Intermediate Spanish II
I – COURSE DESCRIPTION – Winter 2013
This semester, we will continue to build a solid grammatical foundation in Spanish (grammar is the key to the way any language works), and to reinforce the four basic skills—listening, speaking, reading, and writing—while taking more and more opportunities for conversation and culture. For this purpose, we will now use the intermediate text – Interacciones (fifth edition). At the beginning, this book will provide a good review of the basics we have covered in Mlg 105 & 106, while affording you more and more opportunities to use the language freely and spontaneously. As we proceed, we will encounter—but at another rung of the spiral—some concepts in grammar that were not covered yet last semester. In Mlg 206, we will finish the process and start reading Latin American short stories by excellent authors like Rosario Ferré, Carlos Fuentes, Julio Cortázar, etc. (see syllabus for Mlg 206).
1 – I have reserved the Friday session for compositions, reports, dictations, sentences on the board (which everybody likes and recommended in the student opinion surveys), and slides. We will try to use this time judiciously and profitably.
2 – At midterm, I hope to have a Power Point presentation on Andalucía and Granada. Before Thanksgiving, we will study together, in class, the script of a superb Peruvian movie La Muralla Verde. There again, we will read, translate, discuss, etc. Then, you will have the pleasure of seeing a movie, all in Spanish, without subtitles . . . a neat experience! If the class does well, and we accomplish what we set out to do, I might also show you another all-Spanish movie at the very end of the semester.
3 – For the day-to-day run of the class, I am going to ask you to have a written list of questions ready (find some neat, original, questions to ask!), so that we can always start the class with a rapid-fire exchange of questions and answers, and everyday conversation. Always prepare four pages ahead in the text for the next class. If you work hard, and are well prepared for class (so we do not waste any time), we should be able to do most of these activities.
The syllabus I am giving you is not set in stone. It is meant to give you an idea of the day-to-day activities in the intermediate language class. This class is usually smaller, so I am quite open to suggestions (so, do not hesitate to voice your opinions!) and can exercise much flexibility to meet the needs of this particular group of students, and its level: each language class is unique!
II – ATTENDANCE AND PARTICIPATION
As you already know, attendance is crucial in a language class. A lot—much more than appears on the surface—is accomplished in a one-hour class. If you miss a couple of classes, you might find yourself painfully behind. . . so, be there! If you must miss a class, let me know, and let us make sure you keep right on target.
III – GRADING (quizzes, compositions, etc.)
Your final grade for the course will be the average of:
1 – At least five quizzes. Each will count for two. Remember that my quizzes are quite comprehensive.
2 – At least five compositions. Each will count for one.
As in all my classes, and especially for a language class, attendance and participation play an important part in the final grade, especially in borderline cases. For example, if you have a 89.35 at the end of the semester (a B+), and your attendance and participation have been excellent, I will give you the fraction of the point needed to bring your grade to a 90: an A- . If they have been average, I will leave you where you are: a B+. If you have cut a lot of classes, your final grade will be affected negatively.
IV – THE LANGUAGE EXPERIENCE
The Spanish class is only a part of the whole language experience. There are many other ways of learning the language, and reinforcing the knowledge acquired in class, that you should take into account:
1 – The Language Lab: With Interacciones, and as part of the “package” I negotiated with the company, you should receive the printed lab workbook designed to give drills and practice exercises on the material covered in the chapter. If you do your lab exercises dutifully, you will be surprised at the ease with which some concepts settle in. You have four hours of class per week: the fifth weekly hour should always be lab practice.
2 – The Tutor: during the first week of the semester, you will be introduced to your tutor—always a native speaker—and we will determine the optimum hours in the week (“fixed” and “floating”) when you can consult the tutor for a variety of services (drills, exercises, vocabulary building . . . but more importantly: conversation!). USE YOUR TUTOR! Your native-speaker tutor is here to serve your needs: take advantage of the opportunity!
3 – The Hispanic Students on Campus: There is always a small group of Hispanic students on campus. Seek them out, talk to them, make friends with them . . . you will be able to improve on your conversation skills, and will learn lots of neat things from a cross-cultural perspective.
4 – Television: While Spanish viewing is restricted in the north land, try to access as much as you can Spanish movies, cultural programs, news reports, the incredible telenovelas for which Mexico and Venezuela are becoming world-famous, and which these countries are exporting all over the planet (the Latino equivalent of Coca-Cola!), etc. Watching TV is a fabulous way of learning a language! You can even watch one of your favorite movies in Spanish by using the language option on the DVDs.
5 – Programs Abroad: To learn a foreign language, there is nothing better than total immersion in a determinate linguistic community. Outside my office, I have shelves with academic programs abroad (for a summer, a semester, or a whole year) organized by many universities in the nation. Feel free to come and browse at your convenience. I also can recommend other types of programs in Central and South America.
6 – Internet: You can do wonderful things in Spanish on Internet: read Spanish newspapers, find lyrics for a favorite song: discover fabulous recipes for “tapas”, “salsas”, etc., access AmeriSpan (an organization which has language programs all over Mexico, Central America, and South America), check out the Peace Corps and many other interesting sites . . . the sky is the limit!
7 – The Library: The Dexter library receives Américas, a lovely magazine in Spanish with beautiful photographs of the lands and peoples of the Latin American continent. Stop by, leaf through it, and enjoy. It also receives Transitions Abroad, a magazine which is a treasure trove of connections for seasonal jobs, work opportunities, and cheap lodging all over the world.
In short, I am trying to set up for you a network of experiences which will complement and reinforce the basic Spanish language classroom. It is up to you to avail yourself of some, or all, of the services put at your disposal. What I can guarantee you is that the proverbial phrase “the more you put in, the more you get out” is always true—especially in languages!
(¡Ahora bien! Ojalá que todos estos detalles les ayuden en su experiencia lingüistica. Estoy a sus ordenes si tengan preguntas sobre cualquier cosa. Qué les vaya bien a todos. ¡Hasta luego!
Class meets from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm