Course: SPA 205
Instructor: Paloma Moscardo-Valles
Description of Course Goals and CurriculumThis is an advanced level Spanish course focusing on health and medical topics. Its main purpose is to provide students with the tools necessary to interact with Spanish speakers in a health care situation. Students will improve their general communication and learn the specific vocabulary useful for the medical interview. All skills (reading, speaking, listening and writing) are integrated in a methodology that emphasizes the use of the language in real situations. Specific days are devoted exclusively to practice the new vocabulary and some relevant grammatical structures. Grammar is not a topic in this course by itself, but is reviewed when needed. The course also explores some aspects of Latino culture in the fields of health and medicine. Different types of documents are used: newspaper articles, medical studies or scientific reports, documentaries, health campaign materials, etc.
Learning From Classroom InstructionThe class meets for 50 minutes three days a week. It is a very interactive class, and students are expected to show up to every class and to actively participate in class discussions. The format of the class varied from day to day, so class is always fun and interesting. Class activities often included discussing current events in health care, learning new spanish medical vocabulary, and practicing how to have a conversation with a spanish speaking patient. The professor creates a very safe and low pressure environment for students to practice their spanish and learn new material.
Learning For and From AssignmentsThe professor is very organized and provides students with a calendar of all the assignments for the semester. There is no midterm or final exam, however, students are given five quizzes on medical spanish vocabulary throughout the semester. There are also three short compositions throughout the semester as well as a final composition due on Dean's Date. Students are expected to find current event articles that relate to the current theme being discussed in class, and write their compositions on these articles and themes. Students also complete two interviews throughout the semester, in which they role play a patient-doctor interaction. During the interview, the two students are given a scenario, and they have 10 minutes to prepare a dialog and present it before the class. Additionally, students have the opportunity to choose a major health concern such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, etc. , and work in groups to prepare a presentation for the class. Later, the students have the opportunity to present their projects to ESL students at The Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund in Trenton which is a very gratifying and worthwhile experience.
External ResourcesThe professor provides a resources link on blackboard with several youtube channels, news articles, and grammar reviews for students (which is helpful because no grammar is taught in class). Also, it is very helpful to attend spanish language tables, as much of this course requires good comprehension and good speaking skills. The professor also offers office hours, and she is very kind to work with students when they need help. The professor will also offer to read over outlines for the compositions and presentations and she provide very constructive feedback (She will not read drafts, but she will read outlines).
What Students Should Know About This Course For Purposes Of Course SelectionThis is a wonderful class, and the professor, Paloma, is absolutely lovely. Paloma sincerely cares about all her students and she is a very passionate professor.Don't be afraid to take this class if you are not a native speaker, as Paloma is very understanding and she grades very fairly. I would highly recommend this class for premeds, as you will learn a lot of medical terminology and how to interact with spanish-speaking patients. This is definitely one of the best courses I have taken at Princeton. You will definitely learn a lot from this course, and your spanish will improve. Be prepared that there are a lot of quizzes and compositions, however, the workload is manageable and every assignment is meaningful.