I grew up in a Spanish-speaking household, but had limited formal instruction in Spanish. If this sounds like your situation, and you want to learn to write and speak well in Spanish take this course. Prof. Romero put a lot of effort into the course, partnering with the University of Arizona to create a Wiki where we spoke to penpals and uploaded our essays. Prof. Romero similarly demanded a lot of effort on the part of the students, asking us to research a Latino neighborhood in NYC, visit the neighborhood and interview residents, write informative and narrative essays, upload videos and photos onto the class Wiki, and make a presentation about our project. Although this seems like a lot of work, the tasks built on each other so that the research paper on the neighborhood helped you write the following essays. I enjoyed the opportunity to visit a neighborhood and speak to my classmates about their projects. Ultimately, the course is what you make of it. I took the opportunity to speak in class and write and re-write drafts and now find that I am much more comfortable writing and speaking in Spanish. This course is much more than an intensive grammar review-- if you are looking purely for grammatical instruction, take another course.
I took Spanish for Spanish Speakers because I speak Spanish at home but had never taken a course in any of my years at school. I had one semester to fulfill the requirement and I thought this would be a good way to learn the basics that I hadn't gotten through my casual speaking at home with family. To start off, I can't say I got what I wanted from this class. It was great conversationally because all the students were pretty much fluent so the conversations we had in class were good but we flew over the grammar and she expected us to take in all of it. Second, Diana is a nice woman and a good spanish teacher but she expects SO much from the students in her class. I think if I hadn't been taking the class just to fulfill the requirement I would have been more willing to put in the work, but it is not what I wanted as a simple Spanish class. We had homework due for every class and on top of that we were writing papers, writing in forums, writing to penpals, and preparing presentations. The work was just piled on top of other work which made it really unclear when certain assignments were due, and she's a bit of a stickler for due dates. She also graded pretty tough but wasn't clear in what she wanted. Her attendance policy was also kind of ridiculous and she took it way too seriously. You get three absences for the semester, however she counts 2 tardies as a missed class, which means being 5 minutes late to class can eventually really hurt your grade. I felt that was a bit harsh since it was an early class and it met on Fridays. Overall, there were some great parts of this class but I wouldn't say it was worth the energy that I put into it.
Don't take this class. Don't do it! Diana is a nice woman when you talk to her one-on-one, but she is not effective or easy to work with in the classroom. The level of homework she gives is simply out of control for a 3-point class, with endless grammatical exercises and weekly "mesas redondas." She starts class early, ends it late, and sends endless emails. There are four formal compositions required, and you will do draft after draft for her just to get a halfway-decent score. Diana also expects you to have a lot of grammatical background, so if you don't have that you will have to work to catch up. You can gain a lot from this class, but you will make yourself quite unhappy in the process. Diana is such a stickler on even the smallest things (like whether you accent every word properly when you email her) that it really hinders the learning process. A class for speaking students is a great idea, but don't take it with her.
In short, he is amazing! People at this school seem to think if you speak Spanish at home then you really don't "speak" Spanish. You will not run into those people in this class since everyone is a native speaker (this is so nice). Even though Jesus is from Spain, he does not criticize your accent if you are from Latin America, in fact he told us many times that we spoke perfectly. Not only was he supportive of our unique struggles as native speakers with spelling and accents, he was supportive when people had illnesses and/or personal problems. The daily assignments did not interfere with other work for more challenging classes. The homework was easy, interesting, and helpful at looking and understanding our problems in our own lands. Take this course! If you are not a native speaker take one of his other courses, he is wonderful!
This lady is amazing!!!! Very cool woman who is interested in teaching what people need to learn. Ask and you shall receive. I am not a native spanish speaker but am fluent. This course helped me learn alot of things that I never knew before - lots of technical stuff that should be boring except for some reason it wasn't. Don't take this class if you aren't reasonably fluent, alot of kids dropped it when they realized that.
This class is disorganized to begin with, as everyone is at a different level. On top of this, the textbook, "La lengua que heredemos," is completely unhelpful and at times even confusing, and the confusion is compounded by Ms. Cuevas' waste of class time on busywork and presentations instead of actual teaching. The class is conducted like a review more than a presentation of new material, which makes retention especially difficult. Also, Ms. Cuevas is inflexible, and frustratingly unhelpful, Her grading system seems almost totally arbitrary. I would highly recommend Advanced Spanish Grammar and Composition instead of this course.