My Teaching Philosophy
I believe that my responsibility as a teacher is to instill a sense of self-worth in my students, to facilitate the acquisition of lifelong learning skills and to pass on my passion for literature and the Spanish language. I work towards these goals by building a sense of community in the classroom, where students should feel safe and encouraged to explore their own potential and become more independent learners. Moreover, this collegial and supportive environment promotes student engagement with the content of the class, which by the end of the semester is deeply linked to friendship and a conscious process of self-improvement.
My experience has shown me that in a positive classroom atmosphere it is easier to challenge your students while also making them feel supported and appreciated. I make sure that my students know that I trust them and that my high expectations relate to their level of curiosity and their capacity to work collaboratively in order to identify, correct, and keep track of their own mistakes, assumptions or vague arguments. As a team, students feel more comfortable to speak up and ask for help and to perform activities that force them to leave their comfort zone or to take a leading role. Debates, oral presentations and peer-review activities become extremely successful in this friendly environment and I also make a great effort to not let them down with artificial activities or writing prompts that have little meaning outside the classroom.
We will always be learners and I want my students to know that their success and well-being deeply depend on their capacity to learn independently and passionately. I believe that language, art and literature remind us of the playful side of trying to understand the world, but also that learning is a game played seriously.
My Teaching Experience
These are brief descriptions of all the courses that I have taught so far at CU Boulder. Bellow each title you can find listed the amount of semesters in which I have taught each course.
Spanish 3001: Spanish Conversation
This is a coordinated course, but each instructor is completely responsible of its own class. My class took place 2 days a week and each session was an hour and a half long. The course emphasizes speaking fluency and students are evaluated through individual and group presentations, homework assignments, in-class participation and their conversations on the online platform Talk Abroad, which are monitored by the instructor.
Spanish 3000: Advanced Spanish Language Skills
Fall 2018 | Spring 2017
This is a coordinated course, but each instructor is completely responsible of its own class. This course takes place 5 days a week and it is designed to move students beyond the intermediate level toward an advanced command of the language. The course activities focus on helping students solidify and deepen interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational communication skills in order to prepare them for upper-division content courses in literature, linguistics, culture, business, and other professional topics.
Spanish 3800: Latin American Literature in Translation
“Latin American Worlds: The Fantastic, Magic Realism, and the Macabre”
This course was designed by Prof. Peter Elmore with the intent to familiarize students with the fantastic genre in Latin America and its difference regarding Magic Realism and the new aesthetic of the macabre. Prof. Elmore was in charged of conducting the lectures and my responsibility as a TA was to teach one recitation section out of two. For these recitations, I prepared my own materials based on the concepts discussed during the lecture.
Spanish 2150: Intensive Second Year Spanish
This was my first non-coordinated course and I had the opportunity to create my own syllabus as well as all the evaluation materials (midterms, quizzes, rubrics for compositions and oral tasks and, of course, the final exam). It was a five-days-a-week course designed to compress two semesters of content in one semester. Thus, moving students from a low intermediate level to a high intermediate level in a fast path class.
Spanish 3700: Spanish Literature in Translation
"All about Spain (and Europe): Moments of Cultural Contact in the 20C"
This course was designed by Prof. Javier Krauel as an introduction to the ways in which some of the best 20th-century Spanish thinkers and writers had engaged with the idea of Europe. Prof. Krauel was in charged of conducting the lectures and my responsibility as a TA was to teach one recitation section out of three. For these recitations, I prepared my own materials based on the readings discussed during the lecture.
Spanish 1010: Beginning Spanish 1
Spring 2016 | Spring 2015 | Fall 2014
This is a coordinated course, but each instructor is completely responsible of its own class. This course takes place 5 days a week and it assumes no prior knowledge or experience with Spanish. The course uses a variety of language teaching approaches to help the student work toward mastery of all four basic language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. The overall emphasis is on realistic situations that could prove useful in a practical sense to the student.
Spanish 1020: Beginning Spanish 2
This is a coordinated course, but each instructor is completely responsible of its own class. This course takes place 5 days a week and it is the continuation of Spanish 1010. The course uses a variety of language teaching approaches to help the student work toward mastery of all four basic language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. The overall emphasis is on realistic situations that could prove useful in a practical sense to the student.
These are anonymous commentaries from my students, all selected from different end-of-semester Faculty Course Questioners. Originals are available upon request.
She was awesome. Always more than happy to help, always making sure we understood concepts (and going back if we needed more help). I would definitely recommend Fernanda’s class to a friend.
Hard to improve on perfection. Fernanda is enthusiastic and infectious in her enthusiasm. She utilizes her dramatic skill to great effect in enhancing the learning experience.
This was by far my favorite class and it is all due to Fernanda. She is the best professor I’ve ever had. I always felt encouraged, challenged, and supported. I look forward to this class every day, and I wish I could have her for all my Spanish classes. You are the best!!!!!!!
The recitations are very useful in helping me understand things that may not be very clear in the lecture. Also the extended office hours for the final essay were very helpful as well.
Even though the class was really small and uncomfortably quiet at times, Maria did great job at staying enthusiastic and engaging. Overall really good instructing. Every recitation was very helpful in reviewing and building off of prior material. The power points and handouts were great.
Fernanda was the best professor I have ever had. She is excited/attentive/encouraging. She is creative with her teaching materials, and methods. She is gracious that learning another language is hard but is challenging in that she requires us to try to speak and encourages us to keep trying! She is helpful in learning grammar and tries new ways to incorporate the lesson each day. Hands down best professor I have ever had.
From 2017 to 2019, I served as Graduate Student Lead which is a campus-wide responsibility for assisting and training other graduate students to teach their classes effectively. Bellow are the workshops that I have imparted so far.
Serious Play in the Language Classroom
March 7, 2019. Discipline-specific workshop for the Spanish and Portuguese Department at CU Boulder.
This workshop was designed to provide participants with fun multi-step activities that target all 4 skills in one hour of class. The idea was also to reflect on the importance of incorporating videos, texts and images in a meaningful and creative way, instilling student participation and creating well-rounded lesson plans.
From Power to Empower I: How to Advocate for Yourself in Academia
February 22, 2019. Interdisciplinary workshop for the Graduate Teacher Program at CU Boulder.
Graduate students often find themselves caught between different sets of conflicting duties. The pressure of trying fulfill the responsibilities associated with their job contracts, programs of study, professional development and personal lives can be quite intense. In fact, many students have the feeling of losing control over their education and professional growth. In this workshop, we share ideas, strategies and resources for navigating these conflicts and advocating for yourself within the academy.
Transformative Classrooms: Rethinking the Limits of Traditional Learning Space
March 23, 2018. Interdisciplinary workshop for the Graduate Teacher Program at CU Boulder
This workshop intended to provide creative ideas on how to take advantage of the classroom space in order to foster student’s curiosity, active learning and collegiality.
Metacognition in the Language Classroom: Writing Assignments and Peer Review
February 23, 2018. Discipline-specific workshop for the Spanish and Portuguese Department at CU Boulder.
This workshop was designed to give instructors some tips on how to designed fun and meaningful writing assignments in the language classroom as well as how to monitor students' improvement.