SPAN 3355: Spanish Conversation

Course Description

This is an advanced Spanish course for majors and minors intended to increase active command of the language. Improvement in oral skills comes with oral practice, so students will have a steady chance to exchange ideas and feelings, and to expand their perspective on current topics of communication. After short readings, the opportunity for natural conversation will occur among intermediate to advanced learners of Spanish who already have the tools and the vocabulary to contribute with their current point of view. Some grammatical structures of Spanish language will be reviewed only with the purpose to better express their oral participation.

Instructor Biography

Dr. Veronica Leon is a member of SMU's Department of World Languages and Literatures. A native of Monterrey, Mexico, she received her Licenciatura en Letras Espanolas at the Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey. She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in Spanish Literature and Language.

Learning Outcomes and Benefits

  • Students will feel more confident of their Spanish after taking such an intensive course
  • They will express in clearer and accurate sentences
  • They will improve their communicative skills by acquiring new essential vocabulary
  • They will lead a discussion, debate and be able to give an oral account to a group
  • They will hear an improvement in their pronunciation, more like a native speaker

Note from the Professor

I emphasize oral skills at different levels in all my Spanish courses for one simple reason: I know from experience how vital it is to communicate in a second language. I came to this country for the first time from Monterrey, Mexico when I was a sophomore in college, as an exchange student in an intensive English program. The linguistic experience opened my eyes wide open about what I couldn't do. Even though I had taken English for many years, I still couldn't speak in sentences. At the end of a month and a half of intensive English, I was connecting with people and enjoying everything around me. Back then, little did I know that I was going to come back for my graduate school in my field Spanish language and literature. I decided afterwards to stay permanently as a professor and educator of students who take Spanish as a second language.

With my own built-in experience in mind, I know that for this specific conversational course, we need provocative topics of communication to create an atmosphere of debate and opinion on current universal subjects. Also, cooperative learning, involving group work and interpersonal communicative skills, sharing information and working as a team, is an integral part of this progression. Oral strategies, which give emphasis to convincing communication like explaining or defending opinions, debating a point or a position are some of the objectives expected throughout the course. Finally, it is my genuine hope that all students in this course will expand their fluency range and boost their confidence and involvement in the Spanish language and culture.
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