Spanish Language Community at Seminary of the Southwest
The seminary offers a unique, immersive, multi-pronged program for Spanish language that is inclusive of students of all abilities including native speakers.
Southwest’s Spanish language community includes regular bilingual/bicultural liturgies, prayer, and worship, a reading and discussion course in theological Spanish, and peer tutoring and tuition grants for beginning Spanish students.
Southwest’s Spanish language program currently has five components:
- Spanish language liturgy: all students at Southwest have the opportunity to participate in frequent bilingual/bicultural community liturgies.
- A weekly Plática discussion course as described below, for students at the intermediate level and above. Students register for M1000-2 or audit.
- An informal “beginning Plática” that meets for an hour before regular Plática. A registration option may be available at the faculty director’s discretion.
- Liturgical Spanish tutoring. Two hours of open office hours per week are provided by a current seminary student Spanish RA. This is designed for those wanting help around liturgical participation and other beginning language support.
- For beginning Spanish students, Southwest offers peer tutoring on campus and tuition grants for outside classes and language schools abroad. Beginning Spanish language classes are offered widely in the Austin area throughout the year, including especially at UT Austin. Requests for tuition support grants should be directed to the professor/director and should explain in brief terms the course, the amount requested, and when it will be taken. Funding may also be provided for students to attend language schools abroad over summer or J-term. These tuition assistance funds are only available for those enrolled in the Latinx Studies concentration.
Lectura y Plática is a once-weekly seminar discussion conducted in Spanish based on shared reading of foundational and recent writings from Latin America in Spanish. The seminar is appropriate for Spanish speakers of nearly all levels: from intermediate to native speaker. Readings and discussion reflect a broad range of topics in religion: theology, spirituality, history, cultural studies, feminist and sexuality studies, ministry studies, pastoral care and counseling, biblical studies, literature, and so on.
Taught every semester, Plática is a zero-credit course taken pass/fail, centered on discussion of short selections of Latin American theological texts read in the original Spanish. Students in the concentration are required to pass three semesters of Lectura y Plática. The course is open to all SSW faculty, students, staff, alum, and serious auditors from the community with a minimum commitment of attending two seminar meetings per month.
Rather than prioritizing the needs only of non-Spanish speakers, Pláctica is designed to be inclusive of Latinx students, who may come with varying degrees of Spanish, as well as native Speakers, providing an important opportunity to read recent theological works from Latin America in the original Spanish.
The instructor of Plática is charged to create an inclusive, supportive, and non-judgmental space and facilitates the participation of students of various levels. Students are encouraged to be patient with themselves and others.
Pláctica Learning Objectives
Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:
- Speak comfortably in a group setting at their current level of Spanish language capacity while advancing their reading and conversational capacity to the next level.
- Employ a range of field-specific Spanish language vocabularies in conversation (theology, religion, spirituality, counseling)
- Critically engage with current Latin American scholarship in the original language at their current level/capacity.