Applications in Modern Languages Syllabus






INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Jennifer Formwalt


CELL PHONE: (706) 429-4962

OFFICE: 305A Dunlap Hall

CLASS TIME: 1.30-3p MTWRF/ Mandatory Film Screening R 7-9p

CLASS LOCATION: Please refer to course calendar and detailed syllabus, the location of class meetings will vary.


REQUIRED TEXTS: *There is no required textbook for this course, students will access materials via D2L, the online course management system, designed for this section.  Students will be provided with access to an iPad 2 during the program.  The device must be returned at the end of the semester as-is, do not erase any downloaded applications or internet browser history. The iPad grant coordinator must have access to this information in order to evaluate how these devices were used during the program to promote language learning. The following apps have already been added to student iPad devices: Soundcloud, WordPress, Youtube, Skype, and Puffin browser, iMovie, Garage Band.


COURSE DESCRIPTION (as appears in UNG course catalog): Allows students an opportunity to directly apply the skills and knowledge inherent in the intensive language situations provided during the Summer Immersion experience.


COURSE OBJECTIVES: This course is designed to complement the 1001-2 content instruction during the Spanish Summer Immersion Program through interactive lessons led by faculty and native speakers that present aspects of Spanish and Latin American culture in context.  The goal of this component of the Immersion experience is to prepare beginning Spanish students to communicate effectively with native Spanish speakers in a variety of contexts by building student intercultural communicative competency.  Intercultural communicative competency is understood as the ability to reflect critically on the similarities and differences that characterize the student’s culture and the cultures of Spain and Latin America in order to better understand and appreciate intercultural experiences and cultural differences.


METHODS OF INSTRUCTION: During class meetings, students will participate in authentic cultural experiences and discuss these experiences with native Spanish speakers. Students will be provided with media tools to further investigate themes that interest them and create projects that reflect on these experiences and the knowledge acquired, using their Spanish language skills to synthesize and present ideas that bring their own cultural perspective into dialogue with the cultures studied.


PARTICIPATION: Students should arrive to class prepared to participate in the lesson.  Please refer to the detailed syllabus and course calendar on D2L for instructions regarding preparatory homework assignments, the designated location of the day’s class meeting (locations will vary), as well as appropriate attire for the day’s activities. This class meets M-F from 1.30-3p. Students are also required to attend a weekly film screening on Thursday evenings from 7-9p. Students are expected to prepare for the film screening and the post-screening discussion session by reviewing the worksheet distributed in class the day before.  Worksheets provide an overview of the film narrative and information about the director, as well as relevant vocabulary and discussion questions to consider while watching the film.




WEEK 1 THEATRE: A series of improvisational acting exercises to warm you up to the immersion environment. Starts with miming and rhythm activities and gradually progresses to simple speaking games, ending the week with games that use more imaginative and expressive language (Class meets in yoga studio. Wear loose and comfortable clothing.)



WEEK 2 MUSIC: Week opens with a screening of the 1967 Cuban documentary Y tenemos sabor, featuring a catalog of traditional Afro-Cuban instruments and a contextualized and unassuming portrayal of “danceable” Cuban music, including traditional, folk, and popular genres (Shott Auditorium) Lessons throughout the rest of

the week will present and model traditional dances from Spain and Latin America: salsa, sevillanas, tango, and choreographed pop-songs (Class meets in Memorial Hall Gym)

THURSDAY FILM: LA YUMA (Shott Auditorium)


WEEK 3: SOCCER: Week opens with a screening of the documentary I Speak Soccer (Shott Auditorium) Class meets on drill field to play soccer during the rest of the week.  On Sunday we will participate in the Annual International Soccer Cup and compete with the Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Korean, and German Summer Programs.

THURSDAY FILM: ANTES DEL ESTRENO (Library Special Collections Room)


WEEK 4 COOKING: Week opens with a screening of the Mexican film Como agua para chocolate (Shott Auditorium) Throughout the rest of the week we will meet in the Community Kitchen at the Suites Dormitory to prepare traditional Spanish, Mexican, Peruvian and Colombian dishes and hear stories from guest presenters that hail from these countries.

THURSDAY FILM: LA ISLA INTERIOR (Library Special Collections Room)


WEEK 5 REVIEW/ SYNTHESIS: Week opens with a screening of Vol. 1 of the PBS documentary “Puentes” about Latin Roots of Rock n Roll (Shott Auditorium).  The rest of the week will be dedicated to rehearsing and preparing for our final dance and variety show, to be held in the gym on Friday evening.

