Peer Review of Teaching Project

 

Date of this Version

2015

Document Type

Portfolio

Comments

Course portfolio developed as part of the UNL Peer Review of Teaching Project (peerreview.unl.edu)

Copyright (c) 2015 Kelly Kingsbury Brunetto

Abstract

During Spring 2015 I undertook a curricular revision of UNL's fourth-semester Spanish course (SPAN202) with the objective of improving the materials to help the course better achieve its stated goal of moving students "away from knowledge about the language and expertise in using isolated skills into a practical and fluid use of the language in which [they] synthesize [their] isolated skills." As it existed at the time, in theory SPAN202 focuses on synthesis and helping students negotiate higher levels of discourse, but in practice it tended to get bogged down in a comprehensive grammar review. In reality, some grammar topics are much higher-frequency than others and much more important for intermediate students to master. The curricular revision was guided by the decision to emphasize two topics, preterite/imperfect contrast and the subjunctive, throughout the course and reduce or eliminate some of the lower-frequency forms. By reducing the quantity of topics studied and increasing the conceptual depth, the curricular revision aims to move students toward greater grammatical proficiency. Additionally, by rearranging the content into a more chronological order, the course now builds in a focus on historico-cultural context that lends continuity and fosters a more cohesive understanding of the impact Spanish-speaking peoples have had on the wider world.