Art of Teaching Spanish

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Teaching Spanish







    S E C O N D L A N G U A G E A C Q U I S I T I O N F R O M R E S E A R C H TO P R A X I S



  • Georgetown University Press Washington, D.C.

    As of January 1,2007,13-digit ISBN numbers will replace the current 10-digit system. Paperback: 978-1-58901-133-5

    Georgetown University Press, Washington, D.C. 02006 by Georgetown University Press. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    The art of teaching Spanish : second language acquisition from research to praxis / Rafael Salaberry and Barbara A. Lafford, Editors.

    p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 1-58901-133-3 (alk. paper) 1. Spanish language-Study and teaching-Foreign speakers. 2. Second language acquisition.

    I. Salaberry, M. Rafael. 11. Lafford, Barbara Armstrong. PC4127.8.A825 2006 468.0071-dc22


    This book is printed on acid-free paper meeting the requirements of the American National Standard for Permanence in Paper for Printed Library Materials.

    13 12 11 10 09 08 07 06 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 First printing

    Printed in the United States of America

  • To Julihn, Lucas, and Maria Jose -Rafael Salaherry

    To the memory of Kathleen A. Glenn (1 923-2003),

    beloved mother and friend

    and to my husband, Peter, for his unending love and support

    -Barbara A. Lafiord


    List of Tables and Figures ix Preface xi

    1 The State of the Art of Teaching Spanish: From Research to Praxis Rafael Salaberry and Barbara Lafford 1

    2 A Content-Based Approach to Spanish Language Study: Foreign Languages Across the Curriculum Carol A. Klee and Gwendolyn Barnes-Karol 23

    3 Spanish SLA Research, Classroom Practice, and Curriculum Design Joseph Collentine 39

    4 Theoretical and Research Considerations Underlying Classroom Practice: The Fundamental Role of Input Bill VanPatten and Michael Leeser 55

    5 Concept-Based Instruction and the Acquisition of L2 Spanish Eduardo Negueruela and James I? Lantolf 79

    6 The Effects of Study Abroad and Classroom Contexts on the Acquisition of Spanish as a Second Language: From Research to Application Barbara Lafford and Joseph Collentine 103

    7 Online Language Learning: The Case of Spanish Without Walls Robert Blake and Ann Marie Delforge 127

    8 Testing Spanish Rafael Salaberry and Andrew D. Cohen 149

  • vi i i Contents

    9 Incorporating Linguistic Variation into the Classroom Manuel J. Gutidrrez and Marta Fairclough 173

    10 Making Connections: Second Language Acquisition Research and Heritage Language Teaching Guadalupe Valdds 193

    1 1 Spanish Second Language Acquisition: Applications to the Teaching of Professional Translation (and Interpretation) Sonia Colina 213

    Contributors 235 Index 239


    5.1 Uses of preterit and imperfect according to Dasilva and Lovett (1965) 83 6.1 Spanish study abroad research 113 7.1 SWW students' experience with Spanish in high school 135 7.2 Students' reasons for taking Spanish in the online format 135 7.3 UC Davis students' experience with Spanish in high school 137 7.4 Students' reasons for taking Spanish at UC Davis 137 7.5 T-test comparison between SWW I and SPA 1 grammar scores 139 7.6 T-test comparison between SWW I1 and SPA 2 grammar scores 139 7.7 T-test comparison of written samples from SWW and UC Davis students 140 9.1 Percentages of innovative estar in Houston by generation 177 9.2 Percentages of forms in apodoses in Houston by generation 179 9.3 Percentages of forms in apodoses in MichoacQn and Houston 180 9.4 Southwestern United States: Morphological future, periphrastic future, and

    present indicative use in alternation contexts 181 9.5 Mexico City: Morphological future, periphrastic future, and present

    indicative use 181 11.1 Basic components of a research-based pedagogy of translation 225 11.2 Activity types 226 11.3 Goals and justifications for activity types 228


