Spanish Language Learning Outcomes

The outcomes for courses at the 100-level are articulated through specific references to the ACTFL levels. Our courses at the 200-level seek to move students beyond simple sentence comprehension and formation to producing language in paragraphs and understanding longer, more complex culturally authentic writing to prepare them for further academic study.

Our courses at the 300-level are divided into two groups. The first is made up of Spanish 305 and Spanish 315 where we teach students to critically use the language they are learning – both in terms of oral production (phonetics and pronunciation) and written production (grammar and composition). Emphasis is placed on developing the skills to allow the student produce language beyond the ACTFL intermediate level (extensive narration in the past, and articulating and defending an opinion, for example).

The second group of 300-level courses is thematically more diversified. These courses are divided into three types: 1. courses which give a panorama of history and culture where students learn more specialized vocabulary (historical, political, and literary), [Spanish 325: Civilization and Culture of Spain; Spanish 335: Spanish American Civilization I; Spanish 345: Spanish American Civilization II]; 2. courses which focus on important events or themes in Spanish and Latin American history and culture (for instance, the Spanish Civil War, the Cuban Revolution, The Dirty War), in which students read authentic materials of longer extension and more complex linguistic structure, and develop a sense of the abstract categories used to describe intellectual and cultural history [Spanish 355: Special Topics in Spanish Peninsular Culture; Spanish 365: Special Topics in Latin American Culture]; and 3. courses which focus on a specific narrative genre of cultural production in order for students to increase their ability to situate texts within an historical/cultural context, and to be able to speak about events in the past (narration) and their consequences (comparison, speculation) [Spanish 375: Latin American Short Story; Spanish 385: Hispanic Cinema].

In the 400 and 500-level courses, the students read, write, and speak at the highest levels. Whereas in the 300-level courses students acquire and employ basic conceptual knowledge, at the 400-and 500-level they are asked to employ specific modes of cultural analyses. They are exposed to a more specialized type of texts and vocabulary and are required to produce more elaborate analysis, orally and in written form. [SPAN 425: Latin American Women’s Literature, SPAN 405: Translating Language and Culture, and SPAN 485: Hispanic Film: From Text to Screen]. A key component of these courses is the research training they receive in preparation for their senior research project.