Identidades: Exploraciones e interconexiones

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9780130304636: Identidades: Exploraciones e interconexiones

Identidades offers a content-rich communicative presentation for students entering Intermediate Spanish - meeting them where they are and moving them realistically to higher proficiency levels. Drawing on skills students have developed in other course areas, Identidades further develops these abilities by taking a process-oriented methodology to skill building. Rich in cultural content, Identidades helps students draw parallels between their own identity and the cultural identities of the Spanish-speaking world.

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From the Back Cover:

As the title suggests, Identidades reflects the multi-faceted nature of the Hispanic world and its people. A content-based book with integrated grammar and four-skills practice, Identidades approaches Hispanic culture -through uncommon, non-canonical topics and asks students to use language in ways that suggest immediacy. Activities are highly interrelated and directed towards desired communicative outcomes, creating uniquely integrated and cohesive chapters. The topics and reading content are highly motivating and are supported by a unique pedagogy and detailed strategies. The central goal of this program is to bring students to a level of language acquisition in which they are able to explore and experience many of the historical, cultural, and artistic manifestations of the Spanish-speaking world.

FEATURES
  • High-interest, non-canonical topics and themes
  • Systematic expansion of cultural knowledge
  • Development and transfer of cognitive skills
  • Straightforward, integrated grammar
  • Attention to all four skills
  • Emphasis on process-oriented learning
  • Unusually high level of chapter cohesion
  • Superior reading strategies and instructor annotations
  • Variety of both literary and non-literary genres

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Welcome to Identidades!

Identidades is a two-semester intermediate Spanish program that puts the Cultures, Connections, and Comparisons goals of the National Standards on virtually every page of the text and its ancillary components. Identidades provides a much-needed balance in intermediate Spanish programs by presenting and treating the cultures of the Hispanic world in ways that are both appealing and appropriate for the intellectual level of college students and by simultaneously maintaining reasonable expectations for the understanding and productive use of grammatical concepts and structures. Communicative and rich in cultural content, Identidades engages the whole student, supports the language-learning process, and prepares students for the more challenging courses beyond the second year.

Key features of the Identidades Program

  • A culture-centered approach to language learning that engages students in analysis and research on historical, cultural, and artistic expressions of the Spanish-speaking world.
  • Engaging and varied readings that draw on expository and literary texts from a variety of sources.
  • An interactive, student-centered approach that provides many opportunities for students to collaborate in pair and group activities and thus improve their interpersonal skills in Spanish.
  • A strategy- and process-oriented approach to reading and writing, whereby students learn to apply their well-developed cognitive skills to communication in a second language.
  • A straightforward approach to grammar explanations, combined with carefully sequenced activities.
  • Superior integration of the SCs of the National Standards for Foreign Language Learning.
  • A comprehensive introduction to literary themes, genres, and authors that will prepare students for their first upper-division course in literature.
  • Listening activities that expose students to a range of text types, voices, and regional varieties of Spanish as they develop insights that come from hearing individuals talk about their lives and work in a specific cultural and geographical context.
  • Research-oriented writing activities that prepare students for courses beyond the second year.

Philosophy of Identidades

The title Identidades reflects the multi-faceted nature of the Hispanic world and its people and the central goal of this program: to bring students to a level of language acquisition in which they are able to explore and experience many of the historical, cultural, and artistic manifestations of the Spanish-speaking world. The program also aims to develop students' knowledge of the Spanish-speaking world. Students may begin the program with a narrow idea of what it means to be "Hispanic," but by the end of the program, they will understand that the Spanish-speaking world is made up of many races, ethnic groups, and cultures.

1. Expansion of cultural knowledge
Although still in need of systematic attention to language skill development, students in the second year also profit by using their language skills to learn about the Hispanic world. Topics that may have been presented in general terms in the first year are treated in greater depth. Cultural phenomena are presented in their historical contexts. This accomplishes two goals of the Identidades program: (a) to avoid stereotyping and overly global and simplistic contrasts between Hispanic cultures and those of the students, and (b) to support development of the skills of narration, description, comparison, and contrast. This approach highlights processes of change over time that are common to all cultures.

