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Southern Oregon University

Through courses on language acquisition and pedagogy as well as language and culture courses, you will improve both your language proficiency and cultural understanding while becoming a better teacher. The Institute leads to a Master of Arts in Spanish Language Teaching.


In the Summer Institute for Spanish Teachers, you will perfect your language skills and enhance cultural understanding while receiving the most current training on language pedagogy and methodology. You will expand your linguistic and professional skills and go home ready to apply your new knowledge directly to lessons and materials for your classroom.

The Institute is specifically designed to meet the needs of middle school, high school and community college Spanish teachers. The program builds on the National Standards for Language Learning and incorporates recommendations for language teacher training developed by NCATE and ACTFL.

The Institute offers you the opportunity to earn a Master of Arts in Spanish Language Teaching over three summers. The program is also appropriate for teachers who are not seeking a master's degree but who need additional credits to retain or renew their certification. Space permitting, non-Masters candidates may attend individual sessions.

The SOU Center for Language Studies was developed after eight years of successful cooperation between Southern Oregon University and high school teachers through the Southern Oregon Foreign Language Articulation project (SOFLA). One of only eight projects selected nationally to participate in the Modern Language Association High School to College Articulation project, SOFLA has sponsored an average of 2-3 workshops a year for language teachers since 1998, bringing in nationally recognized language educators and creating links with ACTFL and other professional organizations.

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Master's Degree:

The Summer Institute for Spanish Teachers offers you the opportunity to earn a Master of Arts in Spanish Language Teaching (a total of 45 credits) over three summers. You may earn up to 18 credits each summer. NOTE: The Oregon University System is on a "quarter credit" system. For those of you NOT pursuing an MA through the SLI, and are taking courses simply to meet licensing requirements, make sure your licensing agency will transfer the correct semester credits. 

Course Work includes:

Five 3-credit required core courses:

#1 FL 511, Second Language Acquisition: Theory and Practice
#2 FL 512, Teaching for Proficiency: Methods and Strategies
#3 FL 513, Foreign Language Assessment: Principles and Strategies
#4 FL 514, Action Research
#5 FL 515, Technology in the Foreign Language Classroom

Core courses are taught in English. While we recommend you take core courses 1-3 in the above numbered order, they may be taken in any order. Action Research must be taken after core courses 1-3 and before your final summer. The Technology course is offered during the winter quarter (Jan-March) and may be taken any time.

A minimum of 29 credits of Hispanic Language and Culture courses:

Language and culture courses vary each summer. Each language or culture course has a companion course on pedagogical practices relative to the language or culture topic. All language and culture courses, as well as companion pedagogical courses, are taught in Spanish. With advisor approval, topics courses may be repeated for credit when the topic changes. A sample of Language and Culture courses and their companion pedagogy courses include the following: 

  • Communicative Grammar (3 credits) with Teaching Grammar in Context (2 credits)
  • Spanish/Latin American Film (3 credits) with Teaching Language with Film (2 credits)
  • Topics in Spanish/Latin American Culture (contemporary and historical) (3 credits) with Teaching Language through Culture (2 credits)
  • Contemporary Spanish/Latin American Theater (3 credits) with Teaching Language through Theater (2 credits)
  • Spanish/Latin American Music (3 credits) with Music in the Foreign Language classroom (2 credits)
  • Topics in Spanish/Latin American Literature (3 credits) with Teaching Language through Literature (2 credits)
  • Topics in Spanish/Latin American Art (3 credits) with Teaching Language through Art (2 credits)
  • Topics in Spanish Linguistics: Spanish Pronunciation (3 credits) with Teaching Correct Pronunciation (2 credits)

At least ten (10) credits must come from Spanish 516, which may be repeated for credit as topic changes.  Up to six graduate credits can be transferred from other accredited institutions.  

Masters candidates must take all but the conversation/grammar class during a three-week session. The conversation/grammar class is an additional option which may count toward three of your nine elective credits.  Note: students who are admitted at the intermediate high OPI level will be required to take these normally optional conversation/grammar courses.  They must complete 5 credits of SPAN 507/510 and will need a total of 48 credits to graduate.

You may attend one or both of the three-week summer sessions. Masters candidates expecting to complete the program in three years must take both sessions at least two of the three summers. Space permitting, non-masters candidates may attend individual sessions.

And a 1-credit Action Research Project:

During the school year prior to your final year in the program, if you are a masters candidate, you will conduct an action research project with your own students/at your own school. You will write a 30-40 page paper (plus bibliography and appendices) documenting the project.  You are expected to be in contact with your advisor throughout the year and must present a final draft before Memorial Day in order to present your action research project during your final summer. Based on feedback from your advisor, you may be expected to modify and resubmit the paper after your final summer. The action research project, presentation and paper take the place of a thesis project, and are graded based on the AR project rubric and the AR presentation rubric.

