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Spanish Language


Spanish Language Immersion for Law Enforcement


Length of Seminar: 10 Days
Instructor: Jose Alentado

Click the image above to view the Spanish Immersion
Training Facilities

Course Overview:

The rapid influx of Hispanics into the United States in recent years has resulted in increasing numbers of encounters between law enforcement and individuals whose native language is Spanish. Law enforcement officers with no knowledge of the Spanish language and culture are at a disadvantage at these encounters. They may react inappropriately since they cannot understand what is being said and they are unable to gather information, offer assistance, or give orders when necessary. Recognizing that basic Spanish language skills would serve to increase the law enforcement officer’s safety and efficiency.

General Structure and Philosophy Of The Program
Developing language skills is comparable to developing the ability to shoot accurately or to play a sport well. Understanding the structure of the language and the meaning of the written word is important, but the ability to understand the language when spoken and to verbalize the language is developed only through extensive practice. Normally, the amount of practice required to develop usable skills necessitates eight to sixteen weeks of study based on an eight hour instructional day and out-of-class assignments. However, in order to offer a Spanish language program that would be feasible for active duty Law Enforcement officers, Partners in Training has developed a total immersion program covering a span of 10 days. These days, including a full day of classes on Saturday, are devoted to language study. Throughout the program, the participant hears and uses the Spanish language the entire day, including evening hours and meal times. The instructional day is extended to an average of 10-12 hours by planned activities requiring the use of the language with some personal time scheduled during the afternoon hours.

Living and dining quarters separated from the general population are provided to minimize interference by the English language during the course of study. Intense student participation is essential to the development of usable Spanish skills within this short time frame. Consequently, only two hours of each instructional day is devoted to lecture, with the remainder of the day centered on student drills, guided and student generated conversational activities, and cultural activities—all requiring the use of the Spanish language.

The emphasis of the program as a whole is primarily on understanding the spoken language and on making brief, understandable responses appropriately. The ability to communicate is an understandable manner is encouraged with attention to grammatical correctness and authentic pronunciation only as a means of avoiding lack of communication or misunderstanding. Cultural activities and physical activities requiring the use of Spanish language compliment formal classroom study. Cultural activities have a two-fold purpose. They provide the participant with the opportunity to use Spanish language skills in social settings, while increasing their ability to understand and deal with typical Hispanic behavior.

This program will be most beneficial to those officers and agents whose assignments require routine interaction with Spanish speaking individuals. Only participants who use the Spanish language frequently after completing the program will maintain the skills developed during the course of study.

The program is developed on the premise that the participant has little or no prior knowledge of the Spanish language.

However participants with some knowledge of the language but little or no ability to understand or speak it may also benefit from the program. All participants are expected to take a pledge to speak only Spanish throughout the program. Although the participants’ natural aptitude for language learning will affect the degree of language skills developed to some extent, the participants’ motivation, willingness to cooperate, and willingness to abide by the pledge to speak only Spanish are the primary prerequisite to success in the program.

** Evening activities vary throughout the program, causing a variance in the hour the day’s activities end. Evening activities include arrest expressions, search techniques, dialogue presentation, and the introduction of new vocabulary.

Basic grammatical structures and vocabulary will be introduced in the master class. The participants will be divided into small groups for drill, sessions to allow for more student participation and individual attention. The vocabulary and grammar introduced in the master class will be put into a law enforcement context in the drill sessions. A rapid drill technique, requiring frequent and spontaneous participant response, will be used in these sessions. The participant will practice the grammar and vocabulary within the context in which it was presented and will manipulate the grammatical structures to express ideas in other contexts. These sessions will also serve to expand vocabulary. There will be two drill sessions during the morning hours and three in the afternoon, with ten minute breaks between sessions.

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Corrections/Court Security
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Public Agency Training Council - 2230 Stafford Road STE 115 PMB 379 - Plainfield, IN 46168 - 800.365.0119

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