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Negocios Sin Fronteras: Intermediate Spanish for Businessby Julie Abella
Negocios sin fronteras is an intermediate text that teaches the vocabulary and grammar necessary to conduct basic business activities in Spanish-speaking countries. Negocios sin fronteras employs a proficiency-based approach to second language acquisition and encourages the development of all four language skills—listening, speaking, reading, and writing—through a variety of exercises. The ability to communicate and perform business-related tasks are the focus of each lesson.
Research in second language acquisition suggests that several key factors are related to success in learning to communicate in a foreign language. Among these factors are the following:
Negocios sin fronteras has been designed with these factors in mind. Each chapter contains related vocabulary that is introduced in a contextualized, meaningful fashion. Students read dialogues or monologues and hear listening activities (input). The lesson then progresses to a series of activities that use this vocabulary in an increasingly more complex manner (output).
Negocios sin fronteras contains 12 chapters. Each chapter contains three pasos and each paso consists of six sections: Empecemos, Charlerpos un poco, Entrevista, Situaciones, Repaso de gramática, and Escribalros. The purpose of these sections can be briefly summarized as follows:
In addition, each chapter contains three supplementary sections: Anticipemos, Una vez más, and Panorama cultural.
Anticipemos is a preliminary activity located before the first paso of each chapter. It consists of several questions the professor might use to get students thinking about the chapter topic. They can be answered without any special previous knowledge and should serve as a "springboard" into the chapter.
After the third paso, each chapter contains a reading section and a section on culture. Una vez más is a reading based on an authentic Spanish source, such as a newspaper or magazine, on topics of interest to businesspeople. It is followed by comprehension questions, discussion topics, and a writing activity involving business correspondence.
Panorama cultural presents a cultural reading and Internet-based activities. Students may work in groups or individually to use the Internet and the guidelines in the text to explore culture topics. They may present the information they find in oral or written form.
Here's a closer look at what each chapter offers and why these specific types of activities are included:
Empecemos. This section serves two main purposes. First, it introduces the vocabulary in a contextualized manner, allowing students to see how the vocabulary might be used in discourse. Second, this section may also provide information on business topics that students may not have otherwise known.
Charlemos un poco. This series of activities serves to introduce students to the vocabulary. Specifically, it requires students to begin to actively use the vocabulary orally. Each paso begins with at least one activity in which the professor reads sentences or paragraphs while students listen. Students then supply a simple response to these questions using the new vocabulary. The subsequent activities require increasingly more complex oral interaction from students. The general purpose of these relatively simple activities is to promote a deeper understanding of the vocabulary and to give students an opportunity to use it actively.
Some examples of recurring exercise types in this section are:
Entrevista. This section requires one student to use the vocabulary to obtain meaningful information from another student on a given topic. Occasionally, students must role-play to complete this activity, which is like a directed dialogue. Students receive a topic and suggested aspects of it to discuss. They work together to create their dialogue, including a specified number a questions. Again, this is an opportunity for students to build their ability to ask questions. They then take turns asking their questions and gathering the required information. This builds conversational skills. When both students have had the opportunity to ask questions, they are required to summarize what they have learned in a paragraph and present it to the class. This requires students to speak using the third person rather than the first person—another intermediate skill.
Situaciones. This section is the most complex of the vocabulary sections. It places a group of students in a situation and requires them to perform a task or solve a problem through extemporaneous dialogue. There are several ways to approach this section. Depending on what approach the professor chooses, this activity can require a more spontaneous use of the new vocabulary and greater command of the language.
Repaso de gramática. This section presents a grammar review written in English followed by exercises. Two to three activities accompany each grammar explanation. The first activity usually requires very basic output from students, such as filling in a blank with the conjugated form of the verb. The subsequent activities require more creative and complex responses from students.
Escribamos. This section provides a composition topic. It may be done quickly at the end of class or more thoroughly as a homework assignment.
Una vez más. This end-of-chapter reading section exposes students to articles of interest to businesspeople. The reading is preceded by activities to build reading strategies and followed by comprehension questions and discussion topics.
La carta de negocios. Each chapter contains a sample business letter on a topic related to the chapter. The professor might use these letters as additional reading activities or as models for the students to use when writing their own, similar letters.
Panorama cultural. These Internet-based activities allow students to explore aspects of Hispanic business culture.
Negocios sin fronteras is also accompanied by a workbook. This workbook is designed to provide students with additional practice using the text's vocabulary and grammar structures.
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