The UMass Dartmouth Portuguese Department, Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives, and School of Education in the UMass Dartmouth College of Arts & Sciences hosted a delegation of graduate Education students from the University of the Azores. The students were joined by their instructor Graça Castanha and the poet Manuela Bulcão. They offered a workshop entitled, “Teaching Portuguese through Universal Design for Learning and Happiness”. The event, which took place on Friday, 21 February 2020 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., was held at the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives.
The workshop aimed at presenting two academic projects. The first project was “The People’s Right to Happiness, a UN proposal.” Castanha presented the proposal that these same students had made earlier in the week at the United Nations in New York. There they argued that Happiness should be added to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Castanha then made the connection between Happiness and Education, which is already designated as a Universal Human Right.
The students then went on to present the second academic project, “Universal Design for Learning: Teaching Portuguese Worldwide”. They spoke convincingly of the need to design courses that were both engaging and allowed for different learning styles. They demonstrated this technique in a variety of ways, the most memorable being engaging the audience of students, faculty and community members in the singing of “Chamarrita”.
“I think this has been a wonderful opportunity for the students. They had the unique occasion to travel to New York to make a proposal to the United Nations. In the same trip, they then had the chance to present their work to their student counterparts at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. This kind of meaningful dialogue is important for both the students and the institutions and should be welcomed,” said Shelley Pires, Consul of Portugal in New Bedford.