B. Glick

The Pennsylvania State University (UNITED STATES)
Based on the role of linking communicative competence (Celce-Murcia, 2008) with experiences in the communities (Kolb, 1984) a series of blogs were organized by Spanish language learners in various language college courses. This pilot study has four phases: Phase I: Organization of material in blogs, including peer reviews Phase II: Delivery of blogs to the community as radio broadcasts Phase III: Feedback from the community Phase IV: Analysis of interactions between students and community

This study purports to follow Kolb’s Model of Community Based learning by engaging students in metacognitive analysis of language learning as well as by sharing their ideas with the local community. Students analyzed their own learning (Abstract Conceptualization) by writing comparisons between various cultural and grammatical aspects of English and Spanish languages to be delivered as radio broadcasts (Active Experimentation and Concrete Experiences) . Feedback from the community will lead to a reassessment of learning which, according to Kolb (1984) , results in Reflective Observations. In Phase I of this study, 25 students in a first year College –level Spanish program and 16 students in a second year College-level Spanish program prepared language blogs using on various cultural topics such as food preferences as well on grammar concepts like prepositional use, verbs of being, and the position of adjectives.Students peer-reviewed a minimum of one blog for content and clarification of material . The instructor reviewed all blogs and provided feedback. In this study, 41 blogs were analyzed by content and complexity. In Phase II, students were asked to deliver their blogs to the local community which has a 40% Latino population through a local radio station called “Radio Esperanza” at . Because of various logistical reasons, only one of the students was able to broadcast her language blog. A post- broadcast personal interview with the student showed a high level of interest and motivation for this project. The experience was so rewarding that the student changed her major from English to Communications. Once all four phases are completed, students’ experiences will be analyzed more fully using a mixed-methods approach which will include pre and post students’ perceptions, text analysis, and community feedback.

[1] Celce-Murcia, M. (2008) Rethinking the role of communicative competence in language teaching. In E. Alcón Soler & M.P. Safont Jordà (Eds.), Intercultural language use and language learning, pp 41 – 57. New York: Springer Publ .
[2] Kolb, D.A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.