This title uses a modified version of the adjective “juntos/as”, which can be translated into English as: together, altogether, side by side, with each other, etc.  This is how we conceive of our teaching and learning journey, one in which we can learn together, from and with each other. Here, the “+” sign represents the word “más”, as in “más juntxs”, which is a play on words and can be translated as closer together or more, together, since this resource complements the beginner Spanish language learning resource: JUNTXS.
Our journey together begins with the acknowledgement that what we know as Spanish language today has a history characterised by centuries of colonisation and imperialistic domination. This history has often diminished, devalued and even erased the language varieties, cultures, and experiences of people who do not reflect or embody Eurocentric identities. We still see those effects today, for instance, in the way in which some regional varieties of Spanish are considered more prestigious (and thus, more desirable), while others are stigmatised, or the ways in which multilingualism in many countries in which Spanish is the official language, continues to be obscured and even resisted or denied.
Each of our learning modules includes carefully curated content and sequences of activities designed to fuel our curiosity, encourage active reflection on our own and others’ ideas and perspectives, and to stretch our social, political and ecological imagination in general, as well as in relation to the study of the languages and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world. Indeed, many activities foreground the pluricentric nature of Spanish and the constellation of hegemonic ideologies of (non)standardness, and (non)nativeness in the Spanish-speaking world (e.g., engaging in questions such as “what is ‘real’ Spanish?”; “is Spanglish a real language?”; “what is the difference between ‘latino/a’ ‘hispano/a’ and ‘latinx’?”, etc.). While other activities encourage engagement with questions beyond the Anthropocene, or human world, to consider our connections and entanglements with non-human others, land and other life forms that co-exist and contribute to our planet. It is through these content and activities that we will (un)learn together about linguistic elements like grammar and vocabulary.
Ensuring that this resource reflects the myriad types of intersectional diversities (linguistic, cultural, racial, social…) of Spanish-speaking people from around the world – especially people from historically underrepresented, minoritized groups – and that it critically engages with both human and beyond-human worlds is a collective, and continuous effort. As such, we consider this learning resource to be a “living”, ever-evolving, forever un-finished, work in progress.
Furthermore, we invite critically constructive examination of the very content and perspectives presented here as we continue to collectively co-construct various sections. In beginner classes, this kind of examination may require the use of English, as a common language in our classrooms, to engage in this level of dialogue. This may also require us to sit with the potential discomfort generated by some of the topics and questions included in each of the modules, most of them are highly complex and nuanced with no easy solutions or ‘correct answers’. It is our goal for us to empathise with and celebrate the multitude of diverse lived experiences (including our own) and to learn to communicate in Spanish along the way.
Selected works inspiring this pedagogical vision
Acaso, M. (2013). rEDUvolution. Hacer la revolución en la educación. Paidós.
Gurney, L., & Díaz, A. (2020). Coloniality, neoliberalism and the language textbook: Unravelling the symbiosis in Spanish as a foreign language. Language, Culture and Society, 2(2), 149-173.
Heinrichs, D. H. (2020). Decoloniality, Spanish and Latin American studies in Australian universities: ¿es un mundo ch’ixi posible?. Third World Thematics: A TWQ Journal, 5(1-2), 37-59.
Lacorte, M., & Atienza, E. (2018). Dimensiones críticas en la enseñanza del español (Critical dimensions in Spanish language teaching). En J. Muñoz-Basols, E. Gironzetti, y M. Lacorte (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Spanish Language Teaching (pp. 137-150). Routledge.
Leaver, B. L., Davidson, D. E., & Campbell, C. (Eds.). (2021). Transformative language learning and teaching. Cambridge University Press.
Macedo, D. (Ed.). (2019). Decolonizing foreign language education: The misteaching of English and other colonial languages. Routledge.
Prádanos, L. I. (2015). The pedagogy of degrowth: Teaching Hispanic studies in the age of social inequality and ecological collapse. Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies, 19, 153-168.
Randolph Jr, L. J., & Johnson, S. M. (2017). Social Justice in the Language Classroom: A Call to Action. Dimension, 99-121.
Sousa, L. P. D. Q., & Pessoa, R. R. (2019). Humans, nonhuman others, matter and language: A discussion from posthumanist and decolonial perspectives. Trabalhos em Linguística Aplicada, 58(2), 520-543.
Takaki, N. H. (2020). Exercising Southern and decolonial (self)critique in translanguaging: for a juntos stance. Revista X, 15(1), 32-54.
Zembylas, M. (2018). The entanglement of decolonial and posthuman perspectives: Tensions and implications for curriculum and pedagogy in higher education. Parallax, 24(3), 254-267.
- In this modified version of the adjective "juntos", which can roughly be pronounced as "hun-tes" or "hun-teks" in English, instead of using the default/generic masculine plural version "juntos" to refer to a group of people together, we intentionally replaced the vowel "o" with the consonant "x". This letter has become a symbol of political activism and inclusivity in Spanish. While not formally accepted by linguistic authorities and even resisted by some speakers of Spanish, the use of the "x" signals a move beyond the masculine-feminine binary in this grammatical gendered language and it also symbolises the centering of other marginalised communities, for instance, Indigenous and Afro-descendent communities within the Spanish-speaking world. We explore and reflect on this and other ways in which political activism is reflected in Spanish language in various sections of this learning resource.
Read more here:
- Salinas, C., & Lozano, A. (2021). The history and evolution of the term Latinx. In E. G. Murillo Jr, D. Delgado Bernal, S. Morales, L. Urrieta, E. Ruiz Bybee, J. S. Muñoz, V. B. V. Saenz, D. , M. Machado-Casas, & K. Espinoza (Eds.), Handbook of Latinos and Education (pp. 249-263). Routledge.
- Smith, G. (2020). What It Means to Include "X" In Words Such As Womxn, Folx, and Latinx. Shape. ↵
- This includes animals, plants and other living creatures and entities as well as water (lakes, rivers), forests, and mountains, but also machines and digital technologies. ↵