do I teach?
My immediate response is to state that I love
teaching. But my purpose is clear: I teach for the
sake of learning. Educating students is my duty
and my satisfaction as a professor, but students
are not alone in this process: I, too, learn a
great deal through teaching.
My colleagues, my students and I form a learning
community which provides more than collaboration,
sharing, and acquisition of knowledge. As one of
my students told me a few years ago, "Beyond all
you taught me, what I most appreciate is that you
gave me confidence in myself." Her commentary
aptly explains my reason for teaching.
Like many Concordia students, this student was the
first member of her family to attend university. I
am proud to be part of an institution whose main
objective is to make higher education accessible
to thousands of students who might otherwise not
be able to study at university. I enthusiastically
adhere to Concordia University's mission:
excellence is meaningless unless it serves the
common good of society.
What do I teach?
I teach Hispanic literary and cultural studies and
language at intermediate and advanced
undergraduate levels. As a leading world language,
Spanish can be used in a vast range of social,
cultural, and economic activities. In addition to
teaching proficiency, my teaching allows students
to enter diverse realms of Latin American cultures
and modes of inquiry.
Learning a language is obviously much more than to
assimilate a series of grammar rules, oral and
written skills, and good pronunciation. I believe
that my teaching of Spanish as a written and
spoken language, along with Latin American
literary and cultural studies, allows my students
an entry into the different realms of Latin
American cultures, inaccessible to those who do
not function in the language and who are not aware
of cultural differences.
How do I teach?
In the case of language or Grammar courses,
learning is focused on a variety of strategies
which encourage students to participate actively
in the process of learning (reading of recent
articles and texts from different sources;
listening of a variety of authentic spoken texts;
role-playing; pair work, team work, and group
In culture and literature courses, I vary my
strategies depending on multiple factors,
especially class size and students' more or less
homogeneous background. I frequently use the
introductory meta-narrative and objectives:
just as in my research, as a teacher I create
an unresolved "problem" or heuristic device
that the students and I are to deal with
during the course;
- using diverse
detailed activities and parameters, oral and
written, to ensure that prior to class the
students read the texts and respond to them
actively (prereading, homework, possibility of
in-class quizzes, etc.;
In addition to concrete
classroom methods, I endeavour to enhance the
effectiveness of the course and the aim to foster
independent, critical thinkers by developing and
implementing online course materials which
facilitate the active construction of knowledge by
the students themselves. (I keep an online site
for each course which is constantly updated after
- establishing an
optimal balance (depending on particular
circumstances) of lecture, small-group open
discussion, debate, oral presentations, and
multi-media, visual, or audio demonstrations
(technology classroom techniques such as
PowerPoint and Internet demonstrations to
support a lecture or discussion).
Given my passion for teaching, I am always keen to
acquire new techniques and skills to enhance my
teaching and to continue the process of discovery
with my students.
What do I teach for?
My teaching ideal is to create a dialogic
atmosphere in which all students feel involved and
responsible for their own success. Through my
exchanges inside and outside of class, I encourage
students to think independently and critically, to
express themselves with clarity, precision, and
style, to master generalized and specialized
knowledge in contexts that have relevance to the
world, and to develop a commitment to life-long
learning and self-development.