Second Symposium-Teaching Spanish in Texas
for faculty from area colleges and universities
The Interface of Curricular Structures and Administrative Organization of Spanish Language Programs
Saturday – May 11, 2013
9 AM to 3 PM
CLA (College of Liberal Arts Bldg.) Glickman 1.302
BACKGROUND: Over the years we have noticed that, despite the geographical proximity among our institutions, we tend to work in relative isolation with little information shared across our programs.
OBJETIVE: To achieve the benefits of cooperation and collaboration among institutions and faculty, we have started a series of symposia to share information about accomplishments and challenges, best practices, new ideas and projects, and to receive valuable peer feedback from other participants. In essence, we wish to create a collegial “meeting of the minds” in which we can share and learn from each other.
PARTICIPATION: If you are planning to attend, please send an RSVP to Delia Montesinos firstname.lastname@example.org by May 3, 2013.
We will be providing breakfast, lunch and coffee breaks to all participants to encourage further discussion and social interaction.
PROGRAM: There will be three presentations with ample time for discussion and questions during and after the talks (see next page for a description of each presentation).
A Spanish High Beginners Intensive course: Moving up
University of Houston
This presentation showcases the organization of a Spanish High Beginners course designed to address the wide diversity of incoming college students in our Spanish Program. The course design was based on the concept of differentiated instruction, and is focused on taking advantage of particular strengths that this diverse student population brings to the classroom to enable them to move up in the proficiency scale in an efficient and effective manner. The presentation includes a general description of learners’ profiles, enrollment procedures, course content, assignments and assessments, and ends with a short presentation of the class exit survey’s results and students’ comments.
To have or not to have a hybrid: That is the question
María Irene Moyna, Bertín Ortega, Patricia Timmons
Texas A & M University
In this presentation we report on the adoption and partial abandonment of a hybrid first year Spanish program at Texas A&M (2005-2011) intended to increase teaching capacity without an increase in staffing. The original two-semester sequence had four contact hours with the instructor and one lab period. In the hybrid courses, instructors had two contact hours with students, and two hours of work done with the online workbook Quia. This allowed instructors to teach two sections in the time they formerly taught one. The results were not optimal: although there were no obvious differences in student performance, there was a significant drop in student satisfaction with the course overall, attributed at the time to issues with the online platform. There were also concerns from the administration about the increase in workload to graduate student instructors. In 2011, the format was modified resulting in a distribution of 3 contact hours, 1 hour of online work, and 1 hour of lab. Considering input from several faculty involved in the program, we make suggestions for implementation of hybrid programs that both meets financial institutional demands and academic standards of pedagogical practice.
An analytic critical-thinking approach to Spanish college-level teaching: Have the cake and eat it too
M. Rafael Salaberry
University of Texas-Austin
This presentation describes the academic objectives, curricular organization and methodological approach of the Spanish Language Program at University of Texas-Austin. Over the last four years, the Spanish Language Program has incorporated an analytic, critical thinking approach to the traditional instrumental approach of the previous program. Some significant changes brought up by this restructuring process are: the expansion of required credits to satisfy the language requirement (from 16 to 18 credit hours), the expansion of the analysis of sociolinguistic variables that affect language use (e.g., inclusion of a broad view of Spanish varieties), the reorganization of class scheduling (3 times a week) and length of class sessions (2 hours each), the incorporation of a Tutoring Center to support academic demands, the expansion of the assessment of teaching practices beyond the use of simply students’ evaluations, etc.