9780130929143: Impresiones

Impresiones presents readers with a new approach to learning a second language. Readers think and learn about Hispanic cultures and the Spanish language through activities that integrate cultural information and communication strategies. Two central themes are the cultural and dialectical contrasts among Spanish-speaking regions; these themes are used to analyze the vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and practical functions of Spanish. This truly culture-oriented Spanish book can serve as an excellent reference tool to those who wish to learn Spanish as a second language, or who require the use of Spanish at their places of employment.

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From the Back Cover:

Based on the most up-to-date second language acquisition research, the active learning approach of Imrpresiones leads students to discover their communicative needs and then leads them to learn and apply the appropriate communicative response.

FEATURES
  • Broad and deep emphasis on cultural diversity
  • Contextual presentation of vocabulary now applied to the presentation of grammar
  • Explicit focus on pragmatic functions
  • Strong emphasis on the four skills with systematic attention to strategies
  • Thematically integrated and thorough use of video in Student Text and Activities Manual
  • Complete Student Activities Manual—with gradebook—available electronically in a variety of Course Management Systems platforms

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

Drawing on up-to-date research in second language acquisition, Impresiones is a complete language program that motivates students to take responsibility for their own learning by making them active participants in the learning process. Students learn to think critically about cultural, communicative, and grammatical aspects of the Spanish language as they discover the richness and diversity of the Spanish-speaking world and compare its cultures with their own.

Highlights of the Program

Active learning

Instead of passively absorbing ready-made rules, then only subsequently moving to practice activities, students discover grammar rules and communicative functions on their own through carefully sequenced activities. For each major linguistic topic, students are first immersed in a communicative context, and then guided to focus and reflect on the forms being used. By the end of the process, they have inferred the appropriate rules for themselves and are prepared to use them in meaningful communication.

Linguistic and cultural diversity

Students learn to appreciate cultural diversity and to understand the many different ways in which culture shapes our attitudes and views of the world. They move beyond stereotypes to understand the fascinating richness of Hispanic cultures and gain awareness of the interesting varieties of the Spanish language.

The Impresiones program includes an original video, Las impresiones de Guadalupe, thoroughly integrated with the text itself, that has been carefully designed both to interest students and to reflect the pedagogical goals of the program as a whole. The events in each episode are related to the corresponding chapter's theme, and the carefully scripted—yet natural—language reflects the vocabulary and grammar that students will have learned up to that point in the course, as well as cultural and pragmatic topics treated in the text. Consistent with the program's emphasis on active learning, activities in the text encourage students to observe and reflect on what they see in the video to further expand their knowledge of Spanish.

Detailed, color-coded annotations

The annotations in black, simplify lesson planning by helping instructors navigate through the many supplemental resources that make up the Impresiones program. They allow instructors to see at a glance all materials on a given topic that can be used in the classroom or assigned as homework. The annotations in blue provide answers and offer guidance on using the student text effectively in the classroom.

How does Impresiones achieve its objectives?

Impresiones presents learners with themes and topics that contrast cultural perspectives and develop in students an appreciation of their own culture and the cultures of others. In addition, it systematically presents and explicitly analyzes cultural similarities and differences among the many regions of the Spanish-speaking world, including basic dialectal features.

Impresiones does more than develop students' cultural awareness and understanding of Spanish-speaking groups. Impresiones contrasts and blends the functional and social uses of Spanish with basic linguistic structures, resulting in a rich, dynamic, and successful learning experience. For this purpose, key grammar points are introduced in the context of functional uses of the language and later developed in integrated activities. Moreover, every chapter features both oral and written communication strategies that learners can put to immediate use in and out of class.

Chapter Organization

Vocabulario en contexto

A series of chained tasks that promote the active and critical processing of the lexicon (picture-based thematic vocabulary for the chapter).

Intercambios comunicativos

An explicit analysis of the pragmatics of interaction with a reinforcement of vocabulary (listening and video activities).

Enfoque cultural

An analysis of specific Spanish-speaking regions (critical-thinking activities from the students' own cultural perspectives).

Gramatica en contexto

Focus on specific linguistic structures) within a communicative context.

