Teaching Assistant Professor,
Spanish Language, Literacy, & Cultural Studies

As a faculty member of the Department of Spanish Language, Literary and Cultural Studies, Dr. Guerra’s research and teaching focuses on topics of applied sociolinguistics and second-language acquisition (SLA). Her research in sociolinguistics centers specifically on how linguistic ideologies surrounding dialects of Spanish are constructed, perceived, and negotiated. Additionally, Dr. Guerra’s research in the SLA encompasses different teaching methods, material design and presentation, with an emphasis on student-centered learning and inclusive practices.

Describe a change to your general teaching practice as a result of the pandemic that worked well or better than expected.

In my experience, successful online courses have clear organization with a predictable schedule/format. Each week has the same basic structure, but activities vary within certain formats (such as speaking, writing, or videos) depending on our objectives. By separating tasks, providing predictable variation in activities, and balancing synchronous and asynchronous meetings, we can take advantage of the online format and ensure we are meeting our goals in a systematic but engaging way. I have been impressed and humbled by how our students and faculty have responded to our courses in such a positive way.

Describe a change to classroom activities or assignments that worked well or better than expected.

Keep the focus on the goals for our students, and how we can help them achieve these goals. For example, our students have expressed a great desire to be able to hold an informal conversation in Spanish with a peer and/or community member. By dedicating a fixed amount of time and focus to this goal, we are all able to be witness to this achievement.

What change/s have you made to your teaching practice during the last year that you anticipate continuing beyond the pandemic?

Collaboration is the key to success! Thanks to the amazing dedication and contributions of colleagues (and with a little help from Canvas), we were able to create engaging and innovative activities for all our students, which have allowed them to connect with the language and content on a more personal level and reflect on their own perceptions and language practices. We will incorporate these new activities and varied delivery into future courses when we return to face-to-face instruction.

Dr. Kathleen Guerra, Teaching Assistant Professor, Spanish Language, Literacy, & Cultural Studies
Dr. Kathleen S. Guerra