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Faculty Focus: Parallel Teaching
03.15.13 |
There may not be a more deliberate way to incorporate an interdisciplinary approach to a topic than to have a team of professors approach it from different perspectives. In fact, many of Lebanon Valley College’s team-teaching professors report that discussing a topic in class from many different starting points is one of the best ways for them—and their students—to define and understand their subject matter.

Dr. Gabriela McEvoy, assistant professor of Spanish, and Dr. Michael Schroeder, assistant professor of history, are parallel-teaching courses this spring—Central American Literature and Modern Latin America, respectively—that bring together their academic disciplines to provide a deeper exploration of Central American history and culture. This enrichment for students could ultimately culminate in a one-credit, week-long study-abroad program in Costa Rica this summer.

“Dr. Schroeder is teaching Central American history, and I’m teaching Central American literature,” explained McEvoy. “When I teach the literature classes, I always include some historical background or context, because you can’t fully understand literature without a historical background.” But Schroeder’s deeper engagement with the area’s history will enhance the students’ understanding, McEvoy noted. “In Latin American studies, we look at the region in terms of its culture, history, and literature. I think sometimes we tend to divide up our disciplines, but in this class it’s combined.”

Readings in each of the classes will focus on Costa Rica in preparation for the summer experiential trip, should enough students enroll. “We’re reading fiction about ecotourism in the central province of Costa Rica,” said McEvoy. “When we go there, the students can compare the fiction they’ve read to reality. We’re talking about the economy too, so that when we’re there, they’ll have some context when we visit a coffee farm, which is the main product in Costa Rica.” Students will stay in private homes to fully immerse themselves in the language and culture of the region.


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