In episode 121, Stacey interviews Dr. Gwen Barnes-Karol, who specializes in teaching literature, and Dr. Maggie Broner, a sociolinguist,  about how a content-based curriculum has transformed the language program at St. Olaf College in Minnesota. St Olaf’s Spanish program focuses on textual analysis and academic language starting in the third semester, and they have no grammar review or intro to literature bridge course into the major. This episode, and Part II next week, will break down how they have arrived where they are now.

Or listen on iTunes/the Apple podcast app, on the Google Podcast app, or on Stitcher!

Download the full transcript here.


Show Notes

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Image result for gwen barnes-karolDr. Gwendolyn Barnes-Karol is a specialist in Spanish Literature with a secondary interest in curriculum and instruction (second languages and cultures), whose research interests highlight the interaction between oral and written/print culture, the development of the Spanish literary canon, the reception of literature by both native- and non-native-speakers of Spanish, the use of authentic cultural materials in the classroom, and content-based instruction in foreign languages. You can learn more about her work on her faculty page or contact her by email:



Dr. Maggie Broner developed an interest in languages and language variation at an early age. Maggie specializes in Hispanic linguistics (sociolinguistics) and Second language acquisition and pedagogy. She has published on Spanish and English language use and language play in full K-6 Spanish immersion settings and on content-based instruction at the college/university level. Her other areas of interest include teaching Spanish to heritage speakers and how foreign-second language learners process full length literary and non-literary texts in the undergraduate setting. You can learn more about her work on her faculty page or contact her by email:


If you want to visit some of the sources mentioned in this episode…

…Corder, P. (1967).The significance of learner’s errors. International Review of Applied Linguistics in
Language Teaching, 5(1-4), 161-170. doi:10.1515/iral.1967.5.1-4.161

…Dr. Vivian Cook on multicompetence 

…Dr. Virginia Scott’s article in multicompetence and language teaching

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard the term “languages across the curriculum” on the podcast. Check out Episode 21: Cross-curricular Innovations in a Liberal Arts Language Department with Sebastiaan Faber to learn more about what Oberlin College has done along these lines.

If you’re interested in learning about departmental level change from some of our other guests as well, check out these previous episodes…

Episode 119: Integrated Instruction in Pre-K through 8 and Inviting Colleagues into Change with Victoria Gilbert

Episode 101: One Department’s Approach to Collaborative Planning with North County High School’s Languages Department

Episode 66: Pursuing Proficiency with Williamson County Schools, Part I and Episode 67: Part II

Episode 36: A Departmental Shift to IPA-based Units with Rich Madel


If you want to cite this episode, our suggested APA (7th ed.) reference is:

Johnson, S.M. (Interviewer/Producer). (2019, October 25). Collaborating to Build a Content-based Language Program with Gwen Barnes-Karol and Maggie Broner, Part I (Episode 121) [Audio podcast episode]. In We Teach Languages.


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