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2014 Courses

On-line Core Course, Winter Quarter

FL 515, Technology in the Classroom (3 credits) - Dr. Sébastien Dubreil

Transforms knowledge into practice about Second Language Acquisition (SLA) and pedagogy, while focusing on the use of technology in the foreign language classroom. Fosters professional development as students formulate critical skills for creating, integrating, and assessing technology into the classroom. Topics may include interactive and non-interactive hypermedia technologies, Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL), language testing and technology, distance learning, online discussions, and software selection.

Core Courses Summer Session 1

*  1. FL 511, Second Language Acquisition (3 credits) - Dr. Tom Mathews (syllabus)

Provides students with an overview of the most current theories of second language acquisition and the teaching methodologies that result from these approaches. Students will detail differences between and similarities among the various models of second language acquisition as they learn how to identify and integrate them into the foreign language classroom.

** 2. FL 513, FL Assessment (3 credits) - Dr. Rachel Shively (syllabus)

Explores the many ways to assess foreign language proficiency. Compares traditional testing measures with more recent performance-based assessment methods and portfolio assessment models. Students study various assessment instruments and resources, as well as learning how to integrate assessment practices with foreign language standards.

* New students

** Returning students

Electives Summer Session 1 (Students choose both a and b of one grouping)

3a. SPAN 525, “…muertos que no hacen ruido”: Classic literature and Mexican music (3 credits) - Dr. Ariel Tumbaga (syllabus)

In this course, we will read two classic Mexican novels and study the ways in which these novels either coincide with, or are influenced by popular Mexican music.  The first novel, Pedro Páramo by Juan Rulfo, deals with the vital presence of the dead in Mexican society.  Here we will compare supernatural literary motifs with examples from traditional huapango songs.  Then, in La muerte de Artemio Cruz, we will analyze the ways that Carlos Fuentes blends the existentialist philosophy of Nietzsche and Sartre with two popular songs by native Guanuajuato artist José Alfredo Jiménez.  Finally, we will extend the musical-literary dialogue into the Mexican corrido and traditional Cuban song to explore gender and Afromexican cultural spaces, respectively, in the novel and Mexican society.

3b. SPAN 516,   Incorporando textos clásicos de México (literatura, cine, música) en la enseñanza   (2 credits) - Professor Carlos Jasso (syllabus)

In this course we will work with classic texts of Mexican Literature as a means of learning in the Spanish language classroom.  Although the reading, analysis and interpretation of the works will be an important part of the class, the primary objective is to work with the pedagogical possibilities and benefits that can be achieved in the classroom through activities that involve cultural expressions like art, film, music and journalism. In this way, we will seek to develop communicative lesson plans in which accessible and brief texts (short stories and poetry) will become means to develop abilities and skills through homework assignments, creativity, play, and the exchange of opinions.

4a. SPAN 581,  Bilingualism in the Spanish-Speaking World  (3 credits) - Dr. Julio Torres (syllabus)

This course will provide students with an overview of bilingual contexts in which Spanish comes into contact with another language. Students will explore historical and political factors that shape different forms of societal bilingualism in the Spanish-speaking world, and how this may have an impact on the array of individual bilingual speakers as far as their grammar, acquisition and psycholinguistic processing of Spanish. Topics may include variables that define bilingualism, bilingualism in Spain and Latin America, bilingual acquisition, heritage language speakers and bilingual education.        

4b. SPAN 516,  Task-based Learning for L2 and Heritage Learners  (2 credits) -  Dr. Julio Torres (syllabus)

The students in this course will examine a current model for designing L2 tasks along cognitive dimensions that aims to draw learners’ attention and memory resources to the second or heritage language to promote syntactic complexity, accuracy and/or fluency during interaction. Students will be asked to bring sample textbook interactive tasks (e.g., information-gap activities) to evaluate and perhaps adapt. At the end of the course, students will have created pedagogic tasks that may be utilized immediately in their classrooms. 
Optional Course Summer Session 1
SPAN 510, Conversación Avanzada (1 credit) Carlos Jasso and Univ. of Guanajuato Staff (syllabus for Advanced Level)
Designed to improve Spanish conversational skills. Students will learn about and discuss a wide variety of current topics, including historical influences on contemporary culture; art and media; and societal, religious, and political institutions. 

Core Courses Summer Session 2

*    1. FL 512, Methods: Teaching for Proficiency (3 credits) -  Dr. Kelly Conroy (syllabus

Explores how proficiency standards can be applied in the classroom in conjunction with state and local standards based on the national standards for foreign language education as established by the American Council on Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). Students learn how to integrate the five Cs of foreign language education: communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, and communities, with clearly defined proficiency standards for foreign language performance.

