ordered an individual serving of chocolate cake. This dinner was delicious; it was very tasty for fast food. I like this restaurant chain but we don’t have it up north where I live. Yesterday, on the way to SEFLA, I picked up a take-out Chinese food lunch from Beijing Express (5203 Fredericksburg Rd. at Callaghan), a new restaurant for me. I decided to try a different dish than usual so I ordered the Almond Chicken lunch special; it came with fried rice and an egg roll. This meal was okay (Chinese food is not my favorite but I do like a few select items and order them occasionally).
This morning I went to AMC Huebner Oaks 24 to see Katherine Heigl’s new movie, “Life As We Know It”. Since the movie start time was 11:30 a.m., I got the before-noon ticket price of $5.00 — a good deal. But, the small popcorn I ordered was $5.75. It cost more than the movie! I remember reading recent survey results in which Americans named movie theater popcorn as being the most overpriced food. I would have to agree. Anyway, this movie — a comedy/drama — was entertaining, although I’m getting tired of seeing Katherine Heigl play the same type of movie role. I really liked her on the TV series “Grey’s Anatomy”.
Only three weeks left in San Antonio. It’s hard to believe how quickly the time is passing by. Two days ago I had my last Spanish lesson at SEFLA. I’m so glad that Elvia and I were able to work together for these last ten weeks. Her lessons were very helpful and I learned a lot. She shared with me some really good websites for learning and practicing Spanish, and now I’ll share them with you:
- 1. www.bowdoin.edu/~eyepes/newgr (Página de ayuda para estudiantes de español — A collection of resources for intermediate and advanced students of Spanish)
- 2. www.colby.edu/~bknelson/SLC/index.php (Spanish language and culture)
- 3. www.eleaston.com/spanish-qz.html (Spanish Exercises, Quizzes, Tests)
- 4. www.prenhall.com/trato (¡Trato hecho! Spanish for Real Life — “…an innovative beginning Spanish program…”)
- 5. www.sipuebla.com (Spanish Institute of Puebla, Mexico)
Yesterday was Thanksgiving day. I feel very blessed and have a lot to be thankful for in my life. As an optimist, I often focus on the positives and express gratitude as appropriate. I hope that you also take the time to acknowledge the good people and things in your life, not only on Thanksgiving, but always. Since I couldn’t be with my own family this Thanksgiving, I accepted an invitation from one of OLLU‘s graduate students, Rosanna (who is in my lecture class and practicum), to have Thanksgiving dinner at her aunt’s house in San Antonio. It was so sweet of them to invite me. I arrived with a fruit-and-nut basket and was immediately greeted by the large friendly dog and other family members. There were about 15 of us — aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends — and everyone was so warm and welcoming. Rosanna reminded me that is is a Mexican family (from El Paso, Texas) and this is how they are. We ate a delicious dinner in the back yard, then had dessert inside while watching two movies, Walt Disney’s “A Christmas Carol” (the famous Ebenezer Scrooge tale by Charles Dickens, starring Jim Carrey) and “Winter’s Bone” (a tragic story of poverty, drugs, and cruelty which made us even more appreciative of our own blessings). I enjoyed my five hours there with great food, people, and conversation. Sharing the holidays with kind-hearted people is truly a blessing and I’m glad to have made new acquaintances in San Antonio.
Today was a day of rest. I avoided the “Black Friday” frenzy at the malls. I’ll do my holiday gift shopping later. I’m still trying to do some pleasure reading, and recently finished a book of cartoons, When Do They Serve the Wine? The Folly, Flexibility, and Fun of Being a Woman by Liza Donnelly. There are still several other books on my to-read list, but I’ve been temporarily sidetracked by my reading of Spanish books.
Sampling San Antonio‘s restaurants remains high on my to-do list, so tomorrow I’m scheduled to go on another food tour. As usual, I’ll report back once it’s over.
