Students and faculty collaborate in a variety of ways at Canisius. In the Spanish program, the students and faculty work together to provide additional opportunities for students to practice their language skills. With the assistance of the faculty in the program, the Spanish Honors Society (Sigma Delta Pi) and the Canisius Earning Excellence Program (CEEP), students organize a weekly tertulia (informal conversation practice) and a telenovela screening, showing a popular TV soap opera which, in Latin America, is more akin to a long miniseries than U.S. soap operas. Students gain practice speaking and listening to the language and they also glean cultural knowledge.
What is often overlooked in telenovelas are the social critiques of the shows. Despite their romantic underpinnings, these shows also often serve as public service announcements to viewers (e.g., scenes reinforcing the need for women to get mammograms) or hint at social justice issues (bullying, class discrimination, problems with the church, political corruption, LGBTQ rights). While the good always triumphs over evil, in the end these narratives are also fun and engaging, and often the catalyst for musical groups (e.g., RBLD and Juanes).
Information about the tertulias and the telenovelas is provided to students on the modern languages’ Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/CanisiusModernLanguages).
Submitted by: Sara Morris, associate vice president, academic affairs