SPAN 494 Spanish through Service Learning
Instructor:  Danny J. Anderson,           
Co-Instructor:  María Alonso,           
Line #:  69566               Days/Location:  MWF 11:00-11:50,  4062 Wescoe Hall

Spanish through Service Learning:
Speaking Spanish in the U.S.

Course description:
“Spanish through Service Learning” is Junior/Senior for undergraduate course that has two goals.  First, the course will help advanced Spanish learners acquire better language skills.  This will occur through readings, vocabulary exercises, writing, class discussion, and the experience of using Spanish outside of class in meaningful volunteer activities in the community.  Second, throughout the semester, the course content focuses on a series of readings and films that identify the characteristics of Spanish-speaking communities and their experiences today in the United States.  On the one hand, these readings will conceptually provide students with some intellectual insights into portions of the communities they serve through their volunteer activities.  On the other hand, the key element in a “service learning class” such as this one is the belief that the out-of-class experiences will provide a more profound understanding of the course content.  Moreover, research suggests that meaningful use of a second language in everyday situations increases the motivation for the effort involved in language acquisition and promotes the internalization of the second language.  In this sense, with these two goals in mind, this will be in many ways a “hybrid course,” involves components of a literature class, a culture class, a composition class, and a conversation class. 

The course readings will focus particularly on the diverse Latino communities in the U.S. today as well as the contemporary issue of immigration during an age of globalization.  Materials will be drawn from the literary texts and journalism, films and documentaries, as well as additional selections from the fields of socio-linguistics, history, and sociology, among others.  Through these materials students will seek to understand what it means to be a Spanish-speaker in the United States today, how language affects identity, and the ways that individuals communicate and relate across lines of difference.  In conceptual terms, we will be analyzing the issues involved in language and identity and in the representation of personal experience as a basis for knowledge.  At some points in the semester, the reading selections and exercise remain “to be announced” for a strategic reason:  some of the course materials will be a “work in progress” that we collectively develop along the way in order to meet collective needs determined once students have committed to a volunteer activity.  Some of the topics, vocabulary materials, and readings will be developed and posted on the course Blackboard site to help you consider intellectually the implications of the activity for which you have volunteered, to be prepared linguistically to play your role in different situations, and to process in Spanish the transformative knowledge you will be constructing as you seek to understand your experience. 

During 10 weeks during the semester, all class members will be required to perform a minimum of 2 hours each week of voluntary community service outside of class as part of their homework assignment; this is a course requirement.  Service opportunities may include options such as becoming a tutor for Spanish-speaking grade school children, volunteering with Project Bridge at KU, participating in activities organized by the Latino Community Coalition in Lawrence, or participation gin activities organized by El Centro in Kansas City, among many others.  In addition to service opportunities identified by the instructor, students may also propose service activities that meet certain guidelines for supervision and evaluation.  As mentioned above, some class time during these 10 weeks will be devoted to the acquisition of vocabulary, communicative strategies, and cultural knowledge that will help individuals succeed in their service activities; class members will participate in the development and sharing of materials to promoted this targeted expansion of language skills and vocabulary. 

Prerequisite:  Completion of SPAN 340 with a grade of B or better for Spanish majors who seek elective credit; permission of the instructor for non-majors with advanced language proficiency beyond SPAN 324.

Julián Olivares, ed.  Cuentos hispanos de los Estados Unidos (1993)
Jorge Ramos, La ola latina:  cómo los hispanos están transformando la política de los Estados Unidos.  (2005)
Jorge Ramos, La otra cara de América (2002)
Ilan Stavans, Spanglish: The Making of a New American Language (2003)


Reflection Journal


Analytical paper #1 (1,250 words—about 5 pages)


Analytical paper #2 (1,250 words—about 5 pages)


Homework and quizzes


Participation and preparation for class


Course presentation


Final course dossier


Service Activity (20 hour minimum; 2 hours each week for 10 weeks)


Course policies:

Service Learning Activitiy:

Contacts for Volunteer Activities:

Lydia León
Latino Community Coalition
AmeriCorps Community Health Corps Member
Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department
200 Maine Street, Suite B
Lawrence, Kansas  66044

(785) 843-0721
(785) 843-3161 fax

Hillcrest Elementary School
Ms. Tammy Becker, Principal
1045 Hilltop Drive
Lawrence, KS 66044

Phone: 785-832-5720
Fax: 785-832-5722
Main contacts: 

