New Online MA Course, “Art of Spain & Mexico in the L2 Classroom,” spring 2023

This spring, 2023, the Department of Modern Languages is offering three MA-level graduate courses online so that High School language teachers in rural Kansas — and across the US! — may earn graduate credit hours without traveling to campus. These courses are ideal for teachers who are working towards dual-certification, who are (or will be) teaching AP language or literature, who are seeking a unique Professional Development (PD) opportunity, or who simply want to practice and advance their own L2 language skills in contexts that go beyond the high school language classroom.

You can apply FREE as a non-degree-seeking student here (no transcripts needed; receive an acceptance decision within a few days), and learn more about our MA program here. Descriptions for each Spring 2023 online MA course can be found on the Modern Languages Blog, Notable News, here. There is one course taught in FRENCH on 18th-century French literature, and another taught in English, on Digital Media Cultures in the L2, for teachers of all languages. Please reach out to the professors for more info – they’d love to hear from you!


SPAN 779: Art of Spain & Mexico in the L2 Classroom

In this post, Dr. Bender shares details about SPAN 779: Art of Spain & Mexico in the L2 Classroom, which meets for 2 hours via zoom on Mondays from 5:30-7:30pm central time ((Jan 23–May 1); the third credit hour comes from one hour of asynchronous work each week. If you have questions or are interested in enrolling, please contact Dr. Bender!

The primary purpose of this course – which is taught in Spanish – is to explore the visual cultures of Spain and Mexico and to develop skills of artistic analysis at various levels. We will explore how themes such as Conquest, cultural hybridity, modernity, politics, and gender appear in visual culture, with emphasis on the 20th century. We will study both the “masterpieces,” or canonical works of art, and their relationship to national identity, as well a variety of lesser-known or folkloric pieces and their relationship to marginal or regional identities.

Additionally, we will explore the possibilities that art and other forms of non-written expression can offer teachers in the Spanish classroom. We will design and experiment with activities that use art as a vehicle to teach language or culture, taking advantage of the pedagogical potential of creativity, aesthetics, and new technologies for understanding stories – on individual (historias) and collective (Historia) levels. We will use a variety of technological tools, like digital maps, art and image galleries, and social media (Snapchat, Instagram, etc.), to integrate visual culture and language in a way that promotes creative, alternative modes of teaching and assessing L2 communication.

Tertulias del siglo XX, de hombres y mujeres – de José Gutiérrez Solana (1920) y Angéles Santos (1929).

Readings and materials will include academic, historical, and literary texts that contextualize Spanish and Mexican art in a transatlantic context, as well as online archives and interactive museums in the US, Spain, and Mexico. The class will work throughout the semester, individually and collaboratively (with each other and the professor) to design a thematic art gallery that will serve as a resource in their classroom.

Main objectives (per syllabus): In this course, student-teachers will:

  • Think critically about what constitutes “art” and identify distinct forms of interpretation (from descriptive to message-based to experiential) in Spanish and Mexican contexts.
  • Evaluate the role of art in the Second Language (L2) curriculum and consider multi-modal ways of employing it for the purposes of language acquisition
  • Think creatively about the implementation non-traditional projects and alternative assessments rooted in visual and interactive media by adopting a semiotic approach to “text and image”
  • Design and experiment with different types of activities, using art as a vehicle for the teaching of language and culture
  • Create effective and meaningful lessons and materials for use in the L2 classroom, informed by theoretical readings, best practices, and the identification and acquisition of a range of new artists, art styles and genres, and aesthetic tendencies, spanning Spanish and Mexican history and culture.
  • Advance their Spanish (L1 or L2) language skills in professional and educative contexts by practicing with theoretical vocabulary, engaging in summary and discussion of critical and academic articles, and expanding vocabulary and cultural content knowledge though visual and literary components of the course.

Dr. Bender frequently includes art in her own literature and language classes, and you can see some examples of her students’ work and her teaching philosophy/style here. Please contact her with questions!


Please share our flyer (PDF) with any interested friends or colleagues!

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