My approach to teaching Spanish stems from my personal experience with the language. In 1987 when I took my first Spanish class, I could not even conceive of the world it was going to open up for me. Among others too numerous to list, it has given me experiences like hunting iguanas in Panamá and traveling the rivers of Colombia, visiting world wonders like Machu Picchu and Teotihuacán, getting the humor of Cervantes and the emotion of Neruda and wondering at the customs and histories of the thousands of people from all walks of life I've encountered along the way. Thus, for me, Spanish isn't about the stand-alone, abstract grammatical structures, nouns and verbs the students are working to acquire, but about helping them to develop the confidence and fluency to use this real life, valuable skill to communicate and interact with and experience the culture and people of the Spanish speaking world.
TSPAN 100 level classes: Starting from scratch, this series takes a student through one full year (three quarters) of Spanish language classes. In that time, the student studies most of the major grammar points of the language (past, present, future tenses and subjunctive mood) and a large portion of vocabulary. These classes fulfill the language requirement for most majors, and prepare the student for the intermediate level classes.
TSPAN 200 level classes: This series reviews the major points of the beginning series with a focus on deepening the understanding and fluency. The student studies more subtle, expressive and complex grammatical structures. There is a greater emphasis on real world content such as short films, and short literary passages. These classes prepare the student for the 300 level and classes in the Hispanic Studies major and minor.
TSPAN 300 level classes: This series continues to review and refine grammatical structures while focusing on three distinct areas of knowledge: reading, conversation and writing (one quarter each). These classes count towards the Hispanic studies major and minor.
THISP 277: This course examines important examples of Latin American Literature in three genres: poetry, short story and novel. Through these works, the course offers the student a broad exposure to major voices in Latin American Literature. In addition to/through this exposure, we seek to: develop the ability to critically analyze literature, gain an insight in to Latin American culture and history, learn the basics of literary theory and attempt to discover (if it exists) the Latin American voice.
TCORE 124: This course is an exploration of Latin American examples of the literary genre known as Literatura Fantastica (Literature of the Fantastic). This genre is often characterized by dark, macabre stories in which both the reader and the characters are left questioning the nature of reality. In this class we examine several classics of this movement with the goal of developing the students' skill in critically analyzing and writing about literary texts. Students will be introduced to the theory behind the classification of these works, and their similarities and differences to related genres. We will also study the cultural and historical contexts in which the stories were produced and their influences on the writing.