Intensive Spanish Language Courses in Spain: A Case Study

By Daniel Madrid, Stephen Hughes and José Luis Ortega-Martín.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In this study we offer quantitative data on the progress made by 70 students from the USA who took part in an intensive immersion course in Spanish as a second language, involving 175 hours of formal instruction and semi-formal instruction through programmed visits. We obtain results in linguistic and cultural competence based on three pre-tests applied before instruction and three post-tests employed after four weeks of study.

We briefly describe a) the intensive language training course, b) the initial language and cultural competence levels of students based on the pre-tests, c) the activities and study techniques employed by students during the 175 hour programme, and d) the results of the post-tests applied in order to judge the progress of students on finishing the course.

The results of the post-tests appear to show a 50% reduction in initial errors after four weeks of intensive language training. Furthermore, positive attitudes are developed both towards the course and the socio-cultural surroundings of the country in which study takes place. Finally, knowledge about the society, history and social norms of the L2 context increases considerably and appears to contribute to the social adaptation of students, their self-confidence and social integration. As in other studies, it is possible to see that the quality of teaching and learning is often more important than the quantity of time spent in class. Among the factors which have been detected as having an important contribution towards the quality of learning are the use of the target language as a means of instruction and various macro-environmental factors such as living in the L2 country and the opportunities to communicate in the context of study.

Keywords: Intensive Language Training, Study Techniques

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 4, Issue 6, pp.127-142. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.214MB).

Dr. Daniel Madrid

University of Granada, Granada, Spain

Daniel Madrid Daniel Madrid is a full-time teacher-trainer at the Faculty of Education of the University of Granada, giving pre-service and in-service EFL methodology courses for primary teachers. He has also given a large number of courses and seminars on TEFL. He has promoted and coordinated several students exchange programmes with European universities and has published a considerable number of articles and books on TEFL. He has also produced a wide variety of teaching materials for Primary, Secondary education and University students, and has directed and carried out research projects on the young foreign language learner, classroom interaction and evaluation procedures in EFL, the effect of the teacher’s individual characteristics on his/her teaching performance, the use of the Internet as a curricular resource, racial and social discrimination in the EFL class, etc.

Stephen Hughes

University of Granada, Granada, Spain

Dr. José Luis Ortega-Martín

University of Granada, Granada, Spain

Dr. José Luis Ortega Martín : Lecturer Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Granada (Spain); Vicedean in charge of Intnal Relations; Secretary of the local committee LearningConference 05; Headteacher of a School for 10 years.

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