SIL on the Field
Spanish-as-a-Second Language Textbook Series
Country: Peru, South America
SIL Literacy and Education Consultants participate in various activities and stages for the development of a wide variety of instructional materials. A second language textbook series in Peru is one example.
Three SIL members*, working with a team of Peruvian colleagues, designed a special course to help speakers of ethnolinguistic groups of Peru learn Spanish, their national language. Minority language speakers who want to advance in their education are always disadvantaged when they are unable to communicate or study in the majority language. In South America the situation is intensified because the grammatical structure of Spanish is virtually opposite to that of the ethnolinguistic minority languages; thus, the language-learning challenge for minority speakers is dramatically increased. No commercially available course addresses the problems that these second language learners face.
The present Spanish-as-a-Second Language course consists of a series of five textbooks with innovative content developed and subjected to testing over a number of years. The intended audience is minority language teacher trainees or university applicants; the goal is to enable them to read and write Spanish at higher levels than are normally required of language learners. These students already possess a degree of oral ability in Spanish but usually lack refined reading, writing and grammatical skills. Beginning from the beginning, the books explain items that Spanish first-language speakers take for granted but that minority language speakers who are learning Spanish may not understand. The series carries students up to mid-level (business level, or Level 3 on the Foreign Service Institute Scale) and helps them become independent learners. Instructions are included for each exercise and drill so that instructors who are unfamiliar with the textbooks nevertheless can use the lessons correctly.
Universities of Peru, desirous of helping their minority students be more successful in their studies, have turned to these SIL developed materials. Orientation was offered in March 2007 to language teachers of four universities in Lima to use the materials.
- The first four books of the series, Castellano A, B, C and D are already published. The fifth, Castellano E is in preparation.
- The series is constructed from an outline developed as an M.A. thesis by one of the authors. Six sets of Spanish-as-a-second language textbooks were selected, one designed for young children, some for high school use, others for college level. The teaching progression of each set was outlined and then combined into a master list which progressed from initial to advanced levels. Based on the master list, thematic teaching units were developed each of which addresses listening, speaking, reading, writing, grammar and culture. Academic vocabulary items are also included.
- The authors believe that even though the master list of instructional components is designed for Spanish, it is generic enough that it could be useful to an educator needing to develop a language course in a situation where no second language textbooks exist, especially if the target language belongs to the Indo-European language family. For further information, contact author firstname.lastname@example.org
*Developers: Patricia M. Davis, Ph.D., Luisa Pinto, Lic., Mary Hovey, B.A. All have training and experience in teaching Spanish-as-a-second language. Information and photographs supplied by the authors.
The following sites offer descriptions in both Spanish and English. For textbook table of contents, sample pages, and complete free downloadable files:
- Castellano A: lecciones de castellano como segundo idioma (Spanish)
- Castellano B: lecciones de castellano como segundo idioma (Spanish)
- Castellano C: lecciones de castellano como segundo idioma (Spanish)
- Castellano D: lecciones de castellano como segundo idioma (Spanish)
For additional information about educational publications by SIL in Peru see: http://www.sil.org/americas/peru/html/nav/pubIndex.html or contact: email@example.com
See also: Literacy and Bilingual Education