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Spanish- SP 304/305: Advanced Spanish

Block 1 - SP304: Cultural Context & Oral Practice, Salvatore Bizzarro 

Block 2 - SP305: Cultural Context & Written Expression, Salvatore Bizzarro 

Gaudi Wall, Barcelona, Spain

These two courses in Spanish, Spanish 304 and 305, carry a prerequisite of at least 4 years of high school Spanish and will give a perspective on the Mexican Revolution, which preceded the Russian Revolution by 7 years and was the first revolution of the 20th century.  The Mexican Revolution was also responsible for the Mexican nation’s achieving statehood, bringing the many Mexicos, the one of the indigenous past, the one of the conquest by the Spaniards, and the one which became the Mestizo nation, under the umbrella of The United States of Mexico (the other two are the United States of America and of Brazil). The course spans a little more than a hundred years from the Constitution of 1857 to the 1950s, giving us a portrait of present day Mexico.  Through history and literature, we shall examine the Liberal years, the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz, the Revolution and the U.S. role in it, and the literature that emerged from the early 20th century to the present day, when writers are still affected by that portentous event. While the first block will concentrate on speaking, and ways to improve student's diction and pronunciation, the second course will emphasize writing, allowing students to write and re-write their papers until their writing is clear, concise, and creative. Students will receive two separate grades for the courses.  Those who have lived at least a semester abroad are encourage to take this course, as well as those who have received an AP grade of 4 or 5 or an IB grade of 5, 6, or 7.

Spanish 304 begins with oral comprehension and encourages the student to speak as closely to a native speaker as possible. The materials used will be practical; the approach to language will be simple and, hopefully, interesting as students acquire a greater understanding of the language they have studied and its cultural aspects. Spanish 304 will lay the foundation for advanced study of the language that will begin in Block 2 with Spanish 305.

Spanish 305 will concentrate on the skills necessary to write Spanish successfully. While the conversation and the oral practice will continue as an integral part of the two-block offering, advanced composition is a primary requirement for the study of Hispanic literary texts; when we focus our attention on a particular area or region, we will emphasize cultural information over geography. Students will be encouraged to write papers in Spanish that present arguments and positions aimed at persuading and analyzing after they have gathered and interpreted others' points of views. In both courses, we will be studying grammar inductively— i.e. we shall speak first and then learn why we are speaking in a certain grammatical context; each class reviews the usage of a particular grammatical point informally presented in the material and the text used. Grammar and vocabulary will be woven into exercises whenever possible; we will make exclusive use of Spanish to avoid translations and English in the classroom.

Your First Year Experience in Spanish language and culture will depart somewhat from the Spanish you have learned traditionally in the classroom. The course is intended for students who have successfully completed the equivalent of four or more years of high school Spanish.

A set of linked one-block courses with a single instructor that must be taken together; separate grades will be given for each block. 


  • Prerequisite: At least four years of high school Spanish, an AP grade of 4 or 5, or IB grade of 5, 6, or 7.
  • Course is intended for students who have successfully completed the equivalent of four or more years of high school Spanish.