SP 201I - Spanish Language in Context: Novice Abroad I
The goal of these Spanish courses is to help students develop their communicative competence, taking advantage of their linguistic immersion in Spain. These courses meet students’ everyday needs from a holistic point of view, considering language as a tool to communicate with other people in various communicative contexts, to express themselves in diverse means of communication, and to develop as intercultural speakers.
Therefore, these courses do not only focus on grammar but also on the use of Spanish. Although students will reinforce, deepen and broaden their knowledge of Spanish grammar (from a cognitive point of view), the purpose of these courses is to put into practice all their knowledge of Spanish in communicative situations where students are able to develop their skills (speaking, writing, listening and reading) and acquire the necessary linguistic functions and conversation strategies to communicate in diverse contexts, with the purpose of gaining autonomy as students and speakers of Spanish. All this will be achieved by taking students’ needs as a starting point in order to expand their communicative competence and improve their command of Spanish.
For this reason, the goal of these courses is to insist on the active use of the language, considered as a tool and not as contents to be memorized.
The method of presentation, inside and outside the classroom, will focus on the active use of the language, working in pairs and in groups, but also individually for certain contents.
Since students attending these courses experience a linguistic immersion in Spain, getting involved in the development of the course inside and outside the classroom is their responsibility. For this reason, both the process and the final product are evaluated, using different assessment tools: active participation in class activities, written assignments, (cultural and/or linguistic) research paper outside the classroom, etc.
Although these course syllabi have been pre-established, they will be adjusted to students’ needs, characteristics and learning pace as far as possible. Likewise, since students tend to stay one semester in IES Abroad Salamanca, some contents might be covered in every Spanish course in order to meet students’ communication needs as well as their level of language.
Research has demonstrated that study abroad can enhance every aspect of language ability. One of the most important general findings of this research is, however, that study abroad is most beneficial for the development of abilities related to social interaction. Students who go abroad can learn to do things with words, such as requesting, apologizing, or offering compliments, and they may also learn to interpret situations calling on such speech acts in ways that local people do... In short, and logically, study abroad has been shown to enhance the aspects of communicative competence that are most difficult to foster in classroom settings.