- In: Journal
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Entrada #7 de diario: domingo, el 21 de noviembre de 2010
Mi práctica semanal en la clínica bilingüe (Community Counseling Service) es muy interesante. Estoy aprendiendo mucho, pero el aprendizaje tomará más tiempo para asimilar. Durante este semestre estoy asistiendo la clínica española los martes con el supervisor Dr. Ezequiel Peña y también he visitado por dos veces el equipo bilingüe los miércoles con la supervisora Sra. Diana Lincón. Los dos equipos tienen estudiantes diferentes. Me gusta ver la variedad de los casos (por ejemplo, una clienta en particular cambia frecuentemente las lenguas de inglés y español – “code switching”) y los estilos de terapia y supervisión. La principal manera para manejar la terapia en la clínica es “postmodern”/narrativa. A mí, esta manera es diferente. Mi entrenamiento psicológico fue ecléctico; ahora, mi estilo favorito es cognitivo-behavioral. Trabajo en una universidad generalmente con estudiantes non-latinos (no hay mucha diversidad en mi pueblo rural en Pennsylvania) y uso una forma de terapia breve. Intento combinar la terapia con el cliente; personas diferentes responden bien a los estilos diferentes de terapia. Veo que los estilos “postmodern” son buenos con la población latina. Necesito leer y ver más sobre este estilo.
En la clínica, hay problemas de depresión, ansiedad, relaciones familiares, estrés de inmigración, y otras dificultades. Los inmigrantes recientes son única población clínica y una que es nueva a mí. He aprendido muchas cosas en esta clase, el libro de texto, la clínica, la conferencia de NLPA, y el programa especial en OLLU este mes con el Obispo John C. Wester. Por lo tanto, estaré lista en el futuro cuando recibiría más clientes latinos. Un caso interesante en mi clínica es de una abuela y sus nietas – el poder y la resistencia de la familia. Dos compañeras de clínica y clase (Celina y Martha C.) hicieron una buena presentación sobre este caso para NLPA y para esta clase. Otras presentadores en clase discutieron temas importantes como aculturación (Gabriel), trauma y estrés postraumático (Stephanie), Centroamérica (Martha G. y Rosanna), y posmodernismo (Yadira).
Es importante y necesario para manejar la terapia efectivamente y éticamente que los terapeutas tengan no solamente la competencia lingüístico sino también la competencia cultural. El certificado de PSSSP en OLLU provee conocimiento de ambas cosas. Hay en la revista gradPSYCH (edición de septiembre de 2010) un buen artículo sobre la competencia cultural. Mi tiempo aquí en San Antonio es breve (solamente por este semestre). Para mejorar mis habilidades orales con la lengua, me matriculé en clases privadas de español en SEFLA (Spanish, English and Foreign Languages for America, Inc.), una escuela local. Mi maestra, Elvia, es excelente. Mi énfasis es conversación porque esta es mi problema más grande. (Mis habilidades escritas son mejores porque tengo más tiempo para pensar, examinar, y revisar.) Hace ocho años que estudio español (con descansos) y mi nivel es intermedio, pero debe ser más alta. Me gusta la lengua española y continuaré aprenderla.
The countdown begins. In exactly four weeks from today, I will be leaving San Antonio. At this point on my journey, I am scaling back on my club activities so that I can have more free time to explore the area. I still have 3 or 4 tours I hope to do in the remaining time.
Wednesday afternoon was spent observing the other Spanish Team at the clinic. This team is supervised by Diana Lincón, MA, LPC, an OLLU graduate. I observed her team two weeks ago and enjoyed the experience so she invited me to return. We had a full caseload that day — six clients (two each hour). As with my Tuesday Spanish Team, the Wednesday Spanish Team (different bilingual student trainees) has interesting cases as well. I’ve been discussing my clinic experiences in my journal entries for Classroom Professor. After Wednesday’s clinic, I went to SEFLA for my ninth Spanish lesson with Elvia. These Spanish lessons have been great. I have only one more left. For dinner that night, I returned to Las Palapas, a Mexican fast food restaurant, and ordered a meal to go. This time, I tried “Steak a la Mexicana” (spicy grilled beef with peppers, served with beans and rice and warm tortillas). It was flavorful (“poco picante”) and very good.
