Article based on SPA 304

“Encuentros con el español:” A case study of critical service learning in the Latino community

By Alberto Bruzos-Moro

This chapter, published in the AAUSC 2017 Volume, presents a pedagogical model that combines service learning with course materials on Spanish language in the United States to promote critical reflection on the social and political dimension of Spanish. In order to situate this model within larger debates, I examine the points of connection between social pedagogies and approaches to second language education that bring the social dimension of language to the foreground, blending language learning with the development of an understanding of the cultural, social, political and ideological aspects of language; I also consider the intersection between critical approaches to second language education and service learning. I describe the course curriculum, organized around five thematic units that examined different aspects of Spanish language in the United States, and outline pedagogical tools and practices, including a sample lesson on the immigrant condition. Finally, I use qualitative data gathered through weekly service-learning journals to consider the impact of the course on the students’ understanding of Spanish language and their own identities as learners.

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