My last curriculum development project shows how language teaching can benefit from the integration of interdisciplinary materials that challenge students’ cultural preconceptions, and promote learners’ multicultural awareness while developing four language skills: reading, writing, listening, and oral production.
I am currently coordinating and teaching an advanced-level course, which focuses on two of the most populated Spanish-speaking cities: Mexico City and Los Angeles. This course incorporates Cultural Studies in order to explore how Chilango and Chicano identities are developed around urban spaces, and perpetuated, contested or reconfigured by urban narratives as well as by social and cultural practices.
Through customized, engaging and up-to-date cultural materials, SPA108 studies how the urban development in these cities modifies local dynamics, and reconfigures social structures. In this sense, all course materials underscore and discuss how urban dynamics have a great impact on the sociolinguistic culture of each community, and produce novel text-types -such as video animations and graffiti-, innovative cultural objects like lowrider cars and corridos, or new habits of consumption like those associated with the Chipster culture. But, more importantly, this advanced course shows how an array of cultural practices around these two urban spaces can be explored in an undergraduate-language course to develop and strengthen students’ language skills, while also gaining intercultural awareness.