|From the Introduction:|
The textbook Convivencia can be found in two versions. A PDF version is available for my students, free to download at http://www.elcenzontle.com/convivencia.html. A printed version is available for purchase online at cost at amazon.com. No royalties are earned from this book.
I created Convivencia to provide an affordable textbook for my students, because the majority of my students cannot afford the required commercial textbook for the course. Convivencia is composed of original and/or open access material that aligns with the content in the Spanish 101 syllabus that I teach at Gateway Community College in New Haven, Connecticut. I adapted a few activities from commercially-produced materials, where indicated; most of the activities, however, I designed from scratch or to complement free materials available on the Internet.
Convivencia is intended for a communicative, proficiency-based classroom, in which the textbook plays an important role but is not the only material used. Although it is not a comprehensive textbook or a substitute for a syllabus, it does fully address the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages’ World Readiness Standards as outlined in their 5’c guidelines -- Communication, Cultures, Community, Comparisons, and Connections. Convivencia can accompany another book, or it can be used as a sole textbook in the class, supplemented with other materials. The book can also be used for tutoring.
My classes, like many, are composed of true beginners, false beginners, immigrants already fluent in two or more languages, and heritage speakers of Spanish. The activities in the book, therefore, reflect an attempt to appeal to and challenge a diverse group of learners. To save space and paper, I don't elaborate in the instructions how the activities could be individualized, trusting in the skill and knowledge of the teachers who use this book to make those adjustments.
In my classes we work on developing language learning strategies that the students can use to continue learning on their own. During the semester, I encourage my students to explore Spanish beyond the walls of the classroom, and Convivencia is intended to reflect that approach.
The word convivencia doesn't translate perfectly into English, but we can say it means coexistence, harmony and fellowship. It describes the good times we spend with friends and family. Learning authentically from others requires convivencia, and through convivencia we create a classroom community.