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Reviewed by:
  • Methodological Developments in Teaching Spanish as a Second and Foreign Language ed. by Guadalupe Ruiz Fajardo
  • Próspero N. García
Ruiz Fajardo, Guadalupe, ed. Methodological Developments in Teaching Spanish as a Second and Foreign Language. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2012. Pp. 335. IISBN 978-1-4438-3973-0.

This book is a collection of selected proceedings corresponding to a series of annual workshops organized by Ruiz Fajardo at Columbia University and Barnard College. The present volume attempts to address two topics of interest in the field of teaching Spanish as a second (L2) and foreign language (FL): the role of interaction and explicit grammar in the classroom. While the first 6 chapters deal with the topic of interaction in the Spanish classroom, the last two are devoted to the use of grammar in this very same context.

In the first chapter, Díaz Rodríguez deals with the possible uses and effects of classroom discourse as an empowering tool in teacher preparation programs. After analyzing some of the most common mistakes made by novice instructors and comparing them to the performances of more experienced ones, Díaz Rodríguez proposes a three-step sequence to help Spanish instructors in developing a more effective classroom discourse.

In chapter 2, García García explores communicative competence, and the role of turn-taking during conversations among students in Spanish FL classrooms. In her study, García García points to the nature of conversation as a cooperative activity that is a key element in the Spanish language classroom. By analyzing the differences between native and non-native conversational turn-taking, she expects to predict some of the most problematic issues that could arise in conversations with potential native Spanish interlocutors.

In the third chapter, Ruiz Fajardo proposes three hypotheses to explain why highly successful FL students are unable to confront real communicative situations involving native speakers (NSs). The author complements her hypotheses with possible solutions that could be easily implemented in classroom settings as a way of enhancing students’ proficiency during interactions with NSs. Ruiz Fajardo aims at encouraging students to become autonomous learners continuously looking for quality input—inside or outside of the classroom—that will allow them to learn “real language” as opposed to the kind of language created by teachers and textbooks.

In chapter four, Rosales Varo proposes a Humanistic Approach to FL and L2 teaching by pondering over the idea that both emotional and pragmatic factors should be considered in L2 instruction. Rosales Varo first explores the role of students and instructors in the creation of an integrated image of the individual. Then, he discusses the contribution of pragmatics to language teaching. Finally, he describes and evaluates the affective elements present in a specific activity, which is illustrated by an example in the last pages of his chapter.

The fifth chapter of this volume revolves around the role of socio-affective factors in the L2 classroom, and their impact in the development of group dynamics and cooperative learning. Another goal of this chapter is to raise awareness among teachers of the importance of keeping up to date with the most current pedagogical developments. Sánchez Cuadrado presents practical tips, real classroom examples, and introduces questions for the reader as the chapter moves along, which makes this chapter most useful for both novice and experienced instructors.

The sixth chapter of this volume is the last one devoted to interaction, and it is aimed at exploring the pragmatic deficits of Spanish L2 learners’ speech. Fernández González presents a contrastive analysis at the phonetic, lexical, pragmatic, and discourse levels. Even though his analysis is not as exhaustive as Whitley’s (2002), Fernández González adds examples and [End Page 529] descriptions that will be most helpful for instructors and researchers focusing on advanced L2 learners.

Chapters 7 and 8 are devoted to the role of explicit grammar in the Spanish classroom. In chapter seven, Castañeda Castro advocates for the use of cognitive grammar (CG) as a model for L2 instructors and researchers to create their own pedagogical grammars. The author presents a detailed review of some of the more pressing concepts in CG...