On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., I attended my monthly Newcomers of San Antonio “Coffee, Tea, and YOU!” at Bea’s house (located in a really nice section of San Antonio that I hadn’t been to before). I met a couple of new people and chatted with others whom I knew from a previous coffee session or luncheon. I mentioned the Studio Art Tour I did last week, and how I’m wrapping things up in preparation for my move next month. There were 27 members at this social event. People were friendly and welcoming. We snacked, talked, had a meeting (conducted by President Donna Lee and during which there was controversy over a proposed bylaws change), and played a fun game (Scavenger Hunt in your Purse) in which my team tied for first place — we found 30 out of 50 listed items in our purses. I left the meeting almost three hours later and headed, for the first time this fall, to a mall. On the way there, I stopped at Staples and bought three boxes of holiday cards (is the year really almost over?) and a couple of other things. Then, I headed to The Shops at La Cantera, a cute and popular shopping area. My first stop there was to Bravo! Cucina Italiana for lunch. Italian food (minus the cheese) is one of my favorites — I love pasta and bread! This was my first time at this restaurant; I stumbled upon it because it was the closest eatery to where I parked my car. Good thing I did, because I absolutely loved my Pasta Bolognese (“fresh egg fettuccine tossed in our signature Bolognese sauce”) and iced tea. As usual, I took the leftover portion home and ate it for dinner. Next, I went to Dillard’s (we don’t have this store in Pennsylvania or New York) and purchased a pair of earrings and heavy pajamas (I was surprised to learn that it gets cold at night in San Antonio). Then I walked around and browsed. Of course, I had to stop in Barnes and Noble as I passed by it; fortunately, I limited myself to purchasing only two magazines (I didn’t dare go back into the book section). I finished my three-hour mall trip with a stop at Godiva where I purchased one small piece of chocolate. I knew that Godiva chocolates were expensive, but imagine my surprise at paying almost $3.00 for one small gourmet candy. When I inquired about the price, the cashier informed me that the chocolate costs $48.00 per pound! Luckily, I got an additional piece for free by giving my e-mail address in order to join their loyalty club. What a lovely day — nice weather and several of my favorite things (Italian food, books, and chocolate) all in one afternoon.
Today (Friday), I rested a little, ran a couple of errands, and then went out with Donna Lee of Newcomers of San Antonio. She invited me for dinner at Soluna restaurant (I had beef tacos and iced tea) followed by a 6:00 p.m. Spanish conversation hour with her teacher (Oralia) at Instituto Panamericano. Donna Lee has recently begun her study of Spanish. This conversation practice was something new for her. When we arrived at the school, Oralia was reviewing stories with a few children and their parents; five minutes later we moved to another room and began our conversation. Donna Lee introduced me and we spent the hour talking. Oralia read to us one of the stories she wrote that she based on her own Mexican family. I appreciated this opportunity to spend time with Donna Lee and to practice my Spanish with a native speaker. At the end of the evening, we exchanged contact information so that we can keep in touch.
During the week, I’ve been practicing my Spanish and learning more about Hispanic/Latino culture by reading Spanish children’s books that I borrowed from my local public library. This is a great way to expose myself to a variety of issues via stories written for a novice reader. Even though these books have children as their primary audience, they sometimes challenged me — an adult — with unknown words, regional dialect, and creative sentence structure. But, I got through them and enjoyed them. Recently, I read seven books: (1) Hairs-Pelitos (bilingual) by Sandra Cisneros and Terry Ybáñez, (2) Mi primer libro de dichos/My First Book of Proverbs (bilingual) by Ralfka Gonzalez and Ana Ruiz, (3) Too Many Tamales (in English) by Gary Soto and Ed Martinez, (4) My Very Own Room/Mi propio cuartito (bilingual) by Amada Irma Pérez and Maya Christina Gonzalez, (5) Tu cuerpo, de la cabeza a los pies (in Spanish) by Núria Roca and Rosa Maria Curto (Barron’s Educational Series), (6) Gracias, El pavo de Thanksgiving (in Spanish) by Joy Cowley and Joe Cepeda, and (7) My Name is María Isabel (in English) by Alma Flor Ada and K. Dyble Thompson.
