Two Morehead State alumni, Dr. Chris (16) and Dr. Emmanuel (11) Anama-Green, saw a need to make the curriculum in their Spanish classes more relatable to their students at Harlan County High School. So, the two put their heads together to create a textbook designed specifically for students in rural areas.
The textbook, “Viajes desde Appalachia,” is a level one book written for students who are just beginning to learn Spanish. The book makes references to several locations in Harlan County and Eastern Kentucky.
Emmanuel, a native of Owsley County who lived in Ecuador for two years doing missionary work, said he saw many similarities in culture between the parts of Ecuador where he served and his hometown. He said that’s when the idea came to him to create a Spanish text specifically for rural students.
“Many of the textbooks and curriculum that we previewed often have a focus toward metropolitan areas. As an Eastern Kentucky native, having lived in the rural areas of Ecuador, I felt it was important that our students see connections between the culture that they were learning about and their own culture,” he said.
Emmanuel and Chris have traveled extensively to Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Colombia, and included photos from their travels in the textbook. Chris, who primarily teaches Spanish I, took the lead on the book.
“Because I have primarily been able to focus on teaching beginners, I have created and accumulated a lot of resources over the years that are ideal for level one students. However, we both contributed content, photography and editing time,” Chris said.
The two are currently working on a Spanish II textbook, this time with Emmanuel taking the lead. The book will build on the first book’s content, with state and national standards for best practices world languages instruction being used in its development.
They expect the book to be available for classroom use in fall 2022.
“As with the Spanish I textbook, the Spanish II textbook will focus on what students ‘can do’ with the language, instead of simply studying grammatical points,” Emmanuel said. Both Chris and Emmanuel earned their Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), Spanish P-12, degrees from MSU, and said what they learned here has shaped their careers as educators.
“MSU truly helped me to mature as a young adult. My professors in my undergrad helped me to deal with challenges and develop an appreciation for Spanish and world languages in general,” Emmanuel said. “The experiences that I had in my undergraduate and graduate degrees at Morehead helped me grow as an individual and be successful in life.”
“The MAT program at MSU was very practical. While some coursework focused on theory, the majority of my time in the program was spent learning and practicing different teaching methodologies,” Chris said. “Because of this, I felt very prepared and supported when I started teaching Spanish.”
To learn more about MSU’s MAT programs, visit www.moreheadstate.edu/study/mat.