JUNE 4TH, 2018

Public Engagement Focus of LASA Outreach Panel: Latin America as a Window to the World

On Friday, May 25, 2018, LASA2018 presented the opportunity for outreach educators from across the US to come together for a CLASP-organized panel focused on “Latin America as a Window to the World: Re-imagining the US Classroom.” Representatives from Stanford University, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee shared their experiences in working with pre-service and in-service teachers to internationalize curriculum in the K-16 classroom.

Despite the geographic proximity as well as the interdependent nature of Latin America and the U.S., the Latin American region continues to be largely underrepresented in K-12 curriculum throughout the U.S. This panel addresses an ongoing expansion effort to increase Latin American content in U.S. K-12 curriculum and teacher-training, highlighting educational outreach programs that emphasize the importance of Latin American area content and language in understanding diverse issues and processes in societies around the globe. These outreach programs draw on knowledge and expertise from Latin America to inform Latin American Studies and teacher-training programs in the U.S. Presenters will address the revision of history-social science curriculum frameworks, the expansion (conceptual and actual) of world language programs in secondary schools, and the internationalization of pre-service teacher training programs through the use of children’s literature.

A Revised History-Social Science Curriculum Framework: Teaching Latin America in California Schools
Molly Aufdermauer/Elizabeth Sáenz-Ackermann, Stanford University

In July 2016, the California State Board of Education voted to approve a revised History-Social Science Framework for California Public Schools as part of an effort to help students “learn about the diversity of the state and the contributions of people and groups who may not have received the appropriate recognition in the past” (State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson). This revision added a considerable focus on Latin America. In fall 2016, in an effort to support the teaching of these new themes in the classroom, the Stanford University Center for Latin American Studies partnered with the Stanford Graduate School of Education’s Center to Support Excellence in Teaching and El Colegio de México to develop their first “History of
the Americas” course for teachers of secondary-level history and social-science, with the theme of the Mexican Revolution. In summer 2017, senior scholars from El Colegio de México and San Francisco State University traveled to Stanford to lend their expert knowledge on the Mexican Revolution from both U.S. and Mexico’s perspectives, including the aftermath of the revolution and the politics of nation-building. With the goal of equipping high school instructors to teach and prepare students to understand comparable challenges not only in Latin America but around the globe, both historically and today, the course included excellent content and faculty presentations complemented with an equally strong pedagogy component by teaching experts from Stanford’s Graduate School of Education.

Portuguese as a Global Language: Teaching the Lusosphere through a School-University Partnership
Karen S. Goldman, University of Pittsburgh

In the U.S., most universities that offer Portuguese language programs focus on Brazilian Portuguese and the history/cultures of Brazil. Occasionally, there is attention to the language as it is spoken in Portugal, generally as a point of comparison. In March 2017, the University of Pittsburgh held its first annual seminar on cultures of the Lusosphere, aiming to educate participants on cultural identities of diverse countries, regions, states or cities where people speak Portuguese: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe, Macau, East Timor and various communities around the world, including southern Florida and New England, USA. This focus on Portuguese as a global language has been extended through the outreach program of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) to the high school students in the Pittsburgh Public School District. The presence of Portuguese as a world language in the public school curriculum in Pittsburgh, a city with a miniscule Portuguese-speaking community, is a direct result of CLAS’s “Portuguese: Language of the Future” Program, which provides Portuguese language training to Spanish teachers, who incorporate the language and Lusophone studies into curriculum. This partnership provides opportunities for high school students to learn about the Lusosphere, including watching films and television, attending cultural events and having access to native speakers and authentic materials. The focus on the Lusosphere also lends itself to understanding of world history, in particular as it relates to the Atlantic Slave trade and the current demographic configuration of Brazil.

Reading Latin America: Internationalizing an Introduction to Children’s Literature Course for Pre-Service Teachers
Julie Kline, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
The UW-Milwaukee Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies is partnering with UWM School of Education faculty and staff during the 2017-18 academic year to internationalize the basic Introduction to Children’s Literature course required for all students in early childhood and middle childhood/early adolescent programs (5 sections, 125 students/semester). Drawing largely from the CLASP Américas Award and related resources, the presentation will: 1) highlight the potential of linking children’s literature theme, genre and author study to Latin American content; 2) emphasize giving students the opportunity to see themselves and their cultures in books; and 3) model the transferability of the project to core pre-service teacher training at any School of Education.