People / Faculty

Ana Paula Huback

Ana Paula Huback
Lecturer Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures
  • Address
    501 Casa Hispánica
    Department of Latin American & Iberian Cultures
    612 W116th Street
    New York NY 10027
  • Office Hours
    Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:30-4pm
  • Phone
    (212) 854-0277
  • Email

Profile

Ana Paula Huback came to Columbia University in Fall 2010. She completed her M.A. (2003) and her Ph.D. (2007) in Linguistics at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, in Brazil. Her dissertation and thesis focus on Cognitive Linguistics and analyze how the daily usage of language interferes with linguistic variation and change.

Ana Paula Huback taught Linguistics in numerous Brazilian universities, until she moved to the USA in 2007, and began teaching Portuguese as a foreign language. She has presented the findings of her research in Brazil, USA, Portugal, England, France, and Germany. She has also published several articles on Second Language Acquisition and Cognitive Linguistics, both in the USA and in Brazil.

Ana Paula is currently involved in the production of three textbooks: 1) the adaptation of the “Gramática Básica del Estudiante de Español” to the Portuguese language; 2) "Brazilian Portuguese Pronunciation", a much needed resource for advanced Portuguese students who want to perfect their pronunciation; 3) A book for intermediate Portuguese courses, based on genders of the discourses and Cognitive Linguistics approaches for grammar topics.

Academic Statement

Statement on Teaching

Learning a second language can be a difficult task for students. For this reason, it is essential that language professors be professionally qualified to perform their jobs. I always try to incorporate new research findings in my daily practice. As a language professor, my main pedagogical references are Content-Based Instruction and Task-Based Learning and Teaching. Both pedagogical concepts emphasize the importance of student-centered interactions in class. Rather than being a professor who is the transmitter of knowledge, I prefer to be a facilitator who engages in discussions with the students and monitors their group activities. To maximize the learning experience, I also teach Portuguese using the target language only. This helps students get a better grasp of linguistic structures and start thinking actively in the second language. All these strategies also require that the students collaborate with each other. In the new job market, concepts such as teamwork and social skills have become increasingly widespread, and candidates are expected to meet these requirements. In this sense, group activities like the ones we have in class not only help the learning process, but also provide the students with life skills that are key for their future careers. Additionally, it is imperative to help students look for their own sources of knowledge, so that they will become individuals with an intellectual curiosity that will make them lifelong learners. In sum, students need to learn how to learn.

The usage of authentic materials and new technologies are indispensable tools for a more successful and enjoyable learning experience. In my classes, I work to develop a comfortable learning environment in which students can ask questions without being afraid of the professor’s or classmates’ disapproval. I am very open to the students’ criticism. I always feel that I am an ever-learning professor (and person!), so I often ask my students how we are doing in class and how I could help them in their learning process.

Finally, I believe that the professor’s behavior is an example that the students will keep in their minds. The professor’s attitude towards the students will shape the students’ attitudes towards their classmates and the professor. Sometimes the students comment on the fact that I always arrive in class with a smile on my face and a optimistic attitude. This positive outlook on life is something that comes naturally to me, as I am a passionate professor who likes being among students, helping them shape their core values. Sometimes I have professional or personal issues, but having the opportunity to share my knowledge with the students and also learn from them makes my life more meaningful. Being a professor is a great opportunity to make a positive difference in other people’s lives (and in my life as well). Whether teaching languages or any other topic, we are helping human beings define their core values. For that reason, it is crucial that our behavior be as fair and ethical as possible.

 

Statement on Advising

As far as advising goes, in the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures I am in charge of the Portuguese placement exams. Students who already know some Portuguese take an oral and written placement test to find out which Portuguese class is right for them. Whenever I do these language assessments I talk to the students and try to understand their goals in the university and with Portuguese specifically. Based on that and on the results they show in the placement test, I try to place the students on the class that suits their goals and their language skills.