American Space Madrid: Reaching Out and Looking Forward

Throughout the fall at the International Institute, the American Space Madrid has been on the go. We have spent 45 hours in public schools and “concertados” throughout the Comunidad de Madrid, provided workshops in eight public libraries, participated in two international college fairs, and attended South Summit, a leading European startup conference showcasing innovation and talent in Spain and throughout the world. We are making connections, building community, and finding ways to make contact with the public both within and beyond the space—reaching out and looking forward.

Reaching Out

In the spirit of the 125th anniversary of the International Institute and in line with our goal of making the Institute a key site for innovative teacher training and professional learning, this fall the American Space Madrid kicked off the second phase of our ongoing collaboration with the Comunidad de Madrid, providing on-site coaching for teachers in 15 bilingual schools throughout the city. This project, created in tandem with the Comunidad, not only serves as a bridge between the International Institute and the bilingual schools network in Madrid, but also provides a model for schools of a program promoting both active pedagogy and North American English. The project encourages teachers to step away from more traditional teaching methods and implement new learning with the support of an instructional guide and coach. Throughout the coaching cycle, teachers and students take an active role in the classroom, participate in collaborative learning experiences, and engage in facilitated student discussion protocols aimed to promote and enhance critical thinking skills and increase English language acquisition.

Looking Forward

The SpeakBetter project, Increasing Student Discourse in the English Language Learning Classroom, began in the summer of 2017 and uses a combination of classroom instruction and on-site coaching to build capacity across the network of bilingual schools in Madrid. The third phase of the project will begin in summer 2018 with an extensive menu of course offerings and coaching cycles.

Technovation: Girls for a Change

The concept of community plays an integral role not only in the learning process, but also in the creation of an environment where students, teachers, and stakeholders work together to move toward the creation and implementation of a shared mission and vision. That said, focused work on community building does not only take place in schools. At the American Space Madrid and the International Institute, we are collaborating across our network to ensure that we are not only driving a common, shared vision that lifts up the importance of community, but we are also sharing this message in practice with our participants and audience through programming, events, and, most importantly, our relationships with parents, families, and community members.

On Saturday, December 2, more than 230 members of the American Space Madrid community came together to welcome special guest Katie Morton, Technovation Challenge Partnership Manager at the global non-profit Iridescent. Pilar Piñón, the Executive Director of the International Institute, welcomed and greeted the guests, connecting the event with the Institute’s history and mission and linking our sigue en pág.8 present community of girls and women to the girls and women of the Institute’s past—reaching out and looking forward.

The Technovation Challenge, the non-profit’s global technology entrepreneurship program for girls, encourages participants to identify a problem or issue in their community and create a mobile app solution. Last year, more than 50 girls participated in the challenge at the American Space Madrid, and 85 girls have signed up for the upcoming season. Katie Morton came to Madrid to discuss the Technovation Challenge with families and girls, and to begin an implementation strategy to expand the Technovation network throughout Spain, kicking off the project at the American Space Madrid.

Following Morton’s presentation to the American Space Madrid community, representatives from 14 regions in Spain came together at the International Institute to participate in a full-day training, focusing on how to become Team Leads for the Technovation Challenge in their regions and cities throughout Spain. In collaboration with US Embassy Madrid, American Space Madrid will be serving as one of the activity hubs this spring for the Technovation Challenge in Spain, with the worldwide contest kicking off in January 2018.

by Laura Turner, ASM Director

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