Developing and teaching linguistic skills
Spanish is the official language of Spain and of the populations of 20 Latin American countries. It is also widely spoken in the USA, where one US resident in ten speaks Spanish at home, representing 29 million people. Today, Spanish is the native language spoken by more than 450 million people. As the second most widely spoken Western language, it has also become the second language of international communication.
However, this geographical heterogeneity has not weakened the internal cohesion of the linguistic system. Part of our role as teachers is to build on this coherence to develop students’ communication skills and make them aware of the linguistic and cultural diversity of the Spanish-speaking world. To this end, starting with the “Beginner” modules, numerous phonetic and terminological variants are tackled in our classes and intercultural know-how plays an important role in the learning process. One of our objectives is to stimulate in our students the curiosity and desire to open up to other cultures. In addition, depending on the preferences expressed by students, sessions focusing on the scientific fields covered at the School (economics, civil engineering, transportation, environment, etc.) can also be provided.
Whether in a personal or professional capacity, students will undoubtedly need to speak Spanish with people of very different nationalities, whether native Spanish speakers or not. Here again, we have a role to play as teachers: to raise awareness and develop students’ capacity to adapt, to get them used to expressing themselves without embarrassment, whatever their level in the language, with the aim that they should be able to communicate in all circumstances.
The teaching program
It consists of three types of classes: general language, thematic-linguistic classes, themed classes.
Since students register for languages directly with the teachers, they can obtain advice on the best options for their needs. A quick assessment of their level in Spanish is made on entry to the School, when they register for the 1st semester modules. Students can therefore choose the course that seems best suited both to their real level and their personal objectives.
The general language courses
Beginners (2 modules), Intermediate, Middling.
Students can begin Spanish in the 1st semester of their 1st year or of their 2nd year.
Our courses are also aimed at students who have acquired some Spanish before entering the School and who want to pick up the language again after an interval.
One of the priorities in all these courses is to develop oral expression, so that students are able to communicate in the way that is most useful to future professionals.
As the title suggests, these are mixed classes addressed to students who want to acquire knowledge in a specific domain, while working systematically on the language: Mirando la actualidad, Arte e historia de España, El mundo hispano y sus canciones, Dinámica profesional en español, Aires hispanos, Perspectives on Latin America.
These are for students who already have a good enough level of Spanish to work on a central topic: Literatura y Cine (1st semester), Economía de España y de América Latina (2nd semester)
Practicing the language outside classes
This can be done very easily and in many ways. As there are a number of Spanish-speaking students at our School, our first advice would be to spend as much time as possible speaking to them, from the start of the year.
Students can also take advantage of the material available to them at the School’s library/media library, read the Spanish press on the web, listen to radio stations from Spanish-speaking countries, watch films in Spanish…