SP 403 - Spanish Language in Context: Emerging Competent Abroad III

The main objective of these Spanish Language courses is to develop the students' communicative competence, taking advantage of the linguistic immersion they experience in Spain. These courses meet their needs from a holistic point of view, considering the language as a tool to communicate with other people in different communicative situations, to express themselves in various media and to develop as intercultural speakers.

Therefore, these courses focus not only on grammar, but also on the use of the Spanish language. Although students will reinforce, deepen and increase their grammatical knowledge of Spanish (from a cognitive point of view), the aim of these courses is to put into practice all their knowledge of Spanish in communication situations where students are able to develop their skills (oral and written expression and interaction as well as oral and written comprehension), the necessary linguistic functions and conversational strategies to communicate in different spheres and situations, and their autonomy as learners and speakers of Spanish. All of this will be achieved by using the previous level and the needs of the students as a starting point to increase their communicative competence and improve their command of Spanish.

For this reason, the objective of these courses is to insist on the active use of the language, which is considered a tool and not a content to be memorized.

The method of work, inside and outside the classroom, will focus on the active use of the language, working in pairs and groups, although there will also be time for students to work individually on certain content.

As students take these courses experiencing a linguistic immersion in Spain, it is their responsibility to be involved in the development of the course inside and outside the classroom. Therefore, both the process and the final product are evaluated, using different evaluation tools: active participation in class activities, written assignments, research project (cultural and/or linguistic) outside the classroom, etc. 

Although the programs of these courses have been established in advance, they will be adapted as much as possible to the needs of the students, their characteristics and learning pace. On the other hand, as students usually stay one semester at IES Abroad Salamanca, some content could be covered in all language courses in order to meet the students' communicative needs and language level.

Research has shown that studying abroad can improve all aspects of language skills. However, one of the most important overall conclusions of this research is that studying abroad is most beneficial for the development of social interaction skills. Students who go abroad can learn to do things with words, such as request, apologize, or offer praise, and they can also learn to interpret situations that require such speech acts in the same way that native speakers do. In short and logically, study abroad has been shown to improve aspects of communicative competence that are the most difficult to foster in the classroom.

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