Karla Pena (lecturer)

Karla Pena

Karla bioKarla Peña has been a visiting faculty member at COA since 1998 and a lecturer since 2006, and has coordinated COA's Yucatan Program since 2005. This program provides students with an intensive and authentic experience of cultural and linguistic immersion in Southeast Mexico, at the heart of the Mayan region. The Yucatan Winter Program is recognized as one of the most successful and established study abroad programs of our college, offering participants not only sharp language skills but also deep cultural awareness and adaptation.

With the solid and lasting experience of 15 years Karla has helped many people of a variety of backgrounds, nationalities, interests, and ages to communicate in Spanish.  This diversity of individuals has allowed her to develop an innovative methodology for language acquisition based in full cultural immersion centered around the learning characteristics and interests of each student.  Karla Peña's masters research thesis on her methodology of language acquisition received the highest level of recognition by the Ministry of Education in Spain.

Karla Peña is also founder and director of PICY (Programas de Inmersion Cultural en Yucatán) an organization that promotes cultural and education exchange between people of all over the world based in Merida, Yucatan's Capital city.

B.A. Education, Autonomous University of Yucatan 1998
M.S. Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language, Antonio de Nebrija University,
Madrid, Spain. 2010

Courses Taught

HS5017Advanced Spanish I


HS1019Beginning Spanish I

This course is for students who have had no contact with Latin American culture, do not possess basic Spanish language structures and expressions, and have no Spanish vocabulary. The emphasis is on development of the basic skills required in any language - listening, speaking, writing, and reading comprehension. Objective: Students will be able to express themselves orally and through writing, using vocabulary and simple construction of Spanish in the indicative tense. This includes present tense study, vocabulary, numbers, proper nouns, salutations and  presentations, present perfect tense, action verbs, the usage of "to be" and "is", future tense, vocabulary, and some usage of "for". Evaluation Criteria:  two Compositions, two auditory tests, two writing tests covering grammar, two oral tests, assignments/ homework, class participation.

Level:  Introductory.  Offered every fall.  Class limit: 10.  Lab fee: $20.

HS1020Beginning Spanish II

This course is intended for students with a basic knowledge of grammar, using common vocabulary that is needed for every day situations. Objective: The students will be able to express themselves orally and through writing using subject-verb agreement, basic form in the indicative tense, and an introduction to the imperative moods. It includes a review of the present and future tenses, study of the imperfect tense, action verbs, direct object, proper nouns, the indicative tense, the use of the "to be" and "is" verbs, and an introduction to prepositions. Evaluation Criteria: two Compositions, two auditory tests, two writing tests covering grammar, two oral tests, assignments/ homework, class participation.

Level: Introductory.  Offered every fall.  Class limit: 10.  Lab fee: $20.

HS3022Intermediate Spanish II

This course is for students who use the simple and compound structures of the indicative mood. Objective: The students will express themselves orally and through writing using the appropriate vocabulary and complex sentence structure in the indicative, subjunctive, and imperative moods, adverb clauses and more sophisticated idioms. Evaluation Criteria:  two compositions, two auditory tests, two writing test covering grammar, two oral tests, assignments/ homework, class participation.

Level: Intermediate.  Class limit: 10.

HS171Spanish Conversation and Applications

This course develops intermediate and advanced skills in verb use, idiom, and vocabulary. It emphasizes development of those language competencies that are most relevant to Mexican cultural settings that are commonly encountered, distinctive, and/or important. It also focuses on developing language competencies directly relevant to projects people are interested in pursuing in Spanish speaking environments, e.g. research on wall murals, coral reefs, or indigenous land rights. It is especially appropriate for students planning to participate in the Winter term courses in the Yucatan. This course presupposes competence in the simple tenses and a basic vocabulary. Class meets for two one-and- one-half hour sessions per week plus Wednesday conversation at dinner at the college. Level: Intermediate/Advanced. Class limit: 15.

HS3055The Mayas of Yesterday and Today

This is a course in the history and culture of  the Yucatec Maya offered as part of the College's Yucatan Program in Mexico. It will cover key features of the Pre-Hispanic, Colonial and Modern eras.  Readings will include classic texts by and about them as well as contemporary studies in archaeology and anthropology. Themes will include social structure, religion, politics,  agricultural practices, language and family life. Homework will include various short writing assignments and oral project reports. Field trips in and around Merida will be included both to visit archaeological sites of special interest and also to visit contemporary communities of Maya. Each student will do a  major final project which will include research in texts and fieldwork which culminate in an extended study on site in a Maya village.  This course will be taught entirely in Spanish.
Level: Intermediate.  Prerequisite: signature of Yucatan program director and co-enrollment in HS6010 Spanish Language and HS2021 Immersion Practica. Lab fee: TBA. Class limit: 12

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