**  2. FL 514, Action Research (3 credits) - Dr. Elizabeth Kissling (syllabus)

Introduces students to research methodologies that pursue action (change) and research (understanding) concurrently. Students will learn how to do a systematic inquiry into the teaching/learning environment of a classroom with the goal of developing reflective teaching practices. This course is intended as preparation for an action research project that students will conduct over the course of the following year.  The grades for the project and presentations are determined by detailed rubrics (see above).  

*  New Students   

** Returning students

Electives Summer Session 2 (Students choose both a and b of one grouping)

3a. SPAN 581, Phonetics (3 credits) - Dr. Cynthia Kauffeld (syllabus)

This class is an introduction to the phonological system of Spanish and to phonetic transcription. Through the study of this aspect of the language, students will improve their understanding of spoken Spanish and thus their own pronunciation and oral fluency. They will also become more conscious of the subtleties of pronunciation in others. Some attention will be paid to the phonetic contrasts between Spanish and English, which may help English natives understand and better overcome some of the difficulties they face when trying to perfect their pronunciation in Spanish. In addition, there will be a brief introduction to Spanish dialectology with the exploration of some of the more notable phonetic and phonological variations found in the Spanish-speaking world.

3b. SPAN 516, How to Teach Pronunciation (2 credits) - Dr. Cynthia Kauffeld (syllabus)

As its title suggests, the focus of this course is the teaching of pronunciation. With that in mind, the class will learn practical ways of helping their students improve their speech in Spanish. The phonological contrasts between the two languages will be closely examined in order to understand common problems faced by English speakers when learning Spanish, and also to devise strategies to mitigate these difficulties. Some of the most distinctive dialectal variations will also be examined so that a broader vision of Spanish pronunciation might inform students' teaching of the same. 

4a. SPAN 541, Conquistadors, Convents and Golden Cups of Chocolate: The Gastronomical Relationship between Spain and Mexico. (3 credits) -  Dr.  María Paz Moreno  (syllabus)

The purpose of this course is to explore the relationship between Spain and Mexico throughout the centuries by looking at the intersections of their culinary history. We will explore the gastronomical culture of both countries as a reflection of their respective identities. The importance of the discovery of the New World and their mutual influences, both from a gastronomical point of view and within a wider historical context, will be analyzed and discussed. Students will read a variety of texts, from scholarly essays to recipes from cookbooks and excerpts from gastronomical treaties.

4b. SPAN 516, Eat Your Words: A Culinary Approach to Teaching Culture and Language. (2 credits) -   Dr.  María Paz Moreno (syllabus)

This course will have a practical nature. We will explore the possibilities of food-related activities for the Spanish classroom. We will design and test different activities that use food as a vehicle to teach the target language and culture, taking advantage of the endless pedagogical potential of food as a form of culture.  We will work to develop a wide array of classroom projects, such as creating a collective cookbook, keeping a food blog, watching or making our own Youtube videos, playing vocabulary games, or visiting a Hispanic market, store or restaurant. Our goal for this class will be to devise a full course or a thorough set of activities.

Optional Course Summer Session 2

SPAN 507, Gramática Avanzada (1 credit) Carlos Jasso (syllabus) (Gramática para hablar, pdf)

Reviews problematic Spanish grammar concepts for advanced students.


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Class Schedule, Session I 2014

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
8-9:50am Language Language Language Language Language
Acquisition Acquisition Acquisition Acquisition Acquisition
or or or or or
  FL Assessment FL Assessment FL Assessment FL Assessment FL Assessment
10 - 11:50am Bilingualism Bilingualism Bilingualism Bilingualism Bilingualism
12-1:50pm Mexican lit and music Mexican lit and music Mexican lit and music Mexican lit and music Mexican lit and music
4:15-6:15 pm Task-Based Learning Advanced Conversation Task-Based Learning Advanced Conversation Task-Based Learning
or or or
Incorporando textos clásicos Incorporando textos clásicos Incorporando textos clásicos


Class Schedule, Session II 2014

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
8-9:50am Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods
or or or or or
Action Research Action Research Action Research Action Research Action Research
10 - 11:50am Phonetics Phonetics Phonetics Phonetics Phonetics
12-1:50pm Gastronomy of Gastronomy of Gastronomy of Gastronomy of Gastronomy of
Spain and Mexico Spain and Mexico Spain and Mexico Spain and Mexico Spain and Mexico
4:15-6:15 pm Teaching Pronunciation Advanced Grammar Teaching Pronunciation Advanced Grammar Teaching Pronunciation
or or or
Eat Your Words Eat Your Words Eat Your Words


Most students return to their home for lunch between 2-4pm. 

Plan to arrive a few days in advance in order to get to know your family and familiarize yourself with Guanajuato.  

It is also recommended to come to campus and set up wifi on your laptop before classes start.  

All students are required to attend the orientation session on the Sunday night before classes begin.

Our program is very intensive.  Evenings will be spent preparing class assignments.


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