Early in my career, I taught Spanish 101 and 102 as a night class at the local community college. It was 3 hours of class, two nights per week for a full semester… and it paid $1200. 6 hours per week plus planning and grading time x 15ish weeks… It was a lot for very little money! So when my first baby came along, I decided to let the night class go!
A few years later, I began teaching in a new district. This district offered college credit for taking Spanish at the high school level! No pay but also… no extra work! My students just come to my class and get credit for the college level courses!
For the first few years, there weren’t really any requirements. The grade was simply based on seat time. When the community college hired an on site faculty member to teach Spanish 101, 102, and 203, 204, we finally were able to sit down and come up with some basic requirements for what the goals of the courses should be!
I was lucky to be able to share MY classroom with the Spanish teacher from the community college! Our program was growing so fast that we had more students than I could teach! So she came over and taught a section of Spanish 2 in my room, during my planning period.
By working together in this capacity, she and I were able to talk about what proficiency looks like and how we could set goals that allow for students to demonstrate proficiency over isolated grammar/vocabulary skills. I wish EVERY dual credit instructor could have the opportunity to work side by side with their college level colleague! I think we learned so much from each other during those two years that we taught together!
The program continued to grow and soon we had to hire a second Spanish teacher and I lost my college buddy, Shawn, to another state!!! I still miss her!
My students, at the end of Spanish 3, receive credit for Spanish 101. At the end of Spanish 4, they receive credit for Spanish 102. We are currently in talks with the community college about the possibility of offering credit for 203 and 204 to any student who earns the Global or Illinois State Seal of Biliteracy at the Intermediate High proficiency level as well. (A few years ago they got credit for all 4 courses but it was literally seat time based…)
What I love about offering the college credit this way is this:
- Data shows us that the NATIONAL AVERAGE of proficiency after 4 years is in the Intermediate Low range for writing and speaking (based on the last two years’ reports on the AAPPL website)
- By granting ALL students credit for 101 and 102, I can say with certainty that at the end of Spanish 3 or 4 they are definitely hitting the Novice High/Intermediate Low proficiency level. (EVERYONE… even the slower processors who are not flying as high as some peers) I feel 100% comfortable that this isn’t just a “seat time” credit. These kids are able to perform at the level of 101-102 students no doubt.
- With the possibility of doing 203-204 as credit for earning the Global or State Seal of Biliteracy, I feel 100% confident that those students would be ready to step into any 300 level college course and be successful. It would not be seat time but truly their proficiency that placed them there!
- Each teacher in our community college district can use the methods that they’re the most comfortable with and each student then is able to demonstrate proficiency in ways that are in line with how they were taught in the classroom!
- MORE KIDS TAKE UPPER LEVEL SPANISH!!! If I were required to teach a heavily grammar based syllabus, my enrollments would dip back down to pre-acquisition driven instruction levels! In the past, I had 100 Spanish 1s and then 10 Spanish 4s. Today we have 100 in Spanish 1 and more than 50 in Spanish 3 and 4! The retention is amazing!
These are my course syllabi for Spanish 101/102 at the community college. Hopefully they will help if you are looking for ways to implement content based units and upper level discussions in an acquisition driven classroom environment!