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An Introductory Course that Can Turn the Enrollment Tide


  • John W. Ferguson Ph.D.

    1. (Ph.D., Florida State University) is Department Chairman and Associate Professor of Spanish at Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky.
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ABSTRACT Low enrollment continues to plague many foreign language programs, especially those without effective requirements. This article describes an introductory course called “Basic Conversational Spanish,” which has raised enrollment by more than forty percent in two years. Although it is not highly innovative, its success suggests that other programs would benefit greatly by offering similar courses. It is a three-hour, one-semester course designed especially for students who desire a basic knowledge of spoken Spanish but lack the time and interest required by traditional elementary courses. Its brevity accounts for most of its appeal to the impatient, fast-food generation that vacillates considerably when confronted with any project requiring more than a few weeks. This course is also more attractive to fainthearted students whose fear of failure has prompted them to avoid foreign languages in the past. Many who take it enroll later in the regular elementary courses.