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Portfolio Information for Spanish Majors

As you begin taking 3000/4000-level courses, also begin to collect essays and audio/ videotaped presentations for a Working Portfolio. Later, as you near graduation, select from this Working Portfolio four or five of your best papers to create an Exemplary or Ideal Portfolio, which you will submit in the semester of your graduation, when you should register for SPAN 4098.

Turning in your portfolio fulfills the requirements of SPAN 4098 and, if you deliver it by April 1, it enters you into the contest for Best Spanish Portfolio for that academic year. The winner of that prize will receive a small cash award, a certificate, and the respect of peers and teachers. Should you be interested in graduate education in Spanish, you might revise an essay from your portfolio to create the writing sample required for most graduate school applications. Many graduate programs also require an audio sample of your spoken Spanish, for which you might wish to use the oral presentation from your portfolio.

Remember a portfolio is not just a collection of your work in Spanish. Instead, it is a thoughtfully selected, arranged, and presented record of your most significant intellectual accomplishments in your upper-level coursework. As such, it reflects on your learning and on the Spanish program.

Present your portfolio in a loose-leaf binder big enough to accommodate about 30 pages of your work, but not so big as to take up unnecessary space in Spanish Department archives. All papers included in the portfolio must be written following MLA format (you may reformat papers that were not originally formatted in that style). The binder should have your name and the words "Spanish Portfolio" and the date of your anticipated graduation on both the cover and the spine.

Inside, the first item in your portfolio should be a brief cover letter, showing your current contact information in the return address, and addressed to the Spanish Degree Coordinator. A letter of transmittal typically names the document being submitted and states the purpose for its submission. The letter may also highlight a couple of significant features of the contents being submitted. It should be composed following the conventions used in formal business letters written in Spanish.

Following the letter of transmittal, a table of contents shows the titles of the essays and audio/videotaped presentation(s) that make up your portfolio.

The first item listed in your table of contents should be a 500-word reflective essay, the single most important component of your portfolio. A reflective essay is a substantive analysis of the other essays and presentations in the portfolio; in it, explain which Spanish major skills are evident in the work you chose to include. That means, instead of writing "I liked X or Y about Essay 2," you will write something like "Essay 2 shows that I am able to . . ." or "Essay 3 shows my skill as . . . ." In your reflective essay you should explain how the analytical and linguistic skills exemplified in your portfolio will prepare you to succeed in the professional career you plan to pursue after graduation.

You may also want to identify one or two particular schools of literary or cultural criticism, linguistic theories or practical UHD courses that have expanded your language skills or focused your insights into Spanish language and Hispanic cultures. Explain how those approaches to the study of Spanish language and Hispanic cultures are reflected in the work you are submitting in the portfolio. This reflective essay, like the others in your portfolio, should exhibit features expected of academic writing--a firm structure, solid logic, appropriate citation, and expert editing. And it of course should be written in academic Spanish.

Next come your four or five essays. These essays show your skill at cultural, linguistic or literary analysis, as well as at writing in formal or academic Spanish. The essays should represent the best work you produced in at least three different upper-level Spanish courses at UHD and, along with the reflective essay, should amount to at least 20 pages. In addition to these 20 pages, you may include creative writing if you wish. Label each piece of writing with your name, a title, the name and number of the course you wrote it for, and its date of composition.

While you may submit the essays of your portfolio in the same form in which you turned them in for a course, you may also revise them in light of teacher comments, later learning and new insights. Remember, also, that every essay must be written according to MLA stylistic guidelines. If you choose to revise your work for the portfolio, submit both the original (graded) version, clearly labeled, and your clearly labeled revision.

On each essay included in your portfolio, keep the date of original submission so that you and your readers can see how your writing and research have developed. You will be aided in this if you get into the habit of including your full name, name of course and professor, and date of submission on all essays you write for Spanish courses. It is a good idea to include your last name, the course title (i.e., SPAN 3301) and date of submission as a header or footer on each page of every essay.

Finally, you must submit an audio- or videotaped recording of a short speech about your Spanish internship (this should be between four and five minutes long, delivered completely in Spanish). The Spanish degree coordinator will inform you by email about the place and the dates and times when you may complete this speech each semester. In this presentation, include a description of your work situation at the internship site and explain what you did on a typical day. Talk about your coworkers and supervisors and the kinds of interactions that you had to undertake in Spanish during the internship. Finally, be sure to explain how your UHD coursework in Spanish prepared you for the challenges of the internship and whether or not you learned any new skills during the internship that will prepare you to succeed in the workplace after graduation.

For this presentation you should organize your comments beforehand, and you may prepare notes to aid your memory during delivery, but do not read a prepared script. Try to speak as naturally as possible in a clear and professional Spanish that feels comfortable to you and demonstrates your speaking abilities. In addition to this speech about your internship, you might want to include another oral presentation that you have delivered as part of an upper-level Spanish course at UHD. This second speech might come from SPAN 3320 or any other Spanish course that requires oral presentations. Please submit the tape or CD in an envelope clearly labeled with your name, the course title and date of the presentation, and an appropriate title. This envelope should be attached to the inside of your binder with tape, preferably inside an interior pocket on the binder if possible. The recording of your presentation(s) in Spanish should be listed as the last item(s) in the table of contents at the beginning of the portfolio.

Just as you do for courses, keep the essays of your Working Portfolio in a safe place, and back up all work on duplicate electronic storage devices. If you want copies of the portfolio, make and keep them before submitting your portfolio to the Spanish Degree Coordinator. The Spanish program keeps portfolios on file rather than returning them to students.

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Last updated or reviewed on 5/7/10

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