Acceso is a flexible resource that integrates relevant and engaging Spanish-language content as the foundation for text-driven, (post)communicative approaches to second language learning. The curated texts (written, images, audio and video) become the basis for the guided cultural exploration that engages learners critically and results in meaningful learning that enhances their general education. In this respect, Acceso follows Meyer’s (2009) assertion that “ideas and concepts should anchor students’ intellectual and linguistic trajectories in the college-level foreign language curriculum at all levels of instruction,” while recognizing the inherent challenges in developing “students’ thinking abilities at their intellectual levels while developing their linguistic skills in the target language, which are at a much lower level” (86).
Using opportunities afforded by an online curriculum, texts are glossed with synonyms, connotative and denotative explanations, and images to enhance comprehensibility. Because Acceso is entirely web-based, students are also encouraged to explore beyond the site through links to additional primary sources and to authentic Spanish language texts that provide further contextual information. Nonetheless, by framing “the textual within the communicative” (Allen and Paesani 2010: 134), the Acceso materials encourage learners to engage with the text to interpret language use, to participate in critical cultural inquiry through reflection on multiple meanings and perspectives, and to draw on the text to develop linguistic repertoires for expressing emerging identities as participants in Spanish-language communities. Throughout the curriculum students explore authentic materials available on the Web and learn to evaluate their legitimacy and bias before returning to their collaborative learning teams to complete in-class activities. These types of activities allow students to develop digital literacy skills and put them on a clear path to becoming participant users of Spanish in digital environments and beyond.
The commercial online workbook Acceso Hub employs an input to output approach based loosely on the recommendations for processing instruction (Lee & VanPatten, 2003). Students are guided to notice, comprehend and then produce targeted forms and vocabulary at sentence and discourse levels. The content of the workbook is in dialogue with the content explored in the corresponding unit of the Acceso website.
Lee, James, and Bill VanPatten. Making Communicative Language Teaching Happen. McGraw-Hill, 2003.
Meyer, Carol. “The Role of Thinking in the College Language Classroom.” ADFL Bulletin 41.1: 86–93. Print.
Allen, Heather Willis, and Kate Paesani. “Exploring the Feasibility of a Pedagogy of Multiliteracies in Introductory Foreign Language Courses.” L2 Journal 2.1:119-142.