Kathi Firns-Hubert, ESL Resource 5-6 (prefers email)
Mireya Aqui, Bilingual Paraeducator

Project Bridge
Vicki DeMaria and Kelly Carson, directors
Through the Center for Community Outreach, KU
405 Kansas Union (email is best)
CCO phone:  864-4073

KU’s Center for Community Outreach
405 Kansas Union
*does not have Spanish-speaking service sites but is a resource for exploring additional options

CCO phone: 864-4073

Jackson Sellers,VISTA/Americorps Volunteer
KU’s Center for Service Learning
704 W. 12th Street (Pinet House at Indiana & 12th Street)
*does not have Spanish-speaking service sites but is a resource for exploring additional options


Amanda Taylor, Director of Communications
El Centro, Inc.
650 Minnesota Ave.
Kansas City, KS  66101
*Amanda Taylor coordinates volunteers and assigns them to appropriate projects; website being redesigned (Jan. 2006)


Shay O’Brien, Volunteer Program Director
Women’s Transitional Care Services
*interested in expanding services and possibly developing materials to reach out to Spanish-speaking community

865-3956 (email is best)

Gregory Mansfield, Education Outreach
Douglas County AIDS Project
2518 Ridge Court Suite 101
*requires 2 hour mandatory training

843-0040 (email is best)

Raymundo Elí Rojas
Apoyo Trabajador/Migrant Worker Solidarity


Arnie Aron, Volunteer Coordinator
Family Resource Center
Olathe, Kansas
*partnership with Johnson County Community College,
Olathe District School, Olathe Housing Authority & Catholic Community Services. For the past few years this group has received an Even Start grant that provides the funding to  support over 100 Hispanic Families. The center provides ESL classes, home visitors, parenting classes etc.

Arnold B Aaron []

General Recommendations:

Reflection journal
Throughout the semester you will be writing a reflection journal in Spanish.  In terms of language acquisition, this regular writing practice is an important component of improving your Spanish skills.  In terms of pulling the various components of the course together, the journal will be the record of how your experience is the key to linking your service activities and the intellectual content of the course.  During the first week of the class a detailed list of reflection journal assignments will be distributed.  Sometimes you will be asked to write a certain amount of time about a topic.  At other times you will be asked to produce a minimum number of words about a topic.  Sometimes the reflection journal questions will deal specifically with course readings or discussions and many times they will explore your personal reactions to the service activity.  Periodically the instructor will request to see your reflection journal.  Strive to write in your best Spanish.  However, note that this is a personal journal and it will not be graded line-by-line for grammatical accuracy.  Your Spanish will improve with use and other course activities.  Use the journal as a place to experiment with expressing your gut reactions in Spanish.  At the end of the course, you will include the entire reflection journal in your final course dossier.  You may write this electronically and print it up from time to time, or you may have a notebook that you will carry around and use for regular writing.  Some days there will be some time set aside in class, pre-announced, in which you will spend writing.  The second analytical assignment will include instructions for possible quotation of your reflection journal and some of the later homework assignments will involve analyzing earlier entries from the reflection journal.

Final course dossier
You are the first group to take this new class.  In an effort to evaluate the value of this kind of “service learning course,” I require that each student submit a final course dossier that will include a copy of most of your work from the entire semester.  I will not return this dossier.  I will use the material to evaluate your overall progress in the course.  The percentage of points for this assignment will be awarded strictly on the basis of your completing the assignment and including all requested materials.  The other reason for analyzing this material is to decide upon the value of repeating such a course in the future and possibly documenting the usefulness of service learning activities. At the end of the course, I will provide each of your with a waiver that will give me or my co-instructor María Alonso permission to cite from your course materials in any article we may write about the advantages or disadvantages of service learning classes.  You are under no obligation to give us this permission, and you will have choices about whether or not you would like for your identity to be included if you do decide to grant us permission to cite your course work. 

Group Presentation
About a third of the way into the class, once the service activities are under way, students will form small groups of 3 to 5 students, depending on the final class size.  Each group will be responsible for drawing upon their service experiences and course readings to create a presentation that:  (1) represents some aspect of the Spanish-speaking community, (2) analyzes a specific need of this community, and (3) recommends a strategy for meeting this need.  This presentation will be no longer than 15 minutes in class.  This is a formal presentation, not a skit.  Think of a presentation in terms of content and quality that would be appropriate to present to the community you are representing.  Such presentations may include images, PowerPoint shows, a poster show, a short video, etc.

