Best Associate Professors of Spanish Director of Spanish language

Bill Worden, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Spanish Director of Spanish Programs The University of Alabama Dr. Bill Worden is an Associate Professor of Spanish and the Director of Spanish Programs in the Department of Modern Languages and Classics at The University of Alabama. 

Dr. Worden received his A.B. in Mathematics from Dartmouth College in 1985 and subsequently taught high school Spanish for five years in Illinois and Massachusetts. After studying in both Vermont and Madrid, he received his M.A. in Spanish from Middlebury College in 1996. As a doctoral student at Brown University, Dr. Worden was awarded the David and Ruth Kossoff Prize for Leadership in Language Teaching by the Department of Hispanic Studies and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching by the Graduate School. 

He also was chosen by fellow graduate students to give the address at the Graduate School commencement ceremony. In 2002, Dr. Worden received his Ph.D. in Hispanic Studies from Brown. Since 2002, Dr. Worden has taught a wide variety of courses at The University of Alabama, ranging from Introductory Spanish and Advanced Grammar and Composition to undergraduate and graduate courses in 16th- and 17th-century Spanish literature. 

He has directed doctoral dissertations on colonial Latin American literature, early modern Spanish literature, and 20th-century Latin American literature. Dr. Worden’s main area of research is the work of Miguel de Cervantes, especially his novel Don Quixote.

 Dr. Worden has published in the fields of early modern Spanish literature, colonial Cuban theater, and 19th-century Spanish literature. He also has published on pedagogical topics, including how to teach Spanish at the middle school and high school levels and how to help undergraduate students make connections to Don Quixote. In addition, Dr. Worden is an award-winning speaker who has lectured on such subjects as the prose of Cervantes, early modern Spanish poetry, and approaches for helping beginning language students become comfortable speaking Spanish. For a number of years, 

Dr. Worden served The University of Alabama’s Department of Modern Languages and Classics as the Director of the Spanish Language Program and was responsible for supervising all graduate teaching assistants and instructors of introductory- and intermediate-level Spanish courses. In 2013, the Alabama Association of Foreign Language Teachers selected Dr. Worden as the winner of the annual Outstanding Foreign Language Teacher Award for Postsecondary.

 ■ Dr. Laura Rojas-Arce, author of the workbook and coauthor of the speaking activities, grew up in Costa Rica, where she studied psychology as an undergraduate student at the Universidad Hispanoamericana in Heredia. She completed her doctoral studies with a focus on contemporary Central American literature and received her Ph.D. from The University of Alabama in 2013. Dr. Rojas-Arce is an Instructor of Spanish at The University of Alabama, where she teaches courses ranging from Introductory Spanish and Advanced Grammar and Composition to courses on Latin American literature. ■

This course introduces learners to the Spanish language and the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world. Because the course is designed for learners with no previous experience with the language, the lessons begin with the building blocks of Spanish: the alphabet, the proper pronunciation of consonant and vowel sounds, and greetings and responses to greetings. 

As you move forward in the course, you will be introduced to a variety of fundamental grammar topics, ever-increasing vocabulary lists, and cultural information that will teach you about the countries in the world where Spanish is spoken and help you understand how to use the grammar and vocabulary you will learn about in their proper cultural context. 

The purpose of this course is not simply to teach you about Spanish, but rather to develop your language skills so that you can communicate successfully in the language. For that reason, the course includes a variety of components designed to allow you to practice and improve your abilities in reading, writing, speaking, and understanding spoken Spanish. This course exposes learners to a variety of cultural aspects in the Spanish-speaking world, both in the video lessons and in the Cultural Readings that are found in the workbook. In terms of the grammar and vocabulary presented in the 30 lessons, this course covers the equivalent of what is taught in a first-semester Spanish course in college.

 You will find extensive grammar and vocabulary information in the various sections of the workbook. In addition, you might wish to consult any standard introductory Spanish textbook for reference. Throughout the course, you will learn more than a thousand of the most commonly used words in Spanish and become acquainted with a number of important cultural aspects of the Spanish-speaking world. In terms of grammar, you will learn how to form the present tense of all verbs, as well as the present progressive construction, which is used to talk about something happening right now. You will be able to talk about future events in two different ways and to use several expressions that talk about past events. Moreover, 

you will learn how to conjugate and use one past tense—the preterite tense—for all verbs. Your ability to express yourself with verbs will be accompanied by a growing competence in using, for example, nouns, adjectives, and adverbs—all the necessary linguistic tools that will allow you to communicate successfully in Spanish. This course offers the requisite linguistic and cultural knowledge that will allow you to make the necessary first steps toward achieving communicative competence in Spanish. 

■Welcome to the workbook for Learning Spanish: How to Understand and Speak a New Language. The exercises included here are designed to help develop your reading and writing skills in Spanish while you practice the vocabulary and grammar presented in the lessons. This introduction briefly explains how this workbook fits in with the other components that accompany this course so that you’ll know how best to make use of all of them to help develop your Spanish skills.

 When you finish watching one of the 30 lessons, you should next listen to the audio glossary, which will give you the pronunciation and definition of all the new vocabulary words. Then, it will be time to practice what you’ve learned. The speaking activities that follow the audio glossary are designed to help you improve your listening and speaking skills, and the exercises in this workbook will allow you to practice your reading and writing skills. You can decide if you want to do the speaking activities before or after you do the workbook exercises, but you should do both of these only after watching the lesson and listening to the audio glossary. 

In addition to the exercises accompanying each lesson, you will find the Grammar Reference, Glossary by Topic, Glossary of Cognates, Spanish-English Glossary, EnglishSpanish Glossary, and Resources for Further Study at the end of the workbook

. Each section of this workbook begins with New Vocabulary, a listing of new words in the same order as they are presented in the audio glossary. Next, the General Review section summarizes the material covered in the lesson, allowing you to review grammatical, cultural, or vocabulary-related content. Then, you will find the Activities, which offer practice with the new grammar and vocabulary.

 At the end of every workbook section, you will find the Correct Answers, which will allow you to check your work. In addition to the Activities included after every lesson, this workbook also contains six Cultural Readings about different aspects of Latin American culture. 

The Activities in this workbook are contextualized in a series of short stories dealing with several families and their friends and neighbors. These families live in Villa Celeste [Celestial Town], a neighborhood somewhere in Latin America. The principal characters in the stories are the Cortés Ruiz family, the Quirós García family, and the González Fallas family. 

The Cortés Ruiz family has three sons, and the Quirós García family has two daughters and a son. Those two families also have two very young granddaughters. The González Fallas family, who just recently moved to the neighborhood, has a son and a daughter. You will find the family trees for these families following this introduction. 

Most of the words used in the Activities will be ones you will have already been introduced to in the course. When this is not the case, the workbook will give the English for the Spanish word.

 The six Cultural Readings do indeed include vocabulary and grammar you will have already seen in the course. But they also purposely include some material a bit beyond your current level of comprehension. This will force you to make some educated guesses while reading—a very useful skill for a language learner. You won’t need to recognize every word or expression in a reading to gain a good understanding of it. The English translation for the Cultural Readings can be found after the Correct Answers, so you will be able to see how well your understood what you read. And now, it’s time to get to work. Or, as we would say in Spanish: ¡A trabajar! [Let’s work!]. ■

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