January 22, 2019 at 10:28 am

Ganeshan Co-authors Article on Service Learning and Spanish Verbal Aspect

Ashwini Ganeshan, portrait

Dr. Ashwini Ganeshan

Dr. Ashwini Ganeshan, Assistant Professor of Spanish in the Modern Languages Department, published an article on the impact of service learning on students’ understanding of the Spanish verbal aspect.

Ganeshan co-authored the article with Dr. Cecilia Tocaimaza-Hatch of the University of Nebraska Omaha Foreign Languages and Literature Department.

The article, titled “Praxis: How Service-Learning Promotes Understanding and Control of Verbal Aspect in Spanish L2 Learners,” was published in December in the scholarly Journal of Linguistics and Language Teaching (2018), whose audience are linguists and foreign language methodologists.

Abstract: “Service-learning (SL) provides learners with opportunities for genuine language negotiation (Caldwell 2007, Abbott & Lear 2010, Barreneche 2011, Uehara & Raatior 2016, Zapata 2011, Askildson, Kelly & Mick 2013, Tocaimaza-Hatch & Walls 2016). This investigation explores how SL improves learners’ conceptual development and use of verbal aspect in oral narrations. For the pre-test and post-test, learners narrated Mercer Mayer’s book Frog Goes to Dinner providing spontaneous performance data. Immediately after, learners were prompted to discuss their aspectual choices. Finally, after the post-test, learners answered open-ended questions on whether and how their ability to narrate improved over time. While findings show no evidence of improvement in use and control of verbal aspect, there is improvement in SL learners’ conceptual understanding of verbal aspect. The open-ended questions suggest learners perceived SL helped in improving their narration skills, and they recognized SL as a setting where theory and practice, i.e., praxis, come together. Overall, learners’ reflections on the SL experience demonstrated increased confidence in language abilities. SL, in this investigation, provided learners with opportunities to simultaneously develop affective and cognitive processes and in this way, SL proved to be a beneficial and enriching experience for language learning.”

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