2. Development and transfer of cognitive skills
Much of what goes on in a second-year language course is not novel activity for college students. They read and interpret literary texts in their literature and composition courses; they learn to approach events from multiple perspectives in their history classes; and they look for logical sequences and relationships of cause and effect in their science courses. Through an approach that combines problem-solving, open-ended inquiry, and transfer of strategies that students use in other areas of their academic lives, the Identidades program makes possible the learning of significant content within the parameters of students' linguistic level.

3. Straightforward presentation of grammar
The scope, sequence, and approach to grammar in Identidades respond to the linguistic readiness of students at the intermediate level. The text explains the communicative functions of each structure, lays out the linguistic forms, and provides examples. Because students have already studied most of these structures in previous courses, the purpose of the explanations and examples is to refresh their basic understandings. The richness and variety of the activities that follow the explanations will strengthen students' conceptual understanding, as well as their receptive and productive use of the structures. Most of the activities require that students integrate their knowledge and their understanding of the structure to carry out meaningful tasks. A solid mastery of grammar at the intermediate level facilitates comprehension of printed and spoken texts and supports oral and written communication. Reasonable expectations for students at this level, given their stage in the process of second language acquisition, have informed (a) the selection of structures, (b) the explicit connections between communicative function and linguistic forms, (c) the recycling of key structures throughout the program, and (d) decisions about whether to focus on a structure primarily for reception or also for productive use. Students at this level can easily and fluently produce oral descriptions and narrations in the present. They can also produce descriptions, narrations, and explanations in writing, particularly when the design of the task provides guidance for them to organize their thoughts. Speaking in past time is more difficult for intermediate students; they can generally produce sentences or short strings of sentences but may not be able to develop a sequenced narration or comparison.

4. Systematic presentation of literature of the Spanish-speaking world
Each chapter in Identidades contains a Rincon literario with an excerpt from the work of a Spanish or Latin American author. Literature is a medium through which students may expand their conceptual framework of culture. Through these short excerpts, students create connections between the cultural themes and events that underlie the chapters and their literary manifestations. (See the Organization of the text, below, for more on the systematic rpresentation of literature.)

5. A cohesive and innovative integration of language and culture
The students who populate intermediate college Spanish programs are a heterogeneous group. Because they arrive at their second-year courses through a combination of high school and/or college preparation, the group may include students who have a strong linguistic base but little experience with free expression, those who have confidence in their speaking, listening, and writing skills but may be lacking in linguistic knowledge and accuracy, and many who are somewhere in between. The emphasis of Identidades on the development of literacy (reading and writing) and oral skills will serve the needs of all students, and the focus on culture that underlies the program will have universal appeal. The program emphasizes linguistic functions and structures that are within students' developmental range—comparison, explanation, narration, description, and expression of opinions—and also approaches these functions in ways markedly different from the first year: paradigms and explanations are unelaborated and the chapters move immediately into open-ended activities.

6. Identidades and the National Standards
The philosophy of Identidades has been deeply informed by the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century, produced in the 1990s through a collaboration of the major language organizations in the United States. The Standards are organized into five areas, usually referred to as the S Cs: Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities.

Beyond the Communication goal, which is central to all language programs, Identidades is unique in its integration of the other National Standards. In the pair and group activities, students are rarely asked to take on a persona different from their own. This respect for students' identities encourages a contrastive and comparative approach in their exploration of culture and language that leads to a deeper understanding of both Hispanic cultures and their own.

The program is designed to foster a similar analytical approach to language. Strategically placed cultural and linguistic explanations call students' attention to elements of Spanish that they are likely to miss or overuse from their perspective as speakers of English. In addition, the reading strategies and tips, which draw students' attention to key ideas or unfamiliar words or phrases in the passages of each chapter, help students develop their reading comprehension skills in Spanish by learning to use techniques and skills that they use automatically when reading in their native language.

The Communities goal is implemented by means of guided mini-research projects in the A explorar section in each chapter, as well as through research activities that are integrated into several activities in each chapter. Through these Web-based activities, students participate virtually in the many cultures of the Spanish-speaking world, sharing information and insights with their classmates in class discussions and brief presentations. The goal is to combine the use of real-world texts with linguistically limited tasks ...

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