I have over 20 years of experience in second language acquisition. I started my career teaching at the highest corporate and government levels in Europe, including CEOs of major multinational companies and Cabinet ministers in the UK. I was responsible for the design, standardization, and production of curriculum development and evaluation courseware in 26 languages for the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the European Council in Brussels, as well as other European Union agencies in the UK. In addition, I was in charge of the recruitment and training of world language instructors around the world. I have also designed curricular programs and developed instructional materials for private education companies such as Pearson Education. Since 2014, I have been working in US universities, teaching from elementary to advanced Spanish levels as well as advanced Spanish conversation and writing courses both at George Washington University and American University. In both institutions I have delivered content rich task-based courses that promote students’ intercultural awareness and advance their communicative skills. My excellence in teaching was recognized with a runner-up position for the Bender Teaching Award in 2019 and a nomination to the Bender Teaching Award in 2020.
In GWU, I developed a semester-long meta-cognitive scheme that was implemented Program-wide and aims to develop students’ cognitive strategies and engagement through strategy building tasks, intercultural development activities and self-reflection instances from a ludic standpoint. This initiative won a Grant for Experimentation in Teaching (GET), and was submitted also to the Peer Review for Excellence in Teaching (PRET) project with the purpose of refining the it and having the chance to look closely into its effect. The data collected provided insight into student motivation and gave way to a new research interest that was presented at both a domestic conference and GWU Teaching Day Poster Session. I have also developed an innovative syllabus for intensive elementary Spanish that modified the once available 8-credit, 4-times-a-week structure to an easier to handle 6-credit, 3-times-a-week one and gave interested students the chance to minor in Spanish even if they started their college experience with no previous knowledge of the subject. Since Fall 2016, these two versions are the only format offered. In order to enhance this course, I also designed a complementary 12-week conversation unit for the complete beginner sections. This supplementary training was offered to all students of complete beginner level until Spring 2019, when it was discontinued due to a restructuring of the Program.
With the purpose of shedding some light into the controversial topic of the use of the first language (L1) in instructed second language acquisition (ISLA), I partnered with a colleague to conduct two semester long interventions. Assessment of this project was facilitated by two Nick of Time Microgrants. The study was presented at the GWU Teaching Day Poster Session, the American Association of Applied Linguistics (AAAL) Conference in Chicago, the Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) 2019 Conference in Ottawa, the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL) 2019 in Washington, DC, and was scheduled for the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP) 2020 Conference in Puerto Rico but it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
I am the coordinator of Intermediate Spanish II level, which implies taking care of the day-to-day running of courses as well as designing a variety of teaching and assessment materials in line with the long-term goals and pedagogic approach of the Program, in addition to managing and developing a group of instructors in areas of TBI, teaching, and assessment. In the Fall 2021 semester, I redesigned the SPAN 1011 class, an intensive entry level Spanish course designed exclusively for complete beginners, and I am currently piloting the implementation of three case study interventions at this level.
I am also in charge of the Spanish Language Program tutoring services, including selecting potential language practice partners, interviewing and training them; organizing writing clinics and advanced tutoring services, and putting together workshops. Apart from this, I joined the GWU Academic Instruction Planning Focus Group in 2020 with the purpose of helping prepare for a safe and successful return to class.
I am the co-author of the fourth edition of the Spanish textbook Gente, a task-based elementary to intermediate Spanish textbook, adopted by the Spanish Language Program at GWU as well as a number of leading US colleges for elementary and intermediate levels. Together with my co-author, we also developed all ancillary materials and an innovative task-based testing program for this textbook. I also edited the third edition of the advanced Spanish textbook Puntos de Encuentro by Prof. de la Fuente.
In the Fall 2021 semester I started my Doctoral Program on Curriculum Design and Instruction and I hope that the expertise gained though my studies will allow me to keep up with the ever-changing demands of higher education, and will also give me the chance to keep the courses I coordinate and my own classes relevant to the university’s mission statement while attending to students’ subjectivities.