Angelina Craig-Flórez received her Ph.D. in Spanish Medieval Literature and Cultural Studies from Columbia University (2002). Originally from Madrid, Spain, she completed her BA at Fordham University with a double major in English and Comparative Literature.
As teacher of Spanish as a foreign language, Angelina has always aimed to merge her interests in literary and cultural studies with the newest approaches in foreign language teaching and learning, as well as with blended learning. Her research interests in the post-method foreign language teaching and learning include: multiliteracies; content-based; project-based; process writing; active learning, and blended learning. Additionally, since 2008 Angelina has also delved into her other passion: Spanish Art, and regularly teaches the Advanced Language in Content course: Spain in its Art.
Angelina has served as Director of the Language program at the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures from 2002-2007 and as co-Director from 2015-2019.
She is co-director of Teach World Languages, a web site for the transmission and exchange of ideas, materials and tools for the teaching of world languages and cultures. It is a collaborative project among Columbia University, UPenn, Princeton, and Yale. The project was selected by the Consortium of Language Teaching and Learning, as the recipient of a grant sponsored by the Mellon Foundation (2006-2009).
Angelina has been awarded two Hybrid Learning Course Redesign and Delivery grants by the Provost of Columbia University.
The first grant was received in 2015 for her redesign of the final project: Student Generated iBooks. This project is also included as part of the course materials in the online course: Blending Learning Essentials offered by The Center of Teaching and Learning at Columbia University.
The second Provost grant was awarded in 2018 for her project: Beyond the textbook: Hybrid Redesign of Spanish Intermediate II. (Please see below in the Bookshelf for direct links to two Spotlight articles published by the Center of Teaching and Learning at Columbia University).
Whether on-line or in-person, I foster a welcoming environment in my classes where students continue to build life-long learning strategies that enable them to become autonomous learners. My aim is to accompany my students, and at times guide them, on a journey of discovery where the learning of the language, about the language and in the language, opens the door to an array of fascinating cultures.
Besides my passion for what I do, as well as building a healthy environment and relationship with my students that fosters learning, I strive to design well thought-out courses and materials anchored on sound theoretical frameworks.
I have been teaching Spanish as a foreign language for close to thirty years and have witnessed profound changes in the field of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) in which the pendulum has swung from one extreme to the other. That experience has also shown me that the best outcomes are not necessarily achieved with one single approach but rather with a skillful combination of several. Thus, my courses aim to seamlessly draw from various approaches and methodologies: The Multiliteracies and Content-Based approaches help my students develop strategies to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of authentic multimodal texts. The Project-Based approach helps to anchor the learning on a real task. I apply Active Learning (Flipped Classroom) to encourage learners’ agency and autonomy. I incorporate Blended Learning and the integration of digital tools to maximize engagement as well as efficiency on multiple levels such as presentation of content, interactive practice activities, self-assessment quizzes etc. Last but certainly not least I choose topics and authentic materials that are current, engaging and relevant to my students.
I also strongly believe that the affordances these approaches offer must be blended following a well-organized backwards design, whether for the curriculum, a course, a lesson plan, or a class activity. The key is having clear, concise and well-organized learning objectives; assessing if the results meet the objectives; and allowing for flexibility to modify and adapt the different elements to better address the students’ needs.
Thirty years after walking into a classroom for the first time, my inspiration and continuous motivation still comes from my students. The feeling I get when I’m able reach that one student that at first seems lost, but then slowly begins to engage with the class; when at the end of the semester they share with me that they have decided to continue their studies in Spanish beyond the requirement; that they are going to study abroad to delve deeper into the Spanish-speaking cultures; or that they have started as volunteers in an immigration organization because they were inspired by our class discussions. That feeling of having made an impact on my students, however small, is irreplaceable and is why I love what I do.