    3.1 The relationship between focus-on-form, processing instruction, and grammatical development (adapted from VanPatten and Cadierno 1993) 44

    5.1 Didactic model constructed by Negueruela (2003) based on Bull (1965) 85 7.1 CHAT interface 135 9.1 Model of Linguistic Interaction: EnglishISpanish in the United States 176

    11.1 Cao's Model of Translation Proficiency (1996) 21 4


    T his book serves as a companion volume to Spanish Second Language Acquisition: State of the Science, coedited by Barbara Lafford and Rafael Salaberry and published in 2003 by Georgetown University Press. That work consisted of a critical review of the research done on the products and processes of Spanish second language acquisition (SLA). It was primarily intended as "a reference tool for second language acquisition researchers, graduate students in SLAT (second language acquisition and teaching) or linguistics programs, and practitioners and pedagogues who teach diverse second and foreign languages and want to keep up with current research trends in the field of SLA (with particular attention given to Spanish) ."

    This volume explores the extent to which the art of teaching L2 Spanish has been informed by the scientific (theoretical and empirical) research on SLA (and other relevant fields) referred to in the first volume. It also investigates the types of chal- lenges that follow from initiatives to transfer findings from research to teaching and how to overcome practical problems associated with the implementation of new approaches to teaching.

    This collection of contributions from respected SLA researchers and applied lin- guists is first and foremost a resource for foreign language practitioners and peda- gogues wanting to benefit from the expertise of colleagues who have experience with the types of linguistic issues and applications treated by the authors-for example, FLAC (foreign language across the curriculum programs), various peda- gogical approaches, the effect of study abroad versus classroom contexts on the learning process, testing issues, online learning, the incorporation of linguistic vari- ation into the classroom, courses for heritage language learners, and the teaching of translation.

    The increasing demographic visibility of Spanish speakers in the United States and the impact their presence has had on public policy have created a great demand for Spanish classes throughout our educational system, from primary-level bilingual pro- grams to university-level and continuing education courses. In turn, this situation has generated a demand for courses for future teachers of Spanish at both the undergradu- ate and graduate levels on the application of Spanish SLA (and related) research to the classroom. This book, which brings together more different theoretically grounded per- spectives on teaching Spanish than any other single published volume, could easily serve as a basic text in those courses.

  • xii Preface

    As always, we owe a debt of gratitude to family, friends, and colleagues for their personal support and encouragement during this project. We would also like to express our gratitude to the reviewers (established publishing SLA scholars and applied linguists who must remain anonymous) of each of the chapters. Finally, we would like to acknowledge the assistance of Gail Grella of Georgetown University Press for her exceptional patience and wisdom regarding the preparation of this research project.

  • The State of the Art of Teaching Spanish From Research to Praxis

    Rafael Sala berry Uniz~ersity of Texus-Atlstir~ Barbara Lafford Arizorln Stutc Uniz~ersity

    T his volume explores the extent to which the "art" of teaching of Spanish as a second language (L2) is informed by Spanish second language accluisition (SLA) in particular and research on SLA and language-related fields (e.g., psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics) in general. It also investigates the types of challenges that accompany applied linguistics initiatives to transfer findings from research to teaching and how to overcoille practical probleills associated with the implementation of new approaches to teaching.

    Some of the specific issues we asl

  • 2 Salaberry and Lafford

    later termed Languages Across the Curriculum (LAC), courses. As the authors explain, FLAC courses provide learners with several benefits, among which they high- light the following: they enhance and expand specific disciplinary knowledge, they deepen the understanding of a given culture and its documents and artifacts, and they improve cross-cultural competence. According to Klee and Barnes-Karol, improve- ment in second language skills, while desired, is not necessarily a primary objective of FLAC courses.