I’ve noticed that October has been very busy for me due to my activities, both the scholarly ones and the fun ones. My sabbatical time is passing by quickly.
As I mentioned in my latest journal entry, the in-class role plays went well. My group did a great job; my role as supervisor was perfect for me as it allowed me to prepare and memorize a script (in Spanish) rather than having to create and respond to many statements in-the-moment. I was pleased with the final result: a fine performance for which my group received a grade of 95. Classroom Professor was clearly pleased too. This role play project resulted in forming deeper connections with my classmates — a great benefit.
At my Tuesday practicum, when Clinic Team Supervisor went around the room and asked about each student’s Thanksgiving plans and I mentioned that I invited my Dad to come visit me in San Antonio but that I’m not sure if he will be able to, one of my friendly teammates graciously invited me to spend Thanksgiving with her family who will be visiting from El Paso, Texas. This was so sweet of her. I thanked her for the invitation and we agreed to update each other on our plans as the holiday nears. Her Thanksgiving dinner invitation reminded me of an invitation I received several years ago while doing my clinical internship in California. Since I couldn’t afford to go home to New York and be with my own family, one of the office secretaries invited me to have Thanksgiving dinner with her extended family. I went and had a nice time. I love being around kind-hearted people.
Because of my wonderful sabbatical experience at Our Lady of the Lake University (a Catholic, Hispanic-Serving Institution), I recommended this school and the city of San Antonio as a location that is worthy of being profiled in a new “Postcards” blog sponsored by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The October 22, 2010 issue (p. A4) contained a request for suggestions of college towns in non-Eastern states that their reporter should visit on his November road trip. I sent an e-mail a few days ago but haven’t yet received a response.
Yesterday I attended a free online webinar, “7 Ways to Increase Your Income (without having to raise your fees or get new clients)”. This session was offered by the organizers of International Freelancers Day in which I participated in late September. I continue to learn more about how to expand my part-time freelance writing business (which will supplement my full-time psychology career). This week I finished up my six-week online “Write Your Book Proposal” class — I received important content and great feedback on the assignments for my self-help book — so I should have a little more free time in my schedule in the coming weeks.
During this week’s Spanish lesson at SEFLA, Elvia and I watched and discussed a short video about the Yunque tropical rainforest in Puerto Rico (it reminded us of the Monteverde rainforest we visited in Costa Rica) and then reviewed mandatos (commands) in preparation for more thorough practice with the dreaded subjunctive verb tense. The previous week, we played a little of various games in Spanish — Cranium, Pictionary, “100 Mexicanos dijeron” (poll results, similar to “Family Feud”) — and Elvia showed me some others such as loteria (Mexican bingo), Adivina quién?, Adivina dónde?, and Scene it? This activity was fun and I learned lots of new vocabulary words, especially from the loteria picture cards.
A couple of days ago I went to the library (still a busy venue due to the early voting for the elections) and checked out several easy reader children’s books in Spanish so that I could expand my vocabulary and get more practice with reading Spanish books. During my 2010 summer study trip to Spain, I read my first two Spanish books, an accomplishment for which I am very proud. The first book I read was Junie B. Jones y el diario de clase by Barbara Park, and the second book was a Disney fairytale, Campanilla y la guerra de los pasteles. My teacher in Spain said that reading children’s books in Spanish is a good idea; as my comfort with the language increases, I can advance to reading more challenging books in Spanish. I’ve already read several selections from Spanish newspapers and magazines, but books present more of a challenge due to the words used (many regional phrases and complex sentence structures) and the higher reading level required. I’m also trying to expose myself to Hispanic/Latino culture by reading books in English. I’ve never taken a Hispanic literature class because many are very advanced and require reading complex pieces in Spanish, and I’m not there yet. So, I’m hoping to read some of these works in their English form. I recently read The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, and am currently reading Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies by Laura Esquivel.
