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Grant number like: AC-50128-12

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California State University, Long Beach Foundation (Long Beach, CA 90840-0004)
Clorinda Donato (Project Director: July 2011 to May 2015)
French and Italian for Spanish Speakers

A three-year project enabling faculty from four Southern California institutions to enhance humanities content in French and Italian courses for Spanish speakers.

"French and Italian for Spanish Speakers" is a three-year project beginning in 2012 that enables faculty from four Southern California institutions to enhance humanities content in French and Italian courses for Spanish speakers. This project, headed by Clorinda Donato (chair of Italian studies and professor of French) and Claire Martin (professor of Spanish) at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), engages nine faculty members from four area community colleges and high schools with the Intercomprehension method of language learning, successfully used at CSULB in French for Spanish Speakers (since 2007) and Italian for Spanish Speakers (since 2010). This method builds on students' knowledge of one Romance language to accelerate acquisition of another, uniting cultural content with language study from the start. Participants examine and adapt to their own use selected case studies from CSULB courses, such as a first-semester Italian lesson that expands existing textbook content on Baroque art to include the parallel history of the Baroque in Italy, Mexico, and Spain, its political and religious significance, and the study of a poem from the Baroque period. Other examples include a first-semester French lesson during which students read all of Saint-Exupery's Le Petit Prince prior to studying the work's author, historical period, and literary context and the second semester Italian lesson exploring the mind-body connection through discussing a chapter of Italo Svevo's novel Zeno's Conscience, the biography of Svevo, his role in introducing the language of psychoanalysis into literature, and his place in Italian and European literary history. Participating faculty meet five times a year during the three years of the project. In years one and three, Pierre Escudé (Institut Universitaire de Formation des Maîtres Midi-Pyrénées) leads workshops on his research and teaching involving Intercomprehension and makes site visits to each participant campus; in year two, Alexandra Jaffe (CSULB) leads a workshop on the interplay between the three Romance languages of Corsican, French, and Italian in Corsica. Study and critique of syllabi and materials culminate in the third year, with development of syllabi for each institution's courses and a "how to" manual, alongside a hands-on teacher-training workshop, a colloquium for interested faculty, and presentations at national conferences such as the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).

Project fields:
French Language

Humanities Initiatives at Hispanic-Serving Institutions

Education Programs

$99,990 (approved)
$96,412 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2012 – 12/31/2014