What Did They Learn? Adults Make Sense Of A First Semester Spanish Course

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2013

Publication Source

The TFLTA Journal

Volume Number


First Page


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Tennessee Foreign Language Teaching Association


Foreign (world) language teaching standards require students to learn more than language. The theory of transformative learning provides a useful framework for exploring adults' profound learning experiences and for evaluating how student learning compares with the national foreign language learning standards. This study investigates learning as reported by adult students in a first-semester, college Spanish class. Purposeful sampling was used to choose a college-level Elementary Spanish I class to study. Student learning journals were collected and analyzed to determine what participants learned other than language. Students who exhibited signs of transformative learning in the learning journals were invited to participate in one-on-one, in-depth interviews. Analysis of the data revealed seven categories of learning reported by students: 1) content, 2) skills, 3) personalized learning, 4) contextualized learning, 5) learning about learning, 6) learning about differences, and 7) learning about connections.


Foreign language, Learning Standards