Welcome to our new Faculty member, Davinia Pastor Pastor, Visiting Lecturer of Hispanic Studies with a specialization in linguistics and second language acquisition. Among her research interests are the interaction between language and society and the teaching of Spanish language through cultural production.
Can you tell us a little about where you come from and how you are adjusting to Williamsburg?
I am from a city called Sant Vicent del Raspeig (Alicante, Spain). There I studied my BA in English Studies and my MA in Teaching English as a foreign language. At the University of Barcelona (Spain), I did a second MA on Applied Linguistics and Language Acquisition in Multilingual Contexts.
In relation to my international experience, I decided that I needed to explore what was happening outside Spain and I moved to Penn State University (USA) where I worked as a Spanish teaching assistant and I did graduate studies in Hispanic Linguistics. I also worked in Aberdeenshire (Scotland) as a Spanish language assistant. Most recently, I worked in Madrid (Spain) at the Ministry of Education from the Government of Spain at the Department of Foreign Languages.
So, as you can see, for the last couple of years, I have been in different places all around the world and that is what I am going to try to transmit to my students: you need to live abroad, to go away from your comfort zone so as to discover a new whole world of opportunities, people, and different ways of understanding the world.
How your first few weeks have been at William & Mary?
I think the word that summarizes my first weeks is “chaos”. I moved from Alicante (Spain) to Williamsburg a couple of days before the classes started, so I was just running around the campus trying to get everything done on time. Despite this, now that I am in my fourth week, I think I am starting to feel more like at home and trying to enjoy every step of this crazy adventure.
What are you teaching this year?
During the Fall 2018, I am teaching three different courses: Elementary Spanish (HISP 102), Combined Beginning Spanish (HISP 103) and Cross-Cultural Perspectives (HISP 207). In Spring 2019, I am going to be teaching two courses of Intermediate Spanish (HISP 203) and Cross-Cultural Perspectives (HISP 207) again.
What is the focus of your research? What projects are you working on right now?
During the last 5 years, the main focus of my research was language attitudes (minority vs. majority languages) and bilingual/plurilingual educational systems in the Valencian Community (Spain). So, as you can imagine, all the aspects of the interrelation between language, society, and culture are important for my research
Any advice or words of wisdom for students starting Spanish this semester?
Learning a foreign language is a long adventure that entails investing a lot of time. But as I said, it is an “adventure”. A language is not just a system to transmit ideas but also a way of looking and understanding the world that is around us. A language is history, folklore, media, culture, expressions, feelings and a long etcetera. So to those of you thinking about starting to learn Spanish, I would say “go ahead because it is going to be an amazing experience that would make you see your native language and world in a different way”.
If you could teach your “dream course,” what would that look like?
When I think about this question, two possible courses come up to my mind. The first one would be based on the importance of language attitudes to learn and to speak a foreign/native language and how different elements affect those language attitudes. The second dream course would be based on teaching Spanish culture from Spain through TV shows, movies, music and pieces of news.