Academic: Regular Courses: Spanish for Communication

"Spanish for Communication," is offered as an alternative to the traditional program, which will continue to be an option for those who prefer a more grammar-oriented approach.

"Spanish for Communication" is designed to meet the needs of those whose ministry is primarily focused on "service" in local communities and specialized ministries, such as, providing food and health care to the poor and indigent, caring for children at risk and conducting building programs.

The course may also be appropriate in the following situations:

The Communicative Method

"Spanish for Communication" employs the Communicative Method of teaching, where content is organized around concepts and functions, rather than grammatical structures. For example, the concept of "shopping" requires several functions including: asking the price, finding out about the product's characteristics and haggling over the price. On the other hand, the concept of "party" requires such functions as: meeting and greeting people and conversing with them about mutual interests or hobbies.

Since the intent of the Communicative Method is to help students develop their ability to communicate effectively in different social contexts, emphasis is placed on thinking about the communication process more than the language, per se.

Classroom Activities

Classroom activities are designed to increase students' confidence and fluency. Learners work in pairs or in groups on tasks that require negotiation and cooperation. Language learned in the classroom is related to normal, everyday tasks, along with students' personal needs and interests.

Some of the activities used include:

Communicative Competence

Instead of emphasizing the correct use of grammatical structures, the communicative track is focused on achieving a level of assertive communication in daily life, including family, work, community and church environments. Special emphasis is given to understanding culture.

Progress in language learning is evaluated on the basis of how well students develop their "communicative competence," or ability, not only to use the conventional aspects of language, but also to apply sociolinguistic skills to communicate appropriately, according to cultural standards and the social context.

Description of the "Spanish for Communication" Track

The course may be taken for one to three trimesters. Classroom activities will last four hours a day. A slightly different system of evaluation will be used to assess progress. There will be exams, but these will be less frequent and not as complex as the traditional testing process. Students will still be required to do homework but to a lesser degree.

Outline of the Program:



First Trimester

1 hour of Grammar
1 hour of Pronunciation
2 hours of Conversation (Language),
including a review of grammar

Second Trimester

1 hour of Grammar
2 hours of Conversation (Language)
1 hour individual attention

Third Trimester

1 hour Grammar
2 hours of Conversation (Language)
FARO cultural immersion program*

*three classroom hours per week,
plus practice in the community

The Foster Family

Brian & Stephanie Foster
(Class of '10)

We have been overwhelmed by the amazing faculty, staff and administration at The Spanish Language Institute! The teachers were able to accommodate our personal learning styles as well as to ease us into the full immersion of living in Costa Rica. The staff and administration were always warm and kind and they always had encouraging words for us. They genuinely cared about our family and always wanted to make sure that we were doing well in all areas of our life here. We entered the institute with no Spanish and we are leaving with a solid foundation of understanding, speaking, and writing the language. We also gained the invaluable cultural experience of living in such a beautiful country!



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