Seeing Immigration in a New Light
[by Amanda Ables]
After attending a STLR faculty training, Stacy Southerland, a Spanish professor here at UCO, had the motivation and the tools to enhance one of her assignments for her introductory classes. She wanted to give students the opportunity to reach their personal academic goals, reach a course learning objective, and earn STLR credit.
By promoting open mindedness and empathy, using global and cultural awareness goals, the assignment challenged her students’ beliefs and gave opportunities for personal reflection. The assignment required students to read an article that describes the experiences and challenges that immigrants face during the process of gaining citizenship. The article is written from the perspective of immigrants, and those who help immigrants through legal and social problems.
Seeing the issue from this perspective, students become more aware of the struggles that immigrants face and gain a deeper understanding of the immigrant experience.
This reading is followed by reflection questions that help students wrestle with any feelings of injustice, anger, compassion, and privilege. This also helps students think more critically about what they hear from news outlets and others in their community about immigrants and immigration issues.
Submitting this assignment not only gets students a grade in their introductory Spanish course, but the evidence they provide of their growth in the Global & Cultural Competencies tenet can get them STLR credit. Professor Southerland was so happy with how the assignment worked, she has shared it with other Spanish instructors, so they have now integrated it into their sections as well!
This STLR-tagged cultural assignment encouraged students to share personal opinions and to participate in debates and conversations over a controversial topic while creating a positive learning environment. STLR is grateful for the work of faculty and staff, like Stacy Southerland, to help provide transformative experiences to students.