Posted by: SSU Lingua Franca | December 13, 2016

Content Language Integrated Project Based Learning

Content Language Integrated Project Based Learning: A Study of Hispanic American Literature through Publication

By Joshua Brown

After studying in the region of Asturias, Spain and being the first Salem State University student to be sponsored by the Italian government through the SITE (Study Intercultural Training Experience) program in Lombardy, Italy, I did an investigation on the implementation of Multilingual Education in a senior seminar. Additionally, in a directed study of Italian, I researched the use of Content Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) in the public education system of Lombardy. CLIL, or Content Language Integrated Learning, is a modern approach to foreign language acquisition that focuses not on the target language as the sole subject of study, but on its acquisition through its utilization in a specified content area such as Literature or History.

For the past three years, I have worked at Darrow School, a private boarding school in the Berkshires and Hudson Valley of upstate New York. During my first year at Darrow, I taught Spanish in a very traditional immersion setting which consisted of four Spanish classes focused on the study of grammar and lexicon. However, after my first year I proposed a change in Darrow School’s Spanish curriculum to reflect the research that I did on Multilingual Education and CLIL pedagogy at Salem State University.

My proposal, which was accepted and implemented, was to eliminate the grammar and vocabulary focused Spanish Immersion 3 and Spanish Immersion 4 courses, and to replace these courses with two CLIL sequences; one sequence in Hispanic American Literature and another in the Spanish Civil War and the dictatorship of General Franco.

Through my studies of Spanish, Italian, and French, the World Languages and Cultures department of SSU instilled in me a sense of curiosity in the study of Foreign Language Education, and its implementation around the world. It also prepared me very well for my current research and implementation in the incorporation in these classes of the pedagogies of Content Language Integrated Learning, which I mentioned, and that of Project Based Learning (PBL). PBL is a pedagogy that asks students to create a project that is student driven, incorporates design thinking, and creates an artifact that is based on a real world problem.

This semester in Hispanic-American Literature I, my students have studied the first examples of Hispanic-American writing through examining Popol Vuh, letters by Christopher Columbus, a recounting by Bartolomé de las Casas, and the poetry of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. To incorporate PBL, the students have been researching how to publish their original works based on our class readings. All students write an assortment of analytical and comparative essays, as well as original poems and other creative pieces. The aim of this learning experience is to understand how we can bring these original pieces to a larger audience through the use of publication.

The following poem is an example of such work. It is based on our class’ interpretation of the poems and writings of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. The class identified Sor Juana’s use of symbolism and imagery, expressed through sentimental themes, as an important point of inspiration in the study of her literature. For this reason, all students in the class decided to create original pieces of poetry, utilizing a theme expressed in the writing of Sor Juana and creating symbolic language that evokes imagery.

El Laberinto de Confusión

By Ewen McManus

En el laberinto de la mente
Se tiene que escoger;
Quizás derecha,
Quizás izquierda,
Con cualquiera se va a perder

Se hace más y más
Y la música se puede oír;
Tan disonante,
Que ruidoso,
El caos se puede sentir

En las manos hay un bramante
Que se intenta enderezar.
Cambia en hiedra,
Con tantos espinos
Y esto le hace gritar

La hiedra crece más y más larga
Con su fuerza se enreda,
Hasta que todo el piso
Está cubierto
Con una red de la gran hiedra

Una sopa de romanescu
Se trata de cocinar,
Pero cuando se mezclan
Los ingredientes
En sí mismo se comienza a dudar

Caminando en círculos grandes
El camino un espiral;
¿Será que estoy perdido?
¿O quizá sea paranoia?
Siempre se preguntará.

Con la red de hiedra llena,
El cielo se comienza a nublar
Todo es gris,
No hay claridad,
Por fin, hay oscuridad.

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