I ordered food again from the Tin Star restaurant. This time I had their “Two Taco Plate” and a Coca-Cola. I had a grilled steak taco (#1 – steak, avocado, grilled onion) on a corn tortilla and a grilled chicken taco (#9 – chicken, roasted garlic, red onion jalopeno blend, sweet potato straws) on a flour tortilla. Warm tortilla chips and salsa accompanied the meal. I ate this meal at home after my Wednesday Spanish lesson and enjoyed it. I still want to explore more of the San Antonio restaurant scene. Normally I don’t eat out a lot (too expensive), but I’ve made an exception now. How could I come to the great culinary city of San Antonio and not try the different foods?
Up until now, I’ve been focusing on studying (OLLU classes and SEFLA Spanish lessons), reading, writing, and meeting new people. I haven’t been a tourist, but a resident. Since the weather has become more tolerable and I have left only one complete month — November — I intend to do more tourist activities because San Antonio has much to see and do. I’ll begin this phase of my trip with a food tour tomorrow. Yum!
- In: Mid-Term Report
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These past two months have gone by rather quickly. My sabbatical is half over. Our Lady of the Lake University students have been taking their mid-term exams and are on a fall break today and tomorrow. So, this seems like a good time to review the goals of my sabbatical leave and assess my progress thus far.
As this is my first sabbatical, I didn’t quite know what to expect. Sabbatical experiences differ greatly and my sabbatical project is a unique one. The purpose of my sabbatical is to learn about counseling issues and strategies for working with the Hispanic/Latino population and to improve my speaking ability with the Spanish language. The primary manner in which I am doing this is by taking two graduate-level psychology courses that are part of OLLU’s Psychological Services for Spanish Speaking Populations (PSSSP) certificate program. A supplemental activity that I added one month into the semester is weekly Spanish lessons at SEFLA that I spoke about in a previous post.
My lecture class, Language and Psychosocial Variables in Interviews and Assessments with Latinos, is informative and engaging. Our two textbooks provide lots of data about Hispanics/Latinos and special concerns affecting this population (for example, immigration issues and cultural values) and how these issues affect the counseling process. Classroom Professor sparks interesting discussions and shares her related personal and professional experiences and encourages the class to share theirs. By doing the assigned journal entries (see #1, #2, and #3), I have been able to reflect on these issues and more clearly connect the readings to my own experiences. Furthermore, these journal entries have allowed me to practice my writing skills in Spanish. The class is currently working on case studies which we will role play in groups at our next class meeting on Monday. I expect that this activity will be very educational.
My practicum is a clinic placement at Community Counseling Service. I am a member of the Tuesday Spanish Team. This team consists of six therapists-in-training, two observers (including myself), and Clinic Team Supervisor. Therapy sessions are conducted primarily in Spanish (sometimes the younger family members — the children — prefer English, so there may be a switching of languages during the session as all of the therapists and Clinic Team Supervisor are bilingual). The cases are interesting and reflect a variety of common counseling issues. The live supervision format (reflecting team) is a great teaching tool. Although I don’t understand everything that is said, I get the main points and offer comments and support to the students on our “star team”. This is a name we have given ourselves. The team has bonded very well and the therapists-in-training have shown great clinical skill, a testament to their OLLU training. Clinic Team Supervisor has a relaxed and supportive style which makes the learning environment comfortable and enjoyable. At this week’s clinic meeting, prior to our client’s arrival we had our mid-semester reviews/check-ins (one-on-one meetings between each student and Clinic Team Supervisor followed by a sentimental group check-in with the entire team). Everyone seems very pleased with the way things are going. The team members complimented me on my participation and choice to spend my sabbatical leave at OLLU. I really like this Spanish Clinic Team and the clients whom we are serving.
Elvia, my private language teacher at SEFLA, is doing a great job of engaging me in Spanish conversation. We have had open discussions about a variety of topics, reviewed some grammar (preterite and imperfect verb tenses), reviewed exercises that I completed in the workbook, and played fun educational games (hangman and a guess-the-person-that-I-am-describing game). At my request, we spent half of one lesson working on the language for my role play for Classroom Professor’s class. I’m enjoying these extra lessons with Elvia. She’s knowledgeable and fun. Elvia likes working with me; she said that I am “a joy to teach”. We’ve already completed four of our ten scheduled meetings. She has invited me to her home so I’ll probably be visiting her soon.
