In episode 122, Stacey continues her conversation with 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 I from last week, will break down how their approach plays out in classes.

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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:


The Heidi Byrnes quote Stacey mentioned in the intro is in the image below and you can find the source here: Byrnes, H. (2002). The Cultural Turn in Foreign Language Departments: Challenge and Opportunity. Profession, 114-129. Retrieved from


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

…Maggie mentioned VanPatten’s call-to-action article called Where are the Experts?

…Cummings concepts of BICS (Basic Interpersonal Communicative Skill) and CALP (Cognitive Academic Language Profciency)

…MLA 2007 report Foreign Languages and Higher Education: New Structures for a Changed World

…Lightbown and Spada’s foundational text How Languages are Learned

…Dr. Virginia Scott’s excellent book Double Talk


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 reference is:
Johnson, S.M. (Producer/Interviewer). (2019). We Teach Languages Episode 122: Collaborating to Build a Content-based Language Program with Gwen Barnes-Karol and Maggie Broner, Part II [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from

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