THURSDAY FILM: MARIMBAS DEL INFIERNO (Library Special Collections Room)






FILM REVIEWS (5= 15%) Using the themes and questions proposed on the corresponding worksheet to help direct your attention to general and particular aspects of the film narrative and cinematography, write a 150-200 word film review.  Your review should use concrete examples to compare and contrast your own life experiences with the struggles faced by the films’ protagonists.  You may infer information about the socio-cultural context in which the film was created from evidence presented in the film; however, you should refrain from making generalizations about the nation or culture based on the film’s story.  Your review should be typed and turned into the corresponding Dropbox on D2L before 8am the following Monday.


BLOG ASSIGNMENTS (15= 30%) Students will design a personal blog on and post 3 weekly entries of 150 words reflecting on current events in Spain and Latin America presented through reading assignments, documentary films to be screened outside of class (via youtube and Hulu Plus) and cultural activities as experienced during class meetings. Students should post links to these entries on the weekly D2L discussion board by Midnight on Sunday. When referring to readings or films that were not assigned in class, students must cite their sources.  Students are encouraged to upload and share photos from group activities on their blog. Please refer to the weekly writing rubric posted on D2L for specific information about evaluative criteria.  As the semester progresses, your writing is expected to mature.  Weekly rubrics are available to guide you in challenging yourself to incorporate more complex grammatical structures and new vocabulary in your writing.


ETHNOGRAPHIC INTERVIEWS (2= 30%) Students will complete an ethnographic interview with a native Spanish speaker, record the interview audio on the Soundcloud iPad app and post the link to the corresponding D2L discussion board on or before the specified due dates (mid-semester, end of the semester).  The interview should elaborate an aspect of culture that has piqued the student’s interest and interview subjects should be able to discuss the topic with the student at length during the 10 minute interview.  Interviewing techniques will be rehearsed in class through role-play exercises and guided questions prior to your interview appointment. The in-class interview workshop will provide you with the communicative skills necessary to improvise questions that build on interviewee responses and appropriately exhaust the discussion topic.


FINAL MULTIMEDIA PROJECT (25%) Students will prepare a final multimedia project via imovie that compiles interview clips, photographs, and video footage of program activities and events during the summer program, featuring a voice-over narration (see D2L for links to related iMovie tutorials).  The narration should synthesize the cultural content learned and analyze how a particular experience led them to  the acquisition of a communication strategy deemed useful for a future study abroad experience. The latter should briefly narrate a specific experience that resulted in the acquisition of strategies to inquire, assess, and understand different cultural perspectives. These strategies may serve a variety of ends, including (but not limited to): communicating one’s own perspective as a unique and valid, rather than conflicting, point of view; identifying and articulating a shared value; or relating how a cultural experience led to the acquisition of a value.


Here is an example of an experience/ strategy that allowed me to respect my Spanish friends’ appreciation of bullfighting as a different and equally valid perspective:

While living in Spain, I was invited to Pamplona during the yearly San Fermínes festival. Horrified by the amount of blood shed during the first bullfight I saw, I felt a judgment arise within me about the barbaric nature of the ritual. Rather than accepting this one-sided point of view as fact, I asked my friends questions about the culture of bullfighting, which has a long history as tradition and identity in Spanish culture.  As I learned about how the fighting bulls (toros de lidia) are raised in very humane conditions and the precision and skill necessary to be a bullfighter, I was reminded of a similar experience being raised in the South by Yankee parents unfamiliar with the rules and restrictions placed on deer-hunting practices. Learning about these rules from experienced hunters helped me understand the practice in a context of tradition and ecology and respect it as a sport and art in spite of my parent’s rejection of its value. This comparison helped me understand why bullfighting is celebrated in Spain and valued by my friends in spite of my initial skepticism.


Here is an example of an experience that allowed me to see cultural similarities and led me to identifying a value I shared with my host family from a trip I took to Colombia:

Growing up, my family made time on Sunday evening to prepare and eat a special meal together. After, we would watch a movie, sing songs, or play a card game.  This is a tradition that is commonplace in many family households in Colombia.  When I spent a summer there recently as a guest in a friend’s family home, I was delighted to learn that they hosted a weekly family gathering on Sunday afternoons. Every week, a large and varied group of extended family and friends would arrive from all over the city to eat, talk, play dominoes, sing, dance, and/or watch a soccer game together.  In addition to enjoying the company of their guests, (I have an extroverted nature and delight in the opportunity to meet and talk to new people,) the weekly event brought back fond memories of warm family moments from my childhood.  I was thus able to identify and articulate a value that I shared with the host family: the refreshing and enjoyable nature of setting aside time every Sunday afternoon/ evening to relax, eat a special meal, and converse with others before returning to work the following week.


