Confluence of Languages

SYA gathered over 30 teachers and educational leaders representing more than five different first languages to chart SYA's future. Read what participants are saying about SYA's second-annual Conference on Teaching and Learning Abroad, below. 

Reflection from John McLoughlin, SYA China Resident Director

The Conference on Teaching and Learning Abroad took us from thinking about the curriculum design in theoretical and conceptual ways to begin implementing student experiences in very practical ways — to consider what it will look and feel like for student learning on a daily/weekly/yearlong basis. This is a big step — and a challenging one. It was very important to take this step as a group, all four campuses, collectively. Having the opportunity to think about it together, begin designing student experiences together, and recognizing the challenges involved was very important for our faculty. We spent a significant amount of time working with our newly developed Core Competencies. The beauty of this new assessment system is that it recognizes the most important learning that students do at SYA — the kind of learning that can only happen through experience. Beijing, as well as Rennes, Viterbo and Zaragoza have abundant local resources to access for student experiences — intentionally accessing them will create rich and powerful student learning. 

John McLoughlin

SYA China faculty present John McLoughlin with a present for his birthday, and conference attendees sing a 5-language rendition of "Happy Birthday" (accompanied by Dr. Daniele Gatti on piano) while attending the Conference on Teaching and Learning Abroad. 

Reflection from Linda Scanlon, College Counseling Liaison, Applied Agroecology 

The conference, as always, helped refocus our energies and refocus our commitment to looking at our classes through the starting point of competencies. What I enjoy most about the conference is the opportunity to interact with our fellow faculty members and to be stimulated by different ideas, points of views and solutions.

SYAC19 Linda Scanlon

Linda Scanlon participates in a cross-campus discussion bridging all four SYA campuses. 

Reflection from Zhao Ran, Modern China, Student Activities Coordinator

I'm really excited about SYA's Core Competencies. I sometimes find it hard to grade students in my class because there is no fixed answer to how each student understands today's politics, economy, society and culture of China. But with the guidance of SYA's Core Competencies it makes easier to improve the design of the class, the ability to assess students' achievements and the place-based learning process of reaching their understanding of the class, today's China and their place in the society.

Ran Zhao

Zhao Ran (left) with Ding Xuesong (right) exploring the Villa Lante garden while on a lunch break at the Conference on Teaching and Learning Abroad. 

Reflection from Alessandra Tuzi, Italian Language

What is most exciting for me about the new curriculum is the fact that emphasizes the importance of language acquisition, which is now asked to be central in any activity of all the subjects. I believe that this will create an interdisciplinary goal which will be beneficial for  the students who will be more motivated to learn the language and therefore better enjoy the experience in the whole and make better use of their time abroad.

Cross Campus Discussion SYAC19

Left to right: Dominque Borotra, SYA France; Tomás Arruebo, SYA Spain; Zhao Ran, SYA China; Alessandra Tuzi, SYA Italy. 

For more photos from the Conference on Teaching and Learning Abroad, check out our Summer Photo Essay, Three Months in 30 Photos.

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