Dr. Alexander Steffanell, associate professor of Spanish at Lee University, presented at the 2018 American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages convention in New Orleans, La
With over 12,500 language educator members, the ACTFL convention draws attendees from across the globe. ACTFL, founded in 1967, has become one of the leading organizations in innovating language education.
Dr. Steffanell’s presentation, “Intercultural Competence and Community-Based Tasks Overseas,” focused on ways to improve intercultural competence in the authentic setting of a study abroad program. Dr. Steffanell discussed how cross-cultural experiences can enhance foreign language speaking, writing, and content-based skills through a variety of hands-on tasks in classroom, community, and family-oriented settings. He also discussed ways that schools can modify their cross-cultural curriculum and pinpointed an array of service learning initiatives and community-based tasks which may be embedded into a study abroad curriculum.
“I am glad that I could present about what we do at Lee University regarding cross cultural trips and the experience that we have after so many years of organizing these trips,” said Dr. Steffanell. “Lee’s kind of traveling and compelling experiences make it unique. The audience was amazed by what and how we do things at Lee.”
Throughout his presentation, Dr. Steffanell used his experience leading Lee Global Perspectives trips to Colombia as an example. He used journal entries and student handouts from previous trips to provide examples and lead focus group discussions during his presentation.
“I showed them what we do in Colombia and what it means to have a real cross cultural trip,” said Dr. Steffanell. “I explained how we are hosted by Colombian families, learn the language, and experience the culture firsthand. Most importantly, I related this as part of our Christian growth.”
Dr. Steffanell has led the Global Perspectives trip to Colombia every summer for the past eight years. On the trip, students take six hours of Spanish classes and have the opportunity to engage directly with the culture about which they are learning.
Originally from Barranquilla, Colombia, Dr. Steffanell joined the Department of Language and Literature in 2007. In addition to the Colombia trip, he has led trips to Argentina, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Uruguay.
He also organizes the Annual Undergraduate Conference on Latin American and Iberian Studies every spring and the Program on Education, Mission and Faith every May, hosting international guests on campus.
For more information on the ACTFL convention, visit: https://www.actfl.org/convention-expo.
For more information on Lee’s Global Perspectives trip to Colombia, visit https://globalperspectives.leeuniversity.edu/index.cfm?FuseAction=Programs.ViewProgram&Program_ID=10011 or contact Steffanell at firstname.lastname@example.org.