Spanish teacher Ana Quiceno knows the value of learning a second language. That’s why she not only teaches linguistic skills, but also works to expose students to cultural content and contexts beyond the classroom.
“Spanish is more than just tacos,” said Quiceno. “When students learn Spanish, I want them to know they are learning something useful for their life.”
Quiceno nurtures just that; students in her classes not only practice the language, but they also read and analyze works from diverse authors and connect with peers in Latin American countries over Skype. In analyzing texts from different authors, she encourages students to think about not only the author’s point of view, but also their own behavior and expectations.
“I want students to know there is a world and it is waiting for them, and they can look for it by themselves,” said Quiceno.
Quiceno herself knew what she wanted to be since she was 11-years-old. Coming from a family of educators, she always knew she wanted to be a teacher. When an opportunity through the VIF teaching program came, which encourages global educator development through cultural exchange, Quiceno made the move from her home in Colombia to Siler City, NC.
Since 2012, Quiceno has been a Spanish teacher at Jordan-Matthews, a Title I public high school. Siler City is a town whose Latino population grew exponentially in the 1990s and early 2000s. Latinos now make up around half of the overall population of just over 8,000. Quiceno’s passion to connect students to both the local and global communities in her classes caught the attention of Emily Chávez, outreach coordinator at the UNC-Duke Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and a member of the Consortium in Latin American Studies Programs (CLASP).
Chávez nominated Quiceno for the 2016 NC Consortium in Latin American Studies Program award for K-12 educators, which recognizes excellence and innovation in the teaching of Latin American and/or the Caribbean among elementary, middle, and high school teachers. Chávez said Quiceno’s creative lessons encouraged not only her Latino students to “take pride in their ethnic and cultural backgrounds,” but they also encouraged other students to “develop respect, appreciation, and interest in the histories and cultures of their Latino peers and neighbors.”
Quiceno’s clear passion for teaching and her students impressed the Consortium in Latin American Studies Program committee as she was named the winner.
“I was so excited [to win the award],” said Quiceno. “I am proud to teach my students, and want them to know that what they learn daily really matters.”
About the Consortium in Latin American Studies Program (CLASP)
CLASP’s mission is to promote all facets of Latin American Studies throughout the world. Its broad range of activities include the encouragement of research activities, funding for professional workshops, advancement of citizen outreach activities, and development of teaching aids for the classroom.
Read more: Click- Official CLASP announcement