Integracion comunicativa

An integrated storyline video, with pre-viewing, viewing, and post-viewing activities, follows the cultural experiences of a Mexican student who studies abroad in the United States.

Interacion comunicativa

An integration of structure, vocabulary, and function (with special emphasis on reading, writing, and audio activities).

Comparaoiones culturales

Selected original literary pieces from the regions highlighted in this section contextualize the analysis of specific grammar topics or content areas introduced in the chapter. Additionally, a section on dialectal variations serves to compare differences among Spanish-speaking groups.

Diferencias dialectales

A short description of well-known regional variations to show the richness of the Spanish language. Through brief directed listening activities, students experience different native speakers of Spanish.

Video: Las impresiones de Guadalupe

A integrated storyline video, with pre-viewing, viewing, and post-viewing activities, follows the cultural experiences of a Mexican student who studies abroad in the United States.

Conceptual Basis of Impresiones

Impresiones has been conceptualized as a new approach for the teaching of Spanish along three different lines: 1) the teaching and learning of culture, 2) the development of sociolinguistic skills, and 3) the teaching and learning of grammar.

Language-in-culture orientation

Impresiones integrates cultural information throughout the majority of sections of every chapter. Cultural similarities and differences are contrasted and explicitly analyzed to gain understanding of Spanish-speaking cultures and the way culture is represented in language. As a point of departure for the development of pedagogical activities, Impresiones uses the rationale that "teachers can provide learning activities appropriate to grade level that explore the process of stereotyping and the role that stereotypes play in forming and sustaining prejudice" (National Standards for Foreign Language Learning, pp. 48-49). This approach is embedded in the analysis of the relationships between practices and perspectives (Standard 2.1) and products and perspectives (Standard 2.2) of the Spanish cultures.

A unique feature of the book is that it contextualizes language form and language functions with topics from both the target language culture and the student's own cultural setting. This is done to (a) provide students with the vocabulary with which they can communicate and share with Spanish-speaking people their own cultural background and heritage, and (b) ease the transition of students toward understanding new perspectives on topics they may have already analyzed from within their own cultural perspectives.

An explicit focus on the variety of Spanish-speaking cultures

The division of cultural information by country follows the theoretical rationale proposed by several—especially Latin American—dialectologists (e.g., Lipski, 1994). On the other hand, macrodivisions of the Spanish-speaking world (e.g., Southern Cone, Afro-Hispanic culture, U.S.-influenced varieties) are also presented in the chapters that explicitly deal with such geopolitical distributions. In terms of the sequence of presentation of the countries, the first few chapters of Impresiones provide students with information about the countries that have had the most immediate influence in the United States through immigrant and native populations. Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic together are presented in Chapters 3, 4, 5, and 6 respectively. Chapters 1 and 2 focus on Hispanics in the United States.

An explicit focus on the sociocultural appropriateness of language form

The rapid demographic evolution of multiculturalism in the United States and the world requires a more explicit and comprehensive approach toward the teaching of pragmatics, culture, and dialectal differences. To reflect this, the tasks in Impresiones introduce a wide range of varieties of Spanish, promote the appropriate sociocultural use of Spanish through the manipulation of various combinations of interlocutors, topics, and purposes (e.g., formal and informal settings, interlocutors of different ages, gender, and backgrounds), and present linguistic structures in association with an analysis of the appropriate sociocultural uses of linguistic form (e.g., generalizability to other settings, probability of use, and relevance to learners' communicative needs). For instance, key dialectal differences are explicitly presented in as simple and clear a way as possible so that the beginning-level student can start to develop an awareness of language differences across different Spanish-speaking cultures.

A ration integration of meaning and form

The meaning versus form (or fluency versus accuracy) debate is no longer a discriminating factor among teaching approaches because current second language acquisition research shows that both meaning and form appear to be essential. In turn, Impresiones places an emphasis on when and how to focus students' attention on form and meaning. Furthermore, Impresiones tries to reach a balance between functional and structural accuracy to eventually help students achieve higher levels of linguistic complexity: It "pushes" learners to communicate and interact in ever-increasingly appropriate and complex ways. For instance, a learner who accurately conjugates verbs with the tu form and who speaks quite fluently may still be using the inappropriate form if the formal usted form is necessary. Througho...

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