Karen Cangialosi’s article, “But You Can’t Do That in a STEM Course,” is a fascinating piece! I especially appreciate how she analyzes the different ways instructors in the sciences are continuously engaging with active learning strategies from Open Pedagogy.

I recognize several teaching strategies and common arguments resisting to such tools—as an instructor of modern languages, who teaches from beginning-level language classes to advanced-literature courses and capstone seminars in the French and Spanish programs at SNC.

Sometimes I explain to students (colleagues or friends) that learning a foreign language requires tools similar to the ones used in the sciences because we too have very factual information which is essential to: 1) learn the core syntax about any particular language; and 2) assist in the creation of straight-forward or more-complex sentences (and their corresponding level of meaning and sophistication).

And although this is a very prescriptive learning approach, foreign language acquisition (inclusive of all those foundational grammatical structures and pronunciation competences) does not necessarily mean repetitive (and apparently “boring” to some) activities. On the contrary—and agreeing entirely with Karen—, these are excellent teaching opportunities to stimulate student interest and motivation to go beyond uneventful memorizations in language courses.

As an open pedagogy instructor myself, one of the goals in my language curriculum concurs with Karen’s argument when she calls us to “spark for the search that leads to foundations,” which allows students to not only make their own associations but to engage in the “significant learning” that goes beyond the classroom.

Thank you, Karen! I look forward to meeting you in our sync session with the SNC DigPINS group next week!

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