Assistant Professor of Modern Languages-Spanish
"I am interested in the second language acquisition phenomena. That is, how do people learn a language other than their mother tongue(s)? In particular, I investigate how adults learn the morphology and syntax (i.e., grammar) of a second language in the classroom. Therefore, my research focuses on testing the effectiveness of language teaching techniques, particularly those that aim at facilitating grammar acquisition. Also, I am interested in materials development, both traditional (e.g., textbooks) and computer-assisted (e.g., podcasts). Based on these interests, when I teach Spanish, I always ask myself this question: How can my teaching facilitate the students' processes of language acquisition?"
Years at Knox: 2010 to present
Ph.D., Second Language Acquisition, 2005, University of Illinois-Chicago.
M.A., Spanish Linguistics, 2000, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
B.S., Biology, 1994, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Mexico City.
Spanish language, hispanic cultures, advanced grammar, linguistics, Spanish phonetics and phonology, second language acquisition, foreign language teaching methods.
Selected Professional Accomplishments
Técnicas de enseñanza basadas en input para la adquisición de la gramática en la sala de clase. Revista Nebrija de Lingüística Aplicada 13 Número especial-Actas del Congreso (2013): 1-17.
"Approaches to grammar instruction in teaching materials: A study in current L2-beginning-level Spanish textbooks." Hispania 94.1 (2011): 155-170.
"Four L2 learning objectives to guide podcast design." In Podcasting and Mobile Assisted Language Learning: Applications and Outcomes. Edited by Facer, R. & Abdous, M., Hershey, New York: Global, 2011.
"Re-examining the role of explicit information in processing instruction." Studies in Second Language Acquisition 30 (2008): 277-305.
"Persistence in foreign language study: An investigation on learners' beliefs." In AAUSC 2007 Volume From Thought to Action: Exploring Beliefs and Outcomes in the Foreign Language Program, edited by J. Siskin, 135-154. Boston: Thompson Heinle, 2008.
"The role of interaction in input enhancement." Coauthored with Williams, J. In Assessing the impact of input enhancement in Second Language Education, edited by C. Gascoigne, 107-127. Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press, 2005.
"How much grammar acquisition occurs while studying abroad?: A more realistic picture. Residence Abroad, Social Networks and Second Language Learning." Southampton, UK. April 10-12, 2013.
"Técnicas de enseñanza basadas en input para la adquisición de la gramática en la sala de clase." Workshop. Primer Congreso Internacional Nebrija en Lingüística Aplicada a la Enseñanza de Lenguas. Madrid, Spain. September 28-30, 2012.
"Linguistic competence of Spanish heritage learners: What does the research suggest?" The role of language, literature, and culture in the teaching of Mexicans in the US and Mexico; Roundtable, American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP), San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2012.
"Four learning objectives to guide podcast design." Computed-Assisted Language Instruction Consortium (CALICO), Victoria, BC, Canada, 2011.
"Processing Instruction and transfer-of-training effects: A quantitative and qualitative study in the acquisition of two Spanish forms." American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL), Chicago, Illinois, 2011.
"Improving oral language development through constructive repetition tasks in the classroom." Let's talk: methods for teaching/improving conversation in the second language, Roundtable, Northeastern Modern Language Association (NeMLA), Quebec, Montreal, 2010.
"Approaches to grammar instruction in Spanish textbooks." American Association for Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP), Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2009.
"Podcast production to enhance language learning and complement teaching materials." American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), Orlando, Florida, 2008.
"The use of podcasts to integrate language and culture in L2 teaching." Culture and Language across the Curriculum (CLAC) conference, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 2008.
"Intention to continue or to not continue FL study: An investigation on learners' beliefs." International Association for Applied Linguistics (AILA) International Conference, Essen, Germany, 2008.
"Exploring focus on form approaches in teaching materials: A study on current L2 Spanish textbooks." Second Language Research Forum (SLRF) Annual Conference, Urbana, Illinois, 2007.
What Students Say
"Claudia makes learning Spanish fun and engaging. Every class is filled with writing and speaking activities in groups and with partners, so that we learn the language in as realistic of a way as possible, and to keep us interested the entire period. Claudia is always very helpful inside and outside of class, and is very excited about exploring the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world. In my class, she was conducting research to find the best way for students to learn a new language. She does everything she can to help us succeed."
-Jill Krippel, Mathematics and Studio Art Major
"Between Professor Fernandez's spunk, the content of the course, and the various forms of homework and testing she provides, her classes are the perfect mix of challenging and fun. By using personal stories of her travels and experiences, she creates a comfortable, open environment in the class. She also understands very well the fear of having to speak an unfamiliar language, but challenges us to break out of our comfort zone in using Spanish. With that challenge, however, she is always available when we need help, whether inside or outside of class."
-Gabrielle Charles, Economics Major and Anthropology and Sociology Minor
"It is not difficult for students to develop close connections with world language faculty members at Knox. Claudia is no exception. With English being her second language and most of her students learning Spanish as their second language, nearly every class is a communal discovery of each other's language and culture. Claudia's candid nature and high level of engagement with her students creates a solid foundation for and energizes those seeking to be familiar with the Spanish language and the multiple cultures that support it."
-David Wawzenek, Elementary Education Major