According to the U.S. Census Bureau there were an estimated 46.9 million Spanish speakers in the U.S. in 2008, and by 2050 there will be 132.7 million, nearly one third (32.4%) of the population. The Acceso project, a collaboration between the Spanish Basic Language Program and the Ermal Garinger Academic Resource Center, is based on the conviction that language teaching must evolve to meet these rapidly changing local, national, and global social realities. It endeavors to answer the call of the Modern Language Association for innovative language curricula that enable students to develop translingual and transcultural competence, the ability not only to comprehend the written and spoken language, but also “to comprehend speakers of the target language as members of foreign societies and to grasp themselves as Americans—that is, as members of a society that is foreign to others…[and] to relate to fellow members of their own society who speak languages other than English.” By placing the creation and implementation of this new curriculum at the center of the Spanish Basic Language Program, Acceso also endeavors to answer the MLA’s call for graduate programs to provide “substantive training in language teaching and in the use of new technologies.”*
Acceso is intended as a complete, interactive curriculum for intermediate-level learners of Spanish. The materials on this site are provided freely to the public and are intended as a replacement for commercial textbooks, which are generally ill-suited to the learning outcomes now considered crucial to successful language study. These materials are supplemented by an online workbook built on the MySpanishLab platform of Pearson Education, Inc., as well as detailed lesson plans, rubrics for the evaluation of student work, and reliable instruments for measuring student progress and learning outcomes. Instructors interested in adopting the program are asked to contact Professor Amy Rossomondo for details.
The specific short-term objectives of Acceso are to:
- create a cost-effective and innovative, web-based curriculum that answers the MLA’s call for the development of transcultural and translingual competence among language learners.
- provide hands-on training for graduate teaching assistants to use technology in creating and refining this curriculum.
- provide an online forum for instructors to collaborate and discuss innovative pedagogical approaches to language teaching and learning; and
- provide outreach and support materials to secondary and post-secondary institutions that wish to implement the Acceso curriculum and to contribute to its development.
The longer-term objectives of Acceso are to:
- foster collaboration with other institutions through our wiki-based content development area and discussion fora.
- provide both opportunity and data for large-scale quantitative and qualitative inquiry into the extent to which specific goals laid out by the MLA are accomplished.
- serve as a model that can be readily applied to the study of other languages.
*Modern Language Association Ad Hoc Committee on Foreign Languages, “Foreign Languages and Higher Education: New Structures for a Changed World.” Profession 2007, pp. 234-245. [ http://www.mlajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1632/prof.2007.2007.1.234 ]