    The development of FLAC courses, the authors note, was prompted by several aca- demic ventures, such as the writing across the curriculum movement of the 1970s and 1980s, the immersion school programs in Canada and the United States, and the implementation of Language for Special Purposes (LSP) programs. The advent of FLAC courses has been substantiated through important research strands in SLA studies. For instance, Klee and Barnes-Karol state that FLAC programs have been pos- itively influenced by research findings from recent models of reading comprehension that emphasize the role of background knowledge and context on effective language use. Furthermore, current views on the multiple layers of competencies that make up a proficient speaker have also had an effect on developing knowledge about language- specific domains, including academic domains as they are represented in subject- matter courses. Finally, apart from specific research strands, the strategic effort of many universities to internationalize the curriculum has focused the attention of many faculty on the development of subject-specific language skills. Despite these favorable factors, however, FLAC courses face major strategic and institutional chal- lenges. More important, Klee and Barnes-Karol believe that FLAC programs are unlikely to succeed over the long term unless they are embedded in a larger institu- tional context, they receive ongoing financial support, and they carefully match stu- dent L2 proficiency with program requirements and objectives.

    It is possible that the underlying challenge of FLAC courses is that despite the avowed goal of giving students access to new perspectives on the subject matter, the courses are primarily focused on furthering the students' L2 development. In this respect, we underline the obvious: the traditional FLAC framework attempts to make a connection between two fairly distinct academic goals (i.e., language development and subject-matter development), but one of these goals may get the lion's share of attention and actual work. For instance, a subject in a FLAC course might be the his- tory of colonial Caribbean nations with an emphasis on the Spanish colonies. In this hypothetical case, it is apparent that the connection between language development in Spanish and knowledge of the specific subject of history may be contrived-until the link between language and content area brings these areas more closely in line with each other.

    We tentatively propose that a possible solution to this constraint would be to match up FLAC trailer sections with main subject areas that can be easily linked with language awareness and language use topics. For instance, most universities (large and small) offer several content-based courses that include language as one of their main topics of inquiry: sociolinguistics, first and second language learning, history of

  • The State of the Art of Teaching Spanish 3

    Spanish, language planning and policies, and, obviously, courses in literature (although, for a FLAC course, not necessarily entirely in the second language). A sec- ond tier of courses also related to language inquiry, but less directly, include those on political philosophy, formal logic, general philosophy, and so on. Such courses would likely attract students interested in developing their language skills as well as their knowledge in the specific content area. In all the above-mentioned courses, language inquiry or the role of language in communication is the natural focus of analysis of the main course that is to be accompanied by a FLAC course. Odds are that students interested in language-related courses such as those mentioned above are the ones who would be likely to go the extra mile to tackle these two related but separate goals: second language development and subject matter understanding.

    There is an additional strategic factor that may compromise the viability of a FLAC-enhanced curriculum. Despite the intended goal of expanding the focus of the subject matter in a second language, the apparent lack of continuity and support of FLAC courses described by Klee and Barnes-Karol brings up important questions: Is it possible that students perceive that their academic objectives can be more easily attained by avoiding FLAC courses and concentrating on the subject matter in English only? In other words, why would students sacrifice a more expeditious treatment and analysis of the subject matter in a language in which they are already proficient for a more laborious, time-consuming analysis of the same topic in a second language?

    Finally, the focus on strictly language-oriented courses may be of interest to fac- ulty as well. As noted by Klee and Barnes-Karol, FLAC courses are highly dependent on access to supplemental funding and adequate and extended curriculum support within and across departments. Unless instructors are compensated andlor substan- tially recognized in performance reviews for their extra effort devoted to these courses, the only other incentive that faculty will have to offer a FLAC course is to find some inherent pedagogical or research benefit in FLAC-oriented courses. Lack of continu- ous funding or course compensation clearly shows that FLAC courses can only be successful or, at a minimum, be offered to students as long as faculty find those courses relevant to their own teachinglresearch agendas. Therefore, the factor most likely to generate such interest among language faculty would be the focus of lan- guage development concurrently with subject matter development.

    2.0 Chapter 3: Spanish SLA Research, Classroom Practice, and Curriculum Design Collentine reviews and critiques three general lines of research that have had a major impact on how we design a second language curriculum through pedagogical tasks. The lines of resear...