Analytical papers
Students will each write two formal analytical papers.  The first paper will focus on a short story, but allow students to draw upon the course readings to develop ideas.  The second paper will focus on a short story, but student will be able to draw upon both course readings and their service learning experiences.

Future of this course

January 20

Introduction and diagnostic Spanish exam




Pablo Vila, “The Polysemy of the Label ‘Mexican’ on the Border” Ethnography on the Border; discussion of how to analyze identity, the representations of identities, and the formulation of key analytical questions for the semester


Readings posted on Blackboard:
Enrique Serna, “El desvalido Roger”
Ivan Illich, “To Hell with Good Intentions”


Lydia León, Latino Community Coalition GUEST SPEAKER




Ramos, Ola Latina, caps.  1-2                                                              LATINO DIVERSITY

February 1

Ramos, Ola Latina, caps. 3-4-5-6


Pre-service activity survey (María Alonso)
Turn in “Service Learning Activity Plan”




Out-of-classroom service experiences should begin no later than this week
Ramos, Ola latina, caps. 7-8 y epílogo


Robert Rodríguez, Associate Director McNair Scholars and Adjunct Professor of Latin American Studies, “Understanding Latino Diversity” GUEST SPEAKER


Reading on Blackboard:  Sanmiguel, “El reflejo de la luna”
In class show “El Jardín” (video)




Reading on Blackboard:  Sanmiguel, “El reflejo de la luna”
In class show “In-State” (video)


                                                   IMMIGRANTS, MIGRANTS, CHILDREN, EDUCATION
Reading on Blackboard:  Samuel Huntington, “The Hispanic Challenge” Foreign Policy (March-April 2004): 30-45.
Ranjit Arab, director of “El Jardín” and “In-State” GUEST SPEAKER

17 febrero

Discusión general de la experiencia de hacer voluntariado
Discusión del cuento “Naranjas” en Cuentos hispanos
Trabajo de vocabulario y gramática en clase
Entregar diario contemplativo




Discusión del cuento “Tres generaciones” en Cuentos hispanos


Discusión del dos fragmentos de una novela “Pa Indiana” y “Un accidente” en Blackboard.  [Course Documents, Week #4]


Entregar Paper #1 sobre la representación de la experiencia de los niños.  Se puede enfocar uno de los textos específicamente o se puede abarcar dos, o inclusive todos.  Favor de establecer un diálogo entre una tesis que tú vas a formular con respecto a estos cuentos e información que has aprendido de la lectura del libro de Jorge Ramos, La ola latino y cualquier información en los videos o presentaciones en clase.
En clase, ejercicio de vocabulario y gramática y posiblemente un fragmento de otro video sobre la experiencia educativa de los niños.
No hay una entrega del diario contemplativo para esta semanaSi te ayuda, puedes seguir escribiendo en tu diario.




Turn in paper #1
In-class VIDEO and discussion—from The New Americans


Anderson—presentation about “Latina” identities in U.S.; includes moments for student comments about the readings from Villarreal, Moraga, and Suro
Readings (readings are in English):

  • José Antonio Villarreal, Pocho, pages 91-95 and pages 164-73
  • Cherrié Moraga, Loving in the War Years: lo que nunca pasó por sus labios, pages 90-98, 105-111
  • Roberto Suro, Strangers Among Us: Latino Lives in a Changing America, pages 3-7 (life story of Imelda), pages 72-75 (role of Latina mothers dealing with gang violence in East Los Angeles)

Preguntas sobre las lecturas:  ¿Cómo se estructura la familia “latina” según expectativas del rol sexual?  Dentro de esta constelación familiar, ¿cuáles son los papeles de las mujeres?  ¿En qué sentido se conforman las mujeres a los papeles asignados culturalmente?  ¿Las mujeres sólo son víctimas de sistemas opresivos o hay maneras en que sus papeles implican ciertos tipos de fuerza y agencia social?  ¿Hay evidencia de cambios en la estructura de la familia y el papel de las mujeres con el proceso de “americanización”?
Optional reading posted on Blackboard:  Pablo Vila, “Gender and the Overlapping of Region, Nation, and Ethnicity on the U.S.-Mexico Border”


Discussion of reading: Helena Viramontes, “Growing,” from The Moths and Other Stories, pages 35-42.
Entregar el diario contemplativo




Discussion of reading on Blackboard:  Julio Villanueva Chang, “We’re not in Kansas anymore”
Preguntas:  ¿Cuál es la narrativa de identidad que explica quién es Mandalit del Barco?  ¿Cómo es semejante su identidad a la de las mujeres de la semana pasada?  ¿Diferente?  Pensando en términos de análisis literaria, ¿qué quieren comunicar a sus lectores “Growing” y “We’re not in Kansas anymore” acerca de la identidad femenina?  ¿Cuáles son las estrategias narrativas más importantes para la exitosa comunicación literaria?