One difficulty I’m having is doing my assignments without the aid of my Spanish reference books. My parcel post package of books (which I mailed two months ago) never arrived. The box was damaged in transit and its contents spilled out. I’ve been working with my postmaster to try to recover these missing mail items from the Mail Recovery Center in Atlanta, Georgia and will probably file a claim for monetary reimbursement (the missing box was insured for $200). I miss having my Spanish dictionary (I’ve been using Yahoo’s Babel Fish to look up words), verb conjugation book, and medical Spanish guide for psychologists. Yesterday, I finally gave in and ordered duplicates of these books from Amazon.com so the remainder of the semester should go more smoothly once I have my trusted language tools.
I’m looking forward to attending my first National Latina/o Psychological Association conference next month in San Antonio. It will be wonderful to hear many of the Latino-themed sessions, learn about current research in the field, and meet my fellow colleagues (in fact, one of my fellow interns from our University of California – Santa Barbara days will be one of the presenters). OLLU, one of the NLPA conference co-sponsors, will be hosting special events – a reception, student poster session, and a reading — as well. This should be a very good experience.
Part of the reason for having this blog is to share some useful resources with my readers. Regarding issues of Hispanic/Latino culture, I have posted a few educational items. Check these out:
Overall, I’m making very good progress towards my sabbatical goals. I’m learning a lot and enjoying my time in San Antonio, Texas.
- In: Journal
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Entrada #3 de diario: lunes, el 11 de octubre de 2010
Este diario me permite discutir mis pensamientos y sentimientos sobre el proceso de transformación. Quiero ser una mejor consejera para mis clientes hispánicos. El conocimiento cultural es un asunto ético y necesario para los profesionales quien dar ayuda a los otros. Mi clase y la práctica son muy beneficiosos a mí.
La lectura para esta semana empieza explicar como manejar entrevistas y sesiones terapéuticas con los clientes hispánicos. Muchos ejemplos buenos se ofrecen. Los valores de los latinos – personalismo, respeto, dignidad, simpatía, confianza, y cariño – se exploran y están conectados al proceso de ayuda. Estas cosas culturales son diferentes que esos en el asesoramiento tradicional. Realizo que mis métodos comunes no serán tan eficaz con hispanoblantes como los métodos más sensitivos a la cultura. Necesito adaptar mi estilo para las populaciones especiales en la manera que se describe en el texto.
En capítulo 6 de Counseling Latinos and la familia, los autores discuten los beneficios de emparejar los clientes y los consejeros similares por ethnicidad y lengua. Esto ocurre en mi clínica bilingüe. El efecto es bueno porque, en general, los clientes sienten más cómodos y responden positivamente. El proceso de emparejar ayuda a construir más rápido la relación terapéutica. También, en la clínica los consejeros trabajan juntos en un equipo para proveer servicios más mejores.
La próxima semana cuando los estudiantes en esta clase presentan casos y hacen papeles (“role plays”), observaremos varios elementos de la cultura latina y descubriremos soluciones prácticas. Estos casos son complejos, pero son entrenamientos muy educativos.
He terminado las autoevaluaciones en los capítulos en el texto. Sabía algunas cosas y para otras adiviné las respuestas correctas o incorrectas. Es claro que tengo más para aprender.
Recibo lecciones privadas en la escuela SEFLA (en San Antonio) por dos horas cada semana para practicar español. Tengo una maestra excelente (Elvia) y ella me enseña bien. Necesito adquirir más confianza con la lengua para usarlo en conversaciones diarias y situaciones profesionales. Espero que venga esta en el futuro.
- In: Language Lessons
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Yesterday at noon I had my first private Spanish lesson at Spanish, English and Foreign Languages for America, Inc. (SEFLA). SEFLA is a fairly new (since 2006) language school that is located less than three miles from my apartment. I observed an intermediate level lectura class last Friday and took the placement exam. Since there are currently no SEFLA group classes at my “Advanced” level, I registered for 20 hours of private lessons. The usual cost is $620, but I received a 10% discount. I will have one 2-hour lesson each week for 10 weeks and the lessons will focus mainly on conversation so that I can develop more confidence and comfort with speaking and understanding Spanish. I requested Elvia as my teacher since I really liked her teaching style and personality when I observed her class last week. Also, her voice is clear and she speaks slowly enough for me to understand her. I understood the entire first part of Friday’s class, which was a discussion of a theatrical drama/play — El delantal blanco (The White Apron) by Sergio Vodanovic — followed by vocabulary and an alphabet game, and most of the second part which focused on a complex adventure novel, La reina del Sur (The Queen of the South) by Auturo Pérez-Reverte.
