With their conversational skills at the ready, Spanish students have a linguistic passport to explore almost two dozen countries and territories that conduct life in Spanish. All Spanish classes incorporate activities that draw on this wealth of cultural and linguistic variety. Spanish is learned via immersion through conversing, problem solving, debating, speech making, acting, and composing. After completing the third year of Spanish, students are ready to take advanced seminars.
Spanish l, II, and III
In Spanish I and II, students are encouraged to communicate orally and, from the beginning, are required to use the language in class. The primary textbooks, Diverso I, II, and B offer an innovative, student-centered approach that develops language skills and emphasizes cultural competency. Communication skills, grammar, and vocabulary are integrated into a variety of activities that include small-group projects, skits, presentations, videos, songs, and conversations. The text is supplemented with music, film, and internet clips. The theme of Spanish III is “creativity and imagination.” Activities include writing poems and stories, and reading, writing, and presenting a short play based on Sandra Cisneros’s La Casa en Mango Street. Course topics include professions, relationships, food, science, technology, the environment, and human rights. Beyond the textbook, course materials include films, articles, music, podcasts, and local cultural events.
Spanish IV-V: Culture, History, and Life in the Hispanic World
This seminar focuses on the history, society, and traditions of places in the Hispanic world, such as Peru’s Machu Picchu, México’s Tenochtitlán, Spain’s Camino de Santiago, and Havana’s seafront. Class discussions, papers, and oral presentations are based on Spanish and Latin American television, films, radio programs, daily news, literature, and music. By examining how a people’s history, identity, and sense of place is expressed through art, music, and celebrations, students gain a deeper understanding of indigenous, Caribbean, and Spanish communities. Students build skills in comprehension, oral and written communication, and critical thinking while deepening their understanding of the Hispanic world.
Spanish IV-V: Black & Indigenous Identities in Latin America
This seminar considers Latin American identity from the perspective of Afrodescendent and indigenous people through the ages, beginning with the creation story of the Maya people. Students explore indigenous worldviews, compare indigenous accounts of the arrival of Europeans to Columbus’ diary, and interrogate how indigenous people resist colonization today. Students learn how Afro-Latine identity has been shaped by the legacy of enslavement and abolition and study Afrodescendent leaders and artists working in multiple genres. The course looks at historical and contemporary facets of “Hispanic” identity and transculturation in the Spanish-speaking world of the Americas. A final project examines how identity is constructed in bilingual children’s books.