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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Donally S Kennedy
SPAN 121
Seattle Campus

Spanish Immersion

Covers the equivalent of elementary Spanish (SPAN 101). Uses an alternative "planned immersion" method with video as the central medium of presentation. First in a sequence of three. Prerequisite: no previous Spanish study, or score of 0-15 on SP100A placement test if Spanish is language of admission. Cannot be taken for credit if SPAN 101 already taken.

Class description

SPAN 121 is the first course of a three-quarter elementary Spanish class. It follows an alternative method designed to encourage students to learn Spanish in its cultural context. Through the use of video as the central medium of presentation, students experience the language as it occurs in real-life situations and settings throughout the Spanish-speaking world. This communicative method follows the premise that the four language skills are most effectively developed when acquired in a specific order: listening, speaking, reading, writing. We will be using Destinos, an audiovisual method based on a soap opera. There are a total of 52 episodes in the series. In Spanish 121, we will cover episodes 1-15 of the series which will introduce number and gender of nouns and adjectives, regular and irregular verb conjugations of the present and preterite tenses, the contrasts between ser and estar, and between saber and conocer, the object pronouns, reflexive verbs vs. transitive verbs, as well as some other grammar. Advantages of this Method: * The students learn the grammar of the language by watching a telenovela (soap opera). * The students "travel" to different regions and countries of the Spanish -speaking world, learning not only the language, but also important and interesting cultural information. * The students are exposed to different varieties of Spanish as the characters travel to different locations. * Vocabulary and grammar are introduced and reinforced visually. You will be amazed at how much you can actually learn without direct instruction (i.e., just by watching the videos).

Student learning goals

By the end of SPAN 121, students will be able to converse and write about themselves, their families, and their activities in the present and past tenses.

They will have built a extensive and rich vocabulary enabling them to talk and write about the people in their lives, their courses, pets, clothes, and food preferences. They will have learned numbers, days of the week, months, seasons and colors.

Through the video episodes and textbook readings, students will have been exposed to the history, art, customs and geography of two Hispanic countries.

My hope is that students will finish SPAN 121 having experienced how fun and empowering it can be to communicate in Spanish, and will look forward to learning more about the history, politics, art and customs of Hispanic cultures in SPAN 122 and in Spanish language newpapers and other media.

General method of instruction

From the first day, the class is conducted almost entirely in Spanish as a conversation in which all students are expected to actively participate. Students will discuss the characters and the events as they unfold in the telenovela of the video series as the context through which they learn and practice the grammar and vocabulary. By the third quarter, students will be able to discuss in Spanish topics of their choosing for the full class period. Original writing assignments are frequent and emphasized.

Recommended preparation

No previous Spanish study or score of 0-15 on SP 100A placement test if Spanish is the language of admission. Students who register for this course should expect a more rigorous, grammar-intensive approach than is used in the Spanish 101, 102, 103 series. It is intended for highly motivated BEGINNING students who have a particular interest in learning Spanish grammar and conversation and who plan to commit a great deal of time to its study. Successful completion of this three-quarter series will satisfy the foreign language distribution requirement for many students. However, students who are taking Spanish with no other interest than to fulfill the foreign language requirement should probably not take this class. They would be better served following another course of study. Many students who have taken this three-quarter series because they are highly motivated to learn Spanish have reported that they are amazed how well they can understand, speak, write and read Spanish by the time the course is over in the spring.

Class assignments and grading

Students will submit daily written homework exercises. In addition, they will submit four or five compositions in Spanish. There will be four quizzes, a midterm and a final exam. Daily attendance and participation in the class discussions are crucial.

The breakdown for the course grade is as follows: Homework 15% Compositions 10% Participation 10% Quizzes 35% Midterm 15% Final 15%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Donally S Kennedy
Date: 04/30/2007