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Educational advancement fund spotlight: “A transformative learning approach for FL2 Spanish students”

Posted by on Friday, October 22, 2021 in Commentary, Grants, News.

Carolina Palacios, senior lecturer in Spanish, recently talked to CFT assistant director Julaine Fowlin about her Educational Advancement Fund grant, “A transformative learning approach for FL2 Spanish students.”

Can you tell us briefly about your project and what inspired you to do this project?

This project fosters life-long learning and involves transformative learning in FL2 Spanish students through a Virtual Immersion Experience (VIE) with Spanish native speakers from varied Spanish-speaking countries. This experience will enhance speaking and listening skills as well as Intercultural Communicative Competence (ICC) and Sociopragmatic Competence.

As a Spanish instructor, considering language learning as a 21st Century Skill, I recognize that language acquisition involves intercultural exploration in an inclusive and diverse learning environment in the classroom and beyond boundaries. Achieving this goal is my main inspiration.

What is the anticipated impact of this project on students and the Vanderbilt community in general?

By using this innovative learning approach, Vanderbilt Spanish students will be exposed to diverse Latinx/Hispanic/Spanish cultures and embrace a cultural immersion, even if remotely. As a result, this VIE will help Spanish 1102 students improve their language acquisition (increase students’ confidence in speaking and listening skills) and understanding of their own home country’s culture and learn how to successfully communicate with people from other cultures.  Therefore, Vanderbilt students will acquire a global perspective from first-hand information and real-world experience building a virtual community through connection with others.  Moreover, students will be asked to reflect on any “Aha moments” that have transformed their personal perspective on previous assumptions of how Spanish native speakers are, what they do, how they study, work, and celebrate, etc.  Consequently, students will be able to assess critically, any taken-for-granted frames of reference and biases to help them build a more inclusive mindset.

What recommendations do you have for others who would like to apply for the internal teaching grant?

I believe this kind of grant gives us the opportunity to exchange opinions and learn from colleagues about their work in a learning community and I encourage everyone to apply.  I am looking forward to sharing my progress and getting feedback from my colleagues.

In few sentences, could you describe your teaching philosophy?

As FL2 instructor, I think there is still a need to create awareness of how important diversity and inclusion are to fostering students’ success. I am committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive learning environment to motivate my 21st Century students’ learning process as global citizens..






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