C - Applications in Teaching and Learning Languages

Program Presentation

In recent times the Spanish language has moved to a privileged position among world languages and the consequent increase in demand for the teaching Spanish have exposed the need for progress, research and training in this area.

Spanish is currently the second language of international communication and the fourth most spoken in the world (it is the native tongue of over 400 million people in more than 20 countries). In the U.S. there are over 30 million Spanish speakers and in Canada Spanish is the language with highest growth. Also, the explosive demand for foreign language courses in Spanish that originated at the beginning of the 90s, and that has progressively increased until today, is another positive factor which denotes the importance of forming good professionals.

Europe has begun to experience a very similar situation. According to the data from the Instituto Cervantes, between four and five million people study Spanish as a foreign language in the European Union. Also, there has been increased interest in the Spanish language in countries that have recently joined the EU, or in countries like Norway and Switzerland, where the rise in number of students is very significant. A result of this trend is the sharp increase in demand for Spanish courses that has emerged globally.

In this context, a group of Spanish and Latinamerican universities jointly offer an interuniversity online program of teacher trainings for Spanish as a foreign language {Formación de Profesores de Español como Lengua Extranjera (FOPELE) in response to this new reality. It seeks to create synergy by combining existing capabilities of each institution.

As a result of this collaboration, a type of training developed that rewards learning autonomy without neglecting constant, flexible interaction and tailored to the needs of teachers in training, has been created.

For this reason, the materials offered have been developed to be used via the Internet in a purpose designed interface. This type of training focuses on a virtual interaction through channels such as email, platforms, chat, etc.

Who is the programme for?

The general profile of course recipients is as follows:

  • Professors of Spanish as a SL in primary and secondary education, both in public as well as private institutions.
  • Professors of Spanish as a SL in adult education.
  • Associate and bachelor degree graduates in related specialties who intend to work as professors of Spanish as a SL.

To access the courses, it is necessary to meet the following requirements:

  1. Academic requirements:

    Applicants must hold a university degree or equivalent in order to access the program courses except the University Extension Courses A, B and C. If they have a degree in another area, they must take an entrance test.

  2. Language requirements:

    To enter the program is necessary to prove sufficient command of Spanish as the language used in the academic context. This domain recognizes those who have completed an accredited university degree in a related area in universities of Spanish speaking countries. However, this recognition is not automatic and is materialized after carefully studying the documentation that the applicant provides.

    In the event that no such qualification is available, sufficient language proficiency must be established by submitting documents such as the Higher Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language from the Cervantes Institute or other equivalents.

    If applicants do not have any certificate attesting their language level or their university degree does not have the correct one, they must take an entrance test in order to enter the program. The results of the test are assessed as APT, CONDITIONALLY APT, NOT APT. APT qualification gives the applicant direct access to program courses. In the event that the applicant obtains a CONDITIONALLY APT, they must take a mandatory course of academic Spanish and writing that allows them to catch up on the level of the required language before starting the program. On the other hand, if the applicant receives a NOT APT, they are given the opportunity to also take the language course that matches their level in the virtual context of AVE from the Cervantes Institute to meet the required language requirements and gain access to the program.

    Once applicants have notified the result of the entrance exam and enroll in this program agree with the conditions listed above, they will be given a placement test to place them in the appropriate language course.

    Obtaining the corresponding title in TPSSL is subject to the student reaching the required level of required language.

  3. Teaching experience:

    It is recommended that applicants have a minimum of experience as teacher of Spanish as a SL. If the applicant does not have teaching experience, if it is deemed necessary, their entrance to the program will be assessed.

Program Structure

Candidates must pass a certain number of credits in order to obtain corresponding degrees. The following table shows the credits that make up each course and its distribution.

A* B** C***
Subjects 51 30 18 12 12
Practicum 10 10 --- --- ---
Master's Report 20 --- --- --- ---
Total credits 81 40 18 12 12

* Foundations of Teaching and Learning Languages
** Applications in Teaching and Learning Languages
*** Spanish Culture and Language

The course the best suits individual needs can be chosen. In this sense, it is not necessary to have previously taken any of the other courses in order to pursue the Master.

