Spanish for Native Speakers: Freirian and Vygotskian Perspectives


  • Christian Faltis (Ph. D., Stanford University) is Associate Professor of Second Language and Bilingual Cross-cultural Education at University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada.


ABSTRACT This article offers an alternative to the two approaches to teaching Spanish to adolescent and college level bilingual native speakers interested in developing their Spanish abilities. The argument is made that both the “limited normative” and the “comprehensive” approaches to Spanish for native speakers (SNS) strongly reflect synthetic and banking education curricular perspectives. Consequently, students are denied a voice in a curriculum that ignores social, historical and individual matters of concern. An alternative approach to SNS is identified and discussed. This approach draws heavily from Paulo Freire's problem-posing procedure for critical dialogue, and Lev Vygotsky's theory of social learning. The Freirian perspective gives primacy to critical reflection and action, with language development as a by-product of authentic purposeful social interaction among students and between the teacher and the students about topics that matter to students. The Vygotskian perspective shows why social interaction leads to individual learning and language development. Together, the two perspectives offer a viable alternative to extant approaches to teaching Spanish to native bilingual speakers.