Interested in researching websites that enhance the teaching of modern languages, I came across a series of nine well-constructed "Study Modules" by Barbara Kuczun Nelson designed to enhance the teaching of Spanish on the intermediate and advanced levels. After exploring the nine independent tutorials for an hour, I found the material to be engaging and linguistically and culturally authentic and accurate. The summary sheet that introduces the "Grammar Exercises" is particularly helpful in providing nine visuals which introduce the nine modules. Nine brief abstracts are also included. In addition, there is a list of numerous links on the right hand side of the page which provide for additional practice in the 36 most popular Spanish grammar points.
Highlights of the popular module entitled "Ojala que llueva cafe" are reminiscent of effective strategies used in presenting intensive, developmental reading lessons in Spanish. They include:
1. Lyrics of the song "Ojala que llueva cafe" ("If only it would rain coffee" by the Dominican artist, Juan Luis Guerra, including verses in standard and regional Spanish with a helpful English translation. 2. User-friendly links including visual clues to provide for a multisensory approach to the clarification of the more difficult lexical items 3. External links to additional grammar exercises, a visually and culturally stimulating "galeria de fotos" and "un analisis de la cancion"; all of which are interactive and engage the student more actively by motivating the learning of the content material 5. Inclusion of a learning-style questionnaire 6. Use of a variety of teaching strategies designed to maximize student interactivity,
participation and learning (e.g. thought provoking questions to check comprehension and assess linguistic and cultural proficiency; self-correcting grammar exercises that can be forwarded to the teacher for feedback, etc.) 7. An opportunity to exchange experiences with other language teachers online
The design of this program also allows the teacher and learner the flexibility to focus on one module or consider the potential use of all nine modules as a supplement to enrich the learning experience in an intermediate or advance Spanish language class. This well organized and creative website provides a variety of worthwhile opportunities to enhance students' listening, reading and writing skills. It is obvious to the user that thousands of skilled and thoughtful hours went into its preparation and design so that the learning environment is interesting, helpful, user-friendly and relevant. I look forward to recommending it highly to my colleagues and students.
The materials in this resource are fairly easy to access and navigate once an email address and password are established. Quick Time is required to access the musical selections and taped interview on "El dia de los Muertos" with Celia Sandovar from Quito, Ecuador. The user interface is multisensory, interactive, helpful and intuitive for both instructors and students.