One or more courses of the Specialization (A, B, C), Expert or Master can be taken.

Specialization courses allow obtaining validation for future registrations in the Expert or the Master.

Also, -as indicated below– completion of the TPSSL Master gives access to undertake the master in TESL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) validation of the common subjects.

The following table shows the length of each program:

Master 25 months
Expert 18 months
Specialist A 8 months
Specialist B 4 months
Specialist C 4 months


General Objective:

The overall objective of the TPSSL program is to offer a wide and updated training and provide the basis for development of academic and professional skills needed to teach Spanish as a SL in any of the different teacher-learning contexts.

It aims to support professional practice on current knowledge; provide insights regarding the nature of teaching and learning in general; and develop perceptions, knowledge, resources and practical skills necessary to complete the theoretical basis.

Stimulation of critical insight is one aspect that defines the nature of the project and makes a good bridge between basic theoretical training and necessary practical application, key action area.

Specific objectives:

  • Provide comprehensive understanding of the work of a professor of Spanish as a SL and help develop strategies to improve the most important aspects of it, considering its context, now and in the future-.
  • Acquaint the professor with the most relevant methodological proposals in the field of teaching Spanish as a SL and help develop a greater understanding and sensitivity to the nature of language, its use and learning.
  • Emphasize the importance of individual professional development and innovation in the area.
  • Provide students with the necessary advice to enable them to independently carry out research on their own teaching assignment and thus advance professionally.

In this sense, the program encourages the professor in training to:

  • Interpret relationship between theory and practice and keep it in mind.
  • Adapt new ideas and strategies to actual classroom situations.
  • Experiment and innovate the teaching practice.
  • Apply analytical skills to specific issues and problems.
  • Demonstrate ability to critically evaluate literature and current research work in the field of teaching Spanish as a foreign language.
  • Evaluate advantages and disadvantages of specific current teaching strategies and programs.
  • Apply knowledge and skills acquired during the program in the continuous improvement of teaching practices.
  • The program’s focus is that students engage in a process of professional development directly related to their current or future work.

Pedagogical Approach

The program is not limited to mere provision of content, but as if it were a good classroom course, a series of pedagogical actions are conducted to promote collaborative learning (between students and tutors). All courses in the program are based on the following teaching model:

  • Collaborative training model.
  • Based on dynamic and constructivism training and learning concept.
  • Stimulation of critical insight from the professor regarding their teaching practice and educational thinking.
  • Work method nest to research-action.
  • Interactive and multicultural groups.

Study Plan

1 Modes of directing the classroom. Techniques and reflection on practice 3
2 Observation and research in the classroom 3


1 Second language acquisition 3
2 Individual factors in learning 3


1 Pragmalinguistic communication and adaptation 3


1 Spanish grammar for teachers of SSL 3


1 Methodological foundations 3
2 Skill development in the classroom 3
3 Creation, adaptation and evaluation of materials and resources 3
4 Projects and tasks 3
5 Educational technology in language learning 3


1 Practicum 7


  • Dr. Jesús Arzamendi. Iberoamerican International University - FUNIBER.
  • Dr. Jesús López Peláez. European University of the Atlantic (UNEATLANTICO).
  • Dr. Antonio Bueno. European University of the Atlantic (UNEATLANTICO).
  • Dr. Narciso Contreras. European University of the Atlantic (UNEATLANTICO).
  • Dr. Mercedes Roldán. European University of the Atlantic (UNEATLANTICO).


  • Dr. Silvia Pueyo. Iberoamerican University Foundation - FUNIBER

FUNIBER Training Scholarships

The Iberoamerican University Foundation (FUNIBER) allocates periodically an extraordinary economic item for FUNIBER Training Scholarships.

To apply, please fill out the information request form that appears in the web of FUNIBER or contact directly the Foundation’s headquarters in your country that will inform you if you need to provide some additional information.

Once the documentation is received, the Evaluation Committee will determine your application's eligibility for the FUNIBER Training Scholarship.