Students and faculty celebrate National Foreign Language Week
While lively music was playing in the background, Professor Jordano Quaglia, part-time professor in the Modern Languages and Literatures Department (MLL), encouraged some of the braver students to join him for a Brazilian Bumba dancing workshop in the lower level of the Barone Campus Center.
The international dance workshop was part of the National Foreign Language Week (March 3-7) and sponsored by The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.
The National Foreign Language Week has been celebrated at Fairfield University since 2010, begun in 1957 by Alpha Mu Gamma, the national honor society for foreign languages.
Professor Quaglia, who took a break between dancing to talk about the week of festivities, said, “Dancing and music is a different approach while teaching a language. It takes a lot of pressure off the class and makes learning language fun for my students,” he said.
No stranger to getting up and dancing in front of his students, Professor Quaglia said that he incorporates music and dance lessons into his curriculum as another way of teaching culture to his students. He teaches the translation of Portuguese song lyrics so his students will understand and be able to sing along to the music.
Sydney Arestivo ’17, a communication major, said, “We talk about culture in our language class, but this event puts the lessons into action. Professor Jordano takes us out of our comfort zone, but we still have fun when he wants to teach us new dances. The language itself is hard, but it’s really nice to have a lighthearted and fun moment among the serious lessons,” she said.
Professor Covadonga Arango-Martin, professor of the practice of Modern Languages and Literatures, said, “Creator and directors of this week put a lot of effort into planning successful and educational events for students.”
At Fairfield University, all students are required to take foreign language classes, and the department offers special events outside of the classroom to enhance learning throughout the entire year.
“The message to students is that being able to speak another language is about being able to navigate in another culture,” Professor Arango-Martin said. “In class, we can’t always explore music or dancing and expose our students to food, music, and culture, so this week allows us to explore the other aspects of studying a foreign language.”
In addition to the dancing workshop, the MLL department sponsored a day focused on the culture and arts of different countries, plus an International Film Festival, showing films from Chile (No), Germany (The Counterfeiters), Italy (Inside Buffalo), and France (Cyrano de Bergerac).