As the number of Spanish-speaking individuals seeking employment in the fields of agriculture and horticulture continues to grow, it is not surprising that language and/or cultural differences are seen as significant workplace challenges for employers hiring Hispanic labor. This course has been designed to respond to these needs. During a seven week program full of interactive online meetings, exercises, and projects, students will be introduced to basic conversational Spanish and a technical vocabulary designed specifically for those who supervise or work closely with an agricultural/horticultural workforce. In addition, presentations and materials will include information on the importance of cultural conventions of the Spanish-speaking world that, if not understood, may negatively impact workplace dynamics.
One strategy for addressing the challenges of a culturally mixed workplace is an investment in "occupational language and cultural training." Thus, an important tool for today's agricultural or horticultural professionals is a skill set that allows them to connect with their workforce at basic linguistic and cultural levels. This course has been designed to respond to these needs.
Recorded instructor lectures, coupled with websites presenting the fundamentals of Spanish grammar, will provide instruction. The instructor will be available to support participant learning throughout the course with office hours and scheduled communications via phone or video chat. Learning a language is an active process and participants are strongly encouraged to engage with the material through the multiple assignments presented during the course and to practice vocabulary terms, etc.
Introduction - discuss participant expectations and curriculum; assess Spanish language speaking ability of the class members; provide a review of the basics of the Spanish language; identify key vocabulary terms and phrases in order to plan the day's work; and compare and contrast American and Hispanic culture.
Basic Spanish - identification and use of key Spanish vocabulary terms i.e. verbs and useful phrases; understanding the use of the verbs Ser and Estar in the present tense; meeting and greeting in Spanish, both socially and professionally; vocabulary of management/leadership.
Spanish in the Field - discussing the farm/agricultural workplace; identification of farm tools; giving commands (and the culture of commands); conjugation of –AR, -ER and –IR verbs in the present tense; compare and contrast methods/styles of communication in the Latino culture vs US culture.
Time, Weather, and Other Basic Concepts - describe clock time, calendar, climate, and quantity in Spanish; express likes and dislikes; understand the significance of the traditional family relationship in the Hispanic world.
Communication Scenarios - identify a set of problems in an agricultural scenario, develop a management/solutions plan, and communicate using formal commands.
Human Resources (Health and Safety) - identify health and safety issues and understand the dangers inherent in an agricultural workplace; discuss significant cultural aspects of the Hispanic world.
Vocabulary Applicable to the Participant's Agricultural Workplace – participants will develop their own handbook of useful words and phrases that are specific to their field of agriculture.
Course Summary - The goal of the final week of class is to apply what has been learned by conversing in basic Spanish with the instructor and to show mastery of the basics of the Spanish language, culture, and agricultural terminology.