Purpose and Proficiency in Spanish Curricula

Team of Fellows

  • Clara Isaza-Bishop, Chair of the Spanish Department, Tang Fellow 
  • Katherine Matheson, Instructor in Spanish, Tang Fellow 
  • In collaboration with Instructor in Spanish Edwin Escobar and the Spanish Department

Focus Area: Creativity & Innovation

Project Overview

How can we, as language teachers, create an authentic and meaningful curriculum that better meets our students’ needs in an increasingly interconnected world? How can we assess our students’ language skills in ways that reflect how language is used in the real world? How can we incorporate the latest brain research and understandings about effective pedagogy in language classrooms? These are some of the questions that Tang fellows Clara Isaza-Bishop and Katherine Matheson, in collaboration with Edwin Escobar and other Spanish department colleagues, will undertake together as they explore the disconnect they have seen between traditional textbook-centered curricula in high school-level language classes and the varied motivations and objectives of students learning Spanish. The goal of their project is to create a program of language study, beginning at the novice levels, that puts student interests and needs at the center, while preparing them to interact with real people, in real situations, in Spanish. Drawing upon the latest language acquisition research, the team aims to redesign the Spanish 100 and 200 level courses with a focus on proficiency, authentic multimedia resources, and innovation in instructional practices and the delivery of content.