Instructor: Elizabeth Chamberlain, Spanish & Portuguese Department
Overview: It has been repeatedly stated in professional literature that reading authentic texts represents a difficult hurdle for foreign language students as they move from the more oral-based language courses to the more text-based bridge and literature/culture courses. Appropriately designed pre- and post-reading exercises have been shown to be effective in aiding students through this transition. This project presents six primary cultural capsules which focus on reading but bring together speaking, listening and writing skills as well. All activities carefully build on foreign language development as it is presented in the course of study at Dartmouth; at the same time, these activities incorporate authentic literary texts, art, and film as a context to support meaningful learning and communication. The design of this project incorporates the multiple possibilities which technology can offer educators and students today and transforms what was once limited to paper into a multidimensional, multifaceted cultural tool where students can engage in interactive reading, writing and listening skills. In-class oral activities complement the work students perform outside of class in the effort to provide content-based learning revolving around authentic texts and cultural icons. The institutional impact of this project is very broad in that it is being created for use by all Spanish language faculty and students. One completed, it can serve as a model and provide an infrastructure for other foreign language reading projects at Dartmouth as well.