I was very happy to learn that I had been placed with Elvia. We met for a little more than two hours and discussed my goals and preferences for textbooks and activities. I emphasized my need for conversation practice with little interest in grammar exercises since I’ve had lots of grammar classes in the past. I want to be able to have better casual discussions about a variety of issues. These private lessons will supplement the professional Spanish training I am receiving at OLLU. Elvia understood and was very accommodating. This flexibility and custom-made course is a huge benefit of private lessons over a group class. I have taken several group classes in the past.
The textbook I selected and purchased from SEFLA is Revista: Conversación sin barreras (Third Edition) by José A. Blanco (published by Vista Higher Learning, 2010). It is similar to other intermediate-level textbooks I have used in the past. It contains a variety of interesting topics for discussion. Each of the six lessons contains a short film (cortometraje), grammar (estructuras), readings (lecturas), a comic strip (tira cómica), writing (composición), and a lively social activity (tertulia). I will watch the short films at home via an Internet link and be prepared to discuss them at our lessons. I will also select several exercises within each chapter to complete and review with Elvia. Since my goal is to engage in conversation, our weekly agenda is rather loose. There is no rigid lesson plan. Elvia seems willing to discuss whatever topics are of interest to me.
Our first lesson together went very well. The discussion was casual and comfortable. We both understood each other and I learned a few new words (which Elvia wrote on the white board). After covering my goals and deciding on a textbook, we did an exercise in Revista: Conversación sin barreras (Third Edition). Then, we had an open discussion about our lives and our interests. Elvia is from Nicaragua and has lived in the United States for over forty years; she is married. Like me, she enjoys reading (especially mysteries). I told her about the Meetup groups I attended for Spanish Language and Book Lovers, and the book clubs offered at the San Antonio Public Library. I shared with her my background and told her about my OLLU courses. We discussed places visited and good restaurants in San Antonio (I asked her for suggestions). Elvia informed me that the class I observed (military students) graduated this morning after completing four weeks of intensive Spanish study. At the end of today’s session, we exchanged contact information (e-mail addresses and telephone numbers) and changed our lesson time to 10:00 a.m. on Wednesdays. I also expressed my pleasure with today’s session and thanked Elvia. Overall, I felt really good about our interaction — we “clicked”. I’m looking forward to our future meetings.
On the return home, I stopped by Las Palapas, a fast food Mexican restaurant. Since it was raining, I went through the drive-thru and ordered the “Enchilada Plate” (two beef enchiladas without cheese, rice, refried beans, and two tortillas). While it was not a fancy meal, it was good for quick, simple, take-out food. I’m continuing to look for different restaurants to try. San Antonio is known for its delicious and varied food choices. I’d like to sample lots of them without breaking my budget or my waistline.
Summer is officially over. Today is the first full day of fall. Although here in Texas, I probably won’t see a huge change in the weather. From what I’ve heard, the seasons here aren’t marked by significant climate changes. It’s hot and humid all year. I’m thankful that this week’s temperatures (in the high-80s) are ten degrees lower than those upon my arrival in San Antonio five weeks ago.
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I’ve officially lived in San Antonio for one month. Only three months left to go. So far, so good. I’m slowly venturing out to new areas. This is a lot easier with my car, although I’ve gotten lost a few times on the huge Texas highways. Getting lost is not uncommon for me since I have a poor sense of direction. Thankfully, there are lots of labeled “turnarounds” for U-turns so I’ve always been able to find my way back home.
