On Wednesday, May 28th, Dr. Kathryn Lindholm-Leary, Prof. Emerita San Diego State, was able to sit in on a discussion involving representatives from several departments at ECU concerning Dual Language Immersion programs. Included were possible steps for implementation and how DLI programs in schools would change the way we prepare educators to teach children through dual language education. She then gave a presentation to community members and school superintendents of Eastern North Carolina interested entitled “Benefits and Challenges of Dual Language Programs. Research and Implications.” She shared her findings about DLI effectiveness in student learning for both English-speakers and Spanish-speakers. She answered questions concerning this research, and participated in a discussion with several groups interested in learning more about this topic.
Thursday, May 29th, and Friday, May 30th, were spent visiting 2 different school settings in the area. First, we visited Greene County schools, a district which was a pioneer in our region, having implemented a DLI, the Los Puentes program, over ten years ago. With Dr. Lindholm-Leary, we observed classes at the elementary and intermediate level to assess the strengths of the program, as well as areas for growth and further development. On her last day here, Dr. Lindholm-Leary visited Pink Hill Elementary School in Lenoir County, to speak to teachers and administrators about dual language research, and gave a presentation to show concrete findings in the positive effects of this type of education.
Having Dr. Lindholm-Leary present with us for a few days gave us an additional perspective on our current and previous work on the Engagement and Outreach Scholars’ Academy project, along with an opportunity to reach out to the community and start a meaningful conversation on Dual-Language Immersion programs in our schools.
— Stephen Fafulas
Student Research and Achievements
Robert H. Wright Alumni Leadership Award
and Phi Beta Kappa Honoree:
M. Rachel Mehaffey, EC Scholar
BS Chemistry, BS Applied Physics, Hispanic Studies minor
Future Plans: Pursuing a PhD in Chemistry and Physics at UT Austin
Phi Beta Kappa Honoree:
Mariah Richards, BS Hispanic Studies Education
Future Plans: Graduate School, MA in Spanish and Latin American
Linguistic, Literary and Cultural Studies, NYU in Madrid
2014 Research and Creative Activities Week Presenters:
· Anna Lawrence (right – BA-Hispanic Studies) Paper: The Personified Cultural Contrast in “Blancanieves”
· Joshua Mangum (2nd major BA-Hispanic Studies) Poster: An Information-Theoretic Approach to Cellular Decision-Making Strategies
· Jennifer Moser (BS-Hispanic Studies Education) Poster: The Effects of Implementing Authentic Materials in a Foreign Language Classroom
· Laura Pons (2nd major BA-Hispanic Studies) Paper: Blancanieves: The True Hero
· Jessica Chirico (Classical Studies Minor) Poster: New Technologies in the Public Library
· Megan Mehaffey (Hispanic Studies Minor) Poster: Insight into the Location of DNA Xenobiotic Damage by Mass Spectrometry
· Sandra Ross (Hispanic Studies Minor) Paper: Comparison and Contrast of Sethe and Scarlett as Independent Women
Graduate School Fellowship Recipient: Samantha Belmont, MA in French Studies, LSU
2014 Conference Presentations
Mario Becerra and Briceida Rodriguez presented A sociolinguistic analysis of morphosyntactic phenomena in the Spanish of Pitt County: A pilot study’ at the SLINKI (Spanish Linguistics in North Carolina) Conference at Appalachian State University in February and again at the Southeastern Conference on Linguistics (SECOL) in North Myrtle Beach in March.
Pitt County Schools is doing a feasibility study on two-way immersion programs to start in 2015-16. In such programs the entire curriculum is taught partially in Spanish and partially in English. Prof. Ann Borisoff who has just completed a dissertation on this subject was featured in an article in The Daily Reflector on March 4, discussing the benefits of such an approach in Pitt County where schools like Belvoir Elementary are 48% Hispanic.
Borisoff said that not only do all the students become bilingual and biliterate, but achievement improves and students develop cross-cultural competence. Data from programs such as the dual immersion program in Greene County have shown that students in such language immersion programs not only learn the standard curriculum despite the language challenges, but actually perform equal or better on grade level tests than their mono-lingual peers. A sample classroom might be an equal mix of native-Spanish and native-English speakers on an alternate day schedule in which the same curriculum is taught exclusively in Spanish one day and in English the next.
On February 8, Mario Becerra and Briceida Rodriguez, who are completing a BA in Hispanic Studies and are student members of the SoCIOLing (Study of Community Involvement and Outreach & Linguistics) Lab, presented the poster ‘A sociolinguistic analysis of morphosyntactic phenomena in the Spanish of Pitt County: A pilot study’ at the SLINKI (Spanish Linguistics in North Carolina) Conference held at Appalachian State University. Under the mentorship by Dr. Stephen Fafulas and Dr. Ricard Viñas-de-Puig, the students summarized the results of the research project in which they investigated the expression of future and clitic doubling constructions by native Spanish speakers from Pitt County.
The Department is celebrating Unesco International Mother Language Day, with a lecture by Distinguished Professor Walt Wolfram on the linguistic diversity of languages spoken in North Carolina:
Stephen Fafulas (on left with mentor Kirk St. Amant), hired this year as Asst. Prof. of Spanish, graduated from the ECU Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy in December. His project was entitled, “Bridging the Gap: Bilingual Education and Community Engagement.”
Suzanne Powell, our Lead Administrative Associate, was recognized as a Treasured Pirate for her leadership in keeping up faculty morale in difficult times.
Dale Knickerbocker, Professor of Spanish, was selected in a search to continue as the Linda McMahon Distinguished Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures for 2014-16.
Please join us for the next Downtown Dialogues on the Humanities event: “Gender Around the Globe,” featuring:
Associate Professor of Spanish Purificación Martínez speaking on
“Gendering the Monarchy: Kingship and Queenship in Castigos y Documentos del Rey don Sancho.”
5pm. Greenville Museum of Art
Meet with faculty members, recent graduates and ECU students about majors and minors in Hispanic Studies, study abroad, internships, graduate programs and professions in Spanish. Door prizes, refreshments and light snacks.