Established in 2005, the Spanish program at the Australian National University offers students an innovative curriculum centred on simulated immersion and authentic, progressive assessment. The program provides both flexibility and coherence, with common themes, goals and strategies shaped throughout the curriculum. An emphasis on competency in spoken, written and aural Spanish is nuanced with awareness of the variety of accents, grammatical features and colloquialisms of a language spoken in 23 countries. This is vital in the only Australian program offering rich opportunities to specialise in Hispanic Linguistics.
The immersive teaching approach emphasises both the development of autonomous learners and equity among students: all explanations are in Spanish, levelling the playing field for international students. Several of the program's innovative approaches to teaching, including its interactive and creative use of technology-enhanced and mobile learning, are recognised internationally as best practice. Assessment strategies focus on using Spanish in meaningful, real world contexts, becoming progressively more difficult as students advance, and most courses incorporate group projects that use self- and peer-assessment to promote self-reflection, cooperation, and accountability to the group. Student achievement levels and feedback on the program have been outstanding, both in internal evaluations and international benchmarking.
The team was led by Associate Professor Daniel Martin, with the team including Professor Catherine Travis, Dr Martha Florez, Dr Elisabeth Mayer, and Dr Manuel Delicado Cantero.