Here is a final example of an experience in another culture that led to the acquisition of a shared value:

Growing up, I did not enjoy team sports, especially soccer. While living in Spain, I was invited to play soccer with friends in a neighboring park on various occasions, and had habituated myself to refusing the offer. One afternoon however, some of my particularly persuasive Spanish girlfriends encouraged me to join a friendly match.  In spite of being an inferior player, I thoroughly enjoyed the fresh air, endorphins, and felt my fear of jokes about my poor skills fade away as I discovered that all participants, from the most skilled athlete to the novice player, were subject to friendly gibes and occasional ribbing from teammates and opposing team members. Through the experience, I learned that with practice, I could train my body to control the ball and that by paying attention to how others played, I could rely on my intuition to anticipate their moves and effectively engage in my team’s strategies and help them score goals. This refreshing new experience led to the acquisition of a value and a framework for relating to others in play.  The rules of soccer were the same; the experience, on the other hand, was markedly different.  As a child, the violently competitive attitudes of my peers on the soccer field made it impossible for me to progress as a player, resulting in my complete and total rejection of its value as a recreational activity.  However, as an adult in Spain, the playful and friendly attitude of my teammates encouraged me to learn to improve my athletic and intuitive capacities by playing soccer and enjoy the game.

Pragda Film Festival

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This summer the Spanish Summer Language Institute received a partial grant to hold a Spanish Film Festival featuring 5 contemporary films from Spain and Latin America. This series was made possible with the support of Pragda, the Secretary of State Culture of Spain, and its Program for Cultural Cooperation with United States Universities in collaboration with the North Georgia College 2012 Spanish Summer Language Institute and the Department of Modern Languages.

I prepared the students to discuss general themes from the films with a worksheet that introduced the film context, related vocabulary, and questions to draw their attention to general and particular aspects of the film narrative and cinematography. After screening the films on Thursday evening, the students led discussion sessions, exchanging ideas with other audience members, which included members of the North Georgia faculty and the larger local community. Following the discussion, students were to write a 200-word review of the film to be published on their MLAN 1950 blog. The assignment instructions encouraged students to draw on their own lives and experience as they reflected on the film’s themes, using concrete examples to guide their commentary and discussion of similarities and differences between their own lives and the struggles faced by the films’ protagonists. Students were aware that they were not to make generalizations about a nation or culture based on the film. The series included films from Guatemala, Nicaragua, Spain, and Argentina. They explored themes of cultural fusion in music, the struggle for empowerment and autonomy in a context of poverty, artistic collaboration and issues raised by mental health problems.

*Discussion sessions were conducted in both English and Spanish, allowing students to think through their impressions and response to the film in dialogue with audience members from a variety of disciplinary orientations. According to recent research, allowing students to compare and contrast cultural differences in the L1 allows them to express a more complex understanding and appreciation of these differences. An advanced understanding and appreciation of cultural differences has been shown to increase L2 Learner ability to engage and interact with native speakers during a future study-abroad experience (ACTFL Annals Spring 2012).


Please join us for a series of New Films from Spain and Latin America on Thursday evenings from 7-9p. Chico y Rita (June 28) and La Yuma (July 5) will be shown at Shott Auditorium. Antes del Estreno (July 12), La isla interior (July 12), and Las marimbas del infierno (July 26) will be shown in the Special Collections Room 382 at the Library and Technology Center.

All films are subtitled and the series is free and open to the public.

Thursday June 28

Shott Auditorium

Watch the trailer: Chico y Rita

Thursday July 5

Shott Auditorium

Watch the trailer: La Yuma

La Yuma Worksheet

Thursday July 12

Library and Technology Center, Special Collections Room 382

Watch the trailer: Antes del estreno

Antes del estreno Worksheet

Thursday July 19

Library and Technology Center, Special Collections Room 382

Watch the trailer: La isla interior

Thursday July 26

Library and Technology Center, Special Collections Room 382

Watch the trailer: Las marimbas del infierno

Marimbas del infierno Worksheet

This series is made possible with the support of Pragda, the Secretary of State Culture of Spain, and its Program for Cultural Cooperation with United States Universities in collaboration with the North Georgia College 2012 Spanish Summer Language Institute and the Department of Modern Languages.

List of Participating Colleges and Universities

21st Century Skills applied

National Standards for Foreign Languages: Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, Communities

Modes of Communication: Interpretive, Presentational

Information, Media, and Technology Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, Media Literacy, Technology Literacy