Susan Giraldez (Spanish)
Whatever works. Mix it up. Look at the big picture. Those three phrases sum up crucial elements of my approach to teaching.
"Whatever works" and "Mix it up" tie in to diversity of students and learning styles. As an educator, I am open to new approaches and willing to try new ways of communicating ideas and concepts. Recognizing that different students respond to different teaching styles means tackling subjects from multiple angles and presenting material in diverse manners.
"Look at the big picture." Spanish language, Spanish culture, Spanish literature. All are part of a rich tapestry of world histories and cultures that are best understood in the larger context. Students in my Don Quijote class may find themselves talking about soap operas, analyzing Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein or watching a 1980's sitcom in order to understand chivalric novels, parody and metafiction. While the focus of "Teatro hispánico" may be Spanish or Latin American playwrights, the context of classic Greek theater or religious "Autos de Fe" allow for a deeper understanding of genre and style. Beginning and intermediate language courses may have a lots of grammar and pronunciation, but what is communication without something to communicate? I encourage my students to use their emerging language skills to talk about things that are pertinent to their lives, be it engineering or entertainment, physics or philosophy, mathematics or movie stars. The big picture is always more fun, more interesting and more educational than the narrow focus.
Associate Professor of Spanish