Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ballentine and Schlenker reflect and give thanks.

Jeff Ballentine and Todd Schlenker spent the month of July, 2011, in Spain.  We spent a few nights in Madrid on the front end of the trip and a few nights on the back end, visiting friends, museums and old haunts from 30 years ago, when I studied in Madrid as a college student.  During the three weeks in the middle, July 10-29, we did a summer course for Spanish Teachers at the University of Deusto in Bilbao, in the northern Basque country.  Our classes met every week day from 9 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  Our three professors were experts in the Spanish language, history, culture and methods of teaching.  We learned and shared ideas for teaching Spanish at all levels.  Our excursions took us to Pamplona for the running of the bulls and to several other regional attractions like Santillana del Mar, San Sebastian, San Millan de la Cogolla, Santander and Guernica.  Our Spanish improved tremendously, and we even learned some of the Basque language, known as "Euskera."  Being students helped us recharge our batteries and gave us new insights into the old and new dynamics that make Spain the country it is today.  We need to thank the USM Faculty Grant Committee for giving us the opportunity to study in Spain this summer.  Fifteen other teachers from across the US and Canada paid their own way because of the value these summer courses offer.  They were impressed that USM had the vision and resources to invest in its teachers in this way.  So again, MUCHAS GRACIAS, USM. 

The Spanish Embassy in the US and Canada invite teachers every summer to study in Spain at a variety of Spanish Universities throughout the country.  The AATSP works in conjunction with the Spanish Embassy to aid teachers in making the proper connections.  To learn more visit: and , or click on "cursos de verano" at

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