My OLLU classes are going well. I like Classroom Professor and Clinic Team Supervisor, and am learning interesting things about Hispanic/Latino cultures. Prior to Monday evening’s class, I settled my bill (my tuition discount had finally been applied) and got my vehicle tag so that I can park my car on campus. I tried to get my student identification card but was told that the machine was out of ink, so I will try again the next time I’m on campus. Then, right before class, one of my classmates invited me to join her group for drinks on the River Walk over the weekend. Although I politely postponed my involvement for another time, I thanked her for inviting me. It felt good to be included and I look forward to getting to know my classmates better.
I accomplished a few assorted tasks this past week such as:
- (1) Opening a savings account at a Texas bank in order to make it easier to get cash.
- (2) Trying a new restaurant. I ordered a Chinese takeout lunch from Mencius’ Gourmet Hunan Restaurant located in the Medical Center area where I live. Chinese food is not my favorite, but I enjoyed my meal of Lemon Chicken, fried rice, and an egg roll. This restaurant was a lucky find for me. I just happened to be in that shopping plaza and stopped in (it was crowded with diners); only later did I read their great food reviews online.
- (3) Attending the Thursday Book Club meeting (Sept. 16th from 12:00-2:00 p.m.) at the Cody Library of the San Antonio Public Library (which has 27 branches). I had applied for and received a library card a week ago. I learned that the Thursday Book Club would be discussing House Rules (a book about a boy with Asperger’s syndrome) by Jodi Picoult so I read the book and went to the meeting. The group’s leader (Susan) introduced me to the group of about 20 bibliophiles (several of them are former teachers and librarians) and handed me a list of titles that will be discussed at future meetings of the Thursday Book Club. We had a good discussion about House Rules. Opinions about the book varied (I really liked this book). I plan to return for next month’s meeting.
- (4) Watching Thursday evening’s season premiere of The Apprentice. I enjoy television and this is one of my favorite shows. (I wrote an award-winning poem about it a few years ago). For this season, Donald Trump has selected victims of our bad economy to compete for a job with his company. I really like this timely theme.
- (5) Turning in my first assignment for Jennifer Lawler’s six-week Write Your Book Proposal E-Course which started on September 13th. I’m working on writing a self-help book and have heard many great things about Jennifer’s course. Also on the topic of writing: Last month I participated in a free teleclass offered by “Renegade Writer” Linda Formichelli with featured speaker Kelly James-Enger talking about Six-Figure Freelancing. I’m so happy to be able to spend more time on my writing this semester and to have found some wonderful role models.
- (6) Signing up for 20 hours of private Spanish lessons with a relatively new (2006) local language school — Spanish, English and Foreign Languages for America, Inc. (SEFLA). The longer I’m here in Texas, the more I’m realizing I need additional practice with conversational Spanish and that taking a separate supplemental class — in addition to my two OLLU courses — would be helpful. I found SEFLA online, did some research, and called and spoke with the director, Clara Pérez Peláez, on Thursday afternoon. She invited me to come observe a 1½-hour class on Friday morning (This particular class is part of a special 4-week intensive course for military personnel). So, yesterday I observed the class (this portion focused on reading — lectura) from 10:00-11:30 a.m. and I really liked it. I liked the teacher (Elvia), her teaching style, and the written materials/texts used. Afterwards, I took the written placement exam (40 multiple-choice questions) plus an oral exam administered by the director herself. My score placed me at the advanced level (my problems were with the conditional and subjunctive verb tenses) and there were no group classes at this level being formed at the current time, so I was offered the more expensive, yet flexible, option of private lessons — which I accepted. Even with the 10% discount I received, the cost is more than I wanted to spend. But, it’s an investment in my professional development and I really need the lessons. Someone will contact me once a teacher and time have been arranged (I put in a request for Elvia for Monday or Wednesday mornings so that I can keep the latter part of my week free). It seems like I will be able to begin my lessons next week. While at SEFLA, I purchased a copy of one of the paperback texts I saw being used in the classroom. It’s called Streetwise Spanish: Speak and Understand Everyday Spanish (with Audio CD) by Mary McVey Gill and Brenda Wegmann and published by McGraw-Hill.
As you can see, I’ve had a busy few days. I still have to do my reading homework for my class on Monday.