My Expectations:

Above all, what you are expected to do in this class is to engage with (that is to think critically and creatively about, and be prepared to discuss) the texts.  The main aim of all the various forms of assessment is to test the extent of your engagement, and to encourage you to articulate the results of that engagement in a variety of formats.  Hence, the more effort you put in to reading the texts closely and critically, and formulating your individual responses and arguments in a manner that can be presented persuasively, the better your final grade is likely to be.

Though knowledge (of historical context and secondary criticism, for instance) and linguistic skills may be useful aids to the formulation of thoughtful argument, this course does not aim directly to test either of these skills.  In short, you should not fear if at the start of the semester you feel either that your Spanish is not up to par, or that your background knowledge of Latin American literature and culture is patchy.  This course builds on SPAN220, and assumes no more knowledge or ability than that course imparts.

All I want you to do is read the set texts carefully, think about your reading, and take your own position as a result.

Here, therefore, are my golden rules:

  1. To engage, you must be present.  So attend, attend, attend.  And turn up on time.
  2. You must also have covered the material.  So read the texts.  But this is not a translation class: you are not expected to understand every word, every sentence, or even every paragraph or page.  It is much better to have come to class having read 20 pages (and understood 60%) than having read 2 pages (looking up every single unfamiliar word).
  3. You must also be prepared to articulate your thoughts, questions, uncertainties, opinions, likes, dislikes etc.  So write your weekly blog entries.  These may be in either English or Spanish and between 300 and 500 words.  Spend no more than half an hour on each response: but be sure to spend that half an hour.  Forcing yourself to reflect on your reading will prepare you for class and kick-start revision.
  4. Finally, you must keep at it.  But do not expect to grasp everything immediately.  (If you did, there would be no point to the class.)  So communicate any questions or problems you may have, either in class discussion, or via email, or in my office hours.

The golden rules again: 1) attend, 2) read, 3) write, and 4) communicate.

On language: the class will be conducted in Spanish (and both small and large group discussion is to take place in Spanish), but it is not a test of your language ability.  Do not worry about making errors.

Blog entries may be in English or Spanish.  Spanish majors should write their examination answers in Spanish; other majors are encouraged, but not required, to do likewise.

The timetable for each week will ordinarily be as follows:

  • Mondays: general discussion of the week’s reading
  • Wednesdays: examination of specific passages
  • Fridays: conclusion to the week’s discussion; preparation for the following week

You must have completed the week’s reading and written your blog post by the end of Sunday.
You must have written your comments on two classmates’ blogs by the end of Tuesday.

Good luck.  And just do it.

Leave a response

Your response:

Spam prevention powered by Akismet