Anderson—presentation about historical phases of immigration; includes moments for student comments about the readings from Cisneros, Carvalho, Lomelí, y Valenzuela Arce covering literary representation of diverse immigrant identities in recent decades.

  • Sandra Cisneros, “No speak English” (traducción de Elena Poniatowska)—2 pages long
  • Homero Carvalho, “Náufrago”—1 paragraph long
  • Luis Felipe G. Lomelí, “El emigrante”—2 sentences long
  • José Manuel Valenzuela Arce, “Mojados y chicanos”—8 pages (ensayo)

Preguntas:  ¿Cuál es el panorama de identidades inmigrantes en términos de origen nacional y étnica, nivel de educación, y otros factores relevantes?  ¿Cuáles son las posibles motivaciones por la inmigración?  ¿Qué mezcla de emociones puede caracterizar distintas experiencias de la inmigración?  ¿Cómo difiere esta experiencia para un indocumentado? En su opinión, ¿cuál es la percepción dominante en los Estados Unidos de la(s) comunidad(es) inmigrantes?  ¿Qué quieren comunicar de la experiencia de los inmigrantes los cuentos de Cisneros, Carvalho, y Lomelí?


Discussion of reading on Blackboard:  Francisco Piña, “Siete veces seven”
Preguntas:  ¿Dónde ocurre este cuento?  ¿Cuáles son las identidades inmigrantes que el cuento evoca?  ¿Qué estrategias narrativas emplea el cuento para comunicar la percepción de estas identidades?  ¿Cómo se compara este cuento con los anteriores en cuanto a la experiencia de la inmigración en términos de identidad?  En general y pensando en las discusión anteriores sobre la identidad femenina, ¿qué observaciones generales podemos hacer sobre la inmigración y los papeles sexuales?
Entregar el diario contemplativo




TBA                                                                                                             BILINGUAL EDUCATION








Spring Break




Documentary:  “Farmingville”                                                                            IMMIGRANT LABOR


Guest panel:  Patricia Tomé, Alejandra-Hernández Castro, Eric Olivas


Vocabulary lesson



April 3

Trabajo en grupos:  organizarse para las presentaciones en clase


Guest panel: Luis Cruz, Yesenia Sifuentes, Lalo Delgado


Ramos, Otra cara (281-294)—sección sobre “Spanglish”




Stavans, Spanglish (1-61)


Reading on Blackboard:  Benjamin Alire Sáenz, “Alligator Park”


Reading on Blackboard:  Helena Viramontes, “Cariboo Café”
Anderson will clarify paper topic for second major paper (due on May 8)




10th week of out-of-classroom mandatory service learning experience
Reading on Blackboard:  “El Turys” Agapito Mendoza


Invitado:  Alejandro Lule, owner of La Parrilla and ZenZero restaurants


Reading on Blackboard:  selections from Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera




Trabajo en grupos—preparación para las presentaciones orales


Group #1 class presentation (15 min.)
Group #2 class presentation (15 min.)


Group #3 class presentation (15 min.)
Group #4 class presentation (15 min.)



May 1

Group #5 class presentation (15 min.)
Group #6 class presentation (15 min.)


Ramos, Otra cara  cap. 19 (171-80),  cap. 20 (181-87), cap.


Ramos, Otra cara  cap. 21(189-95), cap. 22 (197-203)




Course evaluation
Turn in paper #2 on “Cariboo Café” or “Alligator Park”


Conclusion/focus group exercise on service learning experience
Turn in final course dossier (includes copies of class work, home work and quizzes, complete reflection journal, and both analytical papers)—this dossier will not be returned so please keep photocopies of materials you wish to keep





May 16

Tuesday, May 16  Final Exam 10:30 a.m.—1:00 p.m.