Perhaps you know what the title of your book means from your previous experiences with Spanish. That is a great start! As you begin the equivalent of a second semester Spanish course with these materials, some of you might think about how long it has been since you studied Spanish while others may come to the class with some background knowledge. We want you to know this book has been designed with many types of learners in mind. Our goals were to address the need for students to achieve the ability to communicate in written and spoken form. We sought to address a common statement by students that may have previous experiences, be they from secondary school or another college that say, “I have studied Spanish for years and don’t know how to speak or write it”. We also sought to present a reasonable alternative to the expensive textbooks and online packages that don’t seem to be practical or relevant. We sought to enhance second language learning by creating our own materials that take a communicative approach based upon the skills that we deem most useful and that will enable our students to confidently express themselves in Spanish.
That being said, this new approach may be very different from what you are used to seeing in the classroom. Instead of giving you lectures in class and then homework, you will study the concepts at home using this book, along with online materials that we have developed. In the classroom we will complete exercises, discussions and projects that help you practice the concepts that you studied at home, using the target language the whole time that you are in class. In other words, we are making our Spanish class a lab. Imagine a typical Chemistry or Biology lab, the student is expected to master the scientific concepts outside of class, the labs are all about practicing and applying concepts. In the same way, your Spanish class will not be a passive experience but rather an active learning environment. Some of the sections invoking active learning are:
Practiquemos → Let’s practice.
- Comprendamos → Let’s understand.
- Escuchemos → Let’s listen.
- Veamos → Let’s see
- Charlemos → Let’s chat.
- Añadamos o Agreguemos → Let’s add (to your knowledge while practicing what you have learned).
Pre-reading the materials, filling in scaffolded notes and stepping into the practices with some background allows you to have an idea of themes to make the classroom experience richer and more rewarding. As in any skill, you take ownership of learning by practicing and, in this case, doing the required readings, learning the vocabulary and studying the online assignments before each class. If you don’t come prepared to class, you will not be successful. By coming to class with a base upon which to build you will be able to understand the in-class usage and practices better, ultimately making it possible to converse with other students in Spanish. As you work through the material at home, you should take detailed notes based upon the videos, readings and other assigned material. In class, you will use your notes to enable you to participate in conversations and exercises in Spanish. While the instructor will answer questions on content, the focus of the class will be to explain grammar implicitly through examples of the use of vocabulary and grammar in daily speech so that you can begin building on your proficiency in Spanish.
Guidelines for success:
Using your book as a notebook in which you will supplement the explanations with your own notes.
Viewing the videos and PowerPoint presentations at home. These will be indicated with the icon images as seen in the left margin to highlight the fact that you must access the online platform to view them and write the information that is required in your book.
The flipped classroom structure includes:
- Processing the information you noted in exercises that are done in the book or to be handed in separately in the following class or posted to the learning management system (LMS).
- Applying the content in discussions in the target language in class in pairs, small groups or individually with the instructor. In order to participate actively in the class, you must come prepared knowing the concepts.
- Being prepared for daily evaluations either orally or written for the application of the concepts to achieve oral and written proficiency.
A typical class may include:
- An oral vocabulary and grammar review via questions and answers with partners.
- Flashcard or word list review to encourage vocabulary recall.
- Daily instructor checks of books to ensure completion of notes based on online component review.
- Partner comparison of homework to determine where concept questions may need clarification.
- Instructor and student led explanations of areas needing clarification.
- A five minute assessment as part of an evaluation grade.
- Dialogues and readings in Spanish.
- Cultural connections via news and cultural norm studies.
Ultimately, the goal for all language learners is to develop a functional use of another language. The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) divides functional use into the following categories:
- Interpersonal Communication,
- Presentational Speaking,
- Presentational Writing,
- Interpretive Listening
- Interpretive Reading.
“Simply being able to understand, cognitively, the perspective of another person or group of people is not sufficient for competence. Interpersonal skills are the second most important factor to achieving a mission in another culture. It seemed from our insight into the interviews that the successful attitude in cross-cultural missions combines tolerance for ambiguity with patience, self-regulation, flexibility, and self-monitoring.”
Language programs such as those at SUNY Geneseo together with organizations like ACTFL know the importance of cultural studies through language learning. “If education is a means to prepare students for the complicated world they inhabit, then the educational system cannot deprive students of a general education in the area of foreign language. The value of such an education not only lies in job preparation but also in developing an understanding of other people and cultures.”
Through Yo puedo 2 you will develop skills in the above categories, along with learning how to be a global citizen. In order to assess what you are learning—including your strengths and weaknesses—we follow a series of Can-Do statements created by ACTFL to help you become a more reflective learner. Yo puedo 2 is structured with clear objectives at the beginning of each unit. These objectives support the Can-Do statements that are summarized in a checklist format at the end of each unit. We have highlighted specific practical skills we want our students to learn and to be able to demonstrate. Take time at the end of the unit to reflect on how well you have achieved the goals noted in the Can-Do statements. Are there areas where you can maximize your language skills via additional practice of concepts covered?
Yo puedo 2 includes strategies which will help you increase your ability to sustain written and oral skills in the target language beyond the basics that were taught in a first semester or equivalent courses. We will highlight proactive skills to help students with new words and sequencing ideas, while also providing tips on avoiding common errors in Spanish. The vocabulary is presented in small groups (with a master list at the end of each chapter) that is interwoven with grammatical concepts. Grammar is presented in brief explanations with a balance of implicit (functional use) and explicit (grammar explanations) approaches. Knowledge of the cultural rules governing communication among the Spanish-speaking world is a key factor to success in establishing positive cross-cultural relationships. Cultural awareness goes beyond learning discrete cultural points. It may be addressed through proper pronunciation (phonetics and phonology) or activities where you read about the lives of Spanish speakers.
Our objective in Yo puedo 2 is that you will be able to speak Spanish while conducting yourself in a culturally appropriate manner. We would like to offer you the Spanish Language as an instrument that gives you the opportunity to communicate and be part of the global world.
We are excited to help you on your journey to learn Spanish so…
¡Comencemos! Let’s begin