About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 753-755
Publication year: 2012
ISBN: 978-84-615-5563-5
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain

"SPAIN… AND EVERYWHERE ELSE”: REVAMPING THE CURRICULUM IN SPANISH AT THE TERTIARY LEVEL

L. Oxford

Western Carolina University (UNITED STATES)
The vast majority of Spanish programs across the U.S. share a common flaw: coursework in Hispanic cultures, literatures, and arts is divided along chronological and geographical lines. Students who elect a major or minor concentration in Spanish (which actually would be better reflected by a name like “Hispanic Studies”) find themselves having to choose between classes like “Spanish 19th century novel,” “Early Spanish Poetry,” or “Colonial Latin America.” The problem with such a curriculum stems both from the chronology and the geography. There are written accounts of life in the Iberian Peninsula dating to Roman times, while the few written histories (in the form of glyphs) that have been found in pre-Columbian Hispanic America are much more recent, and most historical accounts that are studied are the ones left to us by Europeans who traveled to the Americas post-1492. For this reason alone, students are left with the impression that Spain is more important, since within a curriculum built on chronological divisions there is more historical and literary material available. In terms of geography, the preferential concentration on European versus American material is even more salient: coursework is divided between the one, singular country of Spain (population 45,000,000), and the one, all-encompassing region of Hispanic Latin America, which is made up of eighteen different countries (population 450,000,000). Such a curriculum perpetuates the misunderstanding, extremely common among undergraduate students, that, while Hispanic American literature in general may be important, and Hispanic American regional variation in speech patterns may be interesting, the only “real” or “pure” Spanish is the castellano spoken in Spain, and the best way to learn “real” Spanish is by studying works from Spain. It could be claimed, as well, that there is a classist or elitist notion at work in this misconception, and that is precisely the sort of ingenuous presupposition that teachers of critical thinking aim to abolish. In an effort to offset this historically imbalanced academic perspective, the members of the Spanish program in the Department of World Languages at Western Carolina University have adopted a different curriculum, one that dispenses with chronology and geography as dividing lines, at least to the extent to which this is possible. In my presentation, I will show how we have attempted to eliminate the preferential placement of Spain in traditional tertiary curricula by providing examples from our newly established program of courses that we have created based solely on thematic unity, authors/artists with shared biographical characteristics, and categories of literary genre. In this way, we hope to cease the perpetuation of a Spain-centered curriculum, particularly given that only one in ten Spanish speakers worldwide hail from this country, and those numbers are even fewer for the Spanish speakers that our students are most likely to encounter in the United States.
@InProceedings{OXFORD2012SPA,
author = {Oxford, L.},
title = {"SPAIN… AND EVERYWHERE ELSE”: REVAMPING THE CURRICULUM IN SPANISH AT THE TERTIARY LEVEL},
series = {6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2012 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-5563-5},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {5-7 March, 2012},
year = {2012},
pages = {753-755}}
TY - CONF
AU - L. Oxford
TI - "SPAIN… AND EVERYWHERE ELSE”: REVAMPING THE CURRICULUM IN SPANISH AT THE TERTIARY LEVEL
SN - 978-84-615-5563-5/2340-1079
PY - 2012
Y1 - 5-7 March, 2012
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2012 Proceedings
SP - 753
EP - 755
ER -
L. Oxford (2012) "SPAIN… AND EVERYWHERE ELSE”: REVAMPING THE CURRICULUM IN SPANISH AT THE TERTIARY LEVEL, INTED2012 Proceedings, pp. 753-755.
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