Teaching World Languages for Specific Purposes

A Practical Guide

Diana M. Ruggiero

Learner-centered practical strategies, models, and resources for the development of world languages for specific purposes curricula
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Learner-centered practical strategies, models, and resources for the development of world languages for specific purposes curricula

The world today is changing, and college-level language departments are rethinking and revamping their vision and curricular offerings as a result. The field of world languages for specific purposes (WLSP) presents a solution to these challenges, helping students develop language skills and intercultural competencies as they focus on content-based professional areas such as business, law, and medicine. As demand for these courses grows, teachers and administrators seek research-based information on how to develop and teach WLSP curricula. This book bridges theory and practice, inviting scholars, educators, students, and professionals of all areas of world language specialization to create new opportunities for their students.

Teaching World Languages for Specific Purposes provides practical strategies, models, and resources for developing WLSP curricula through a learner-centered approach grounded in empathy and compassion. Author Diana M. Ruggiero begins with an overview of the scholarship and purpose of WLSP, providing a firm foundation for teachers. She then guides teachers through each key step of WLSP pedagogy, from course development to formative assessment of students. Along the way, Ruggiero addresses important topics such as language interpretation, culture, the needs of heritage learners, and the role of community service learning (CSL) in WLSP. Included in the conversation are new considerations for WLSP and CSL in the wake of COVID-19. Resources for further curriculum development, models for assignments and assessments, sample lesson plans and lesson planning materials, and much more are available in the appendixes, making this a rich resource for all world languages educators.

Table of Contents



1. Teaching WLSP

2. WLSP in Higher Education

3. Teacher and Student Readiness

4. Curriculum Development for the WLSP Classroom

5. Developing Community Partnerships for CSL in WLSP

6. Designing and Integrating WLSP CSL Projects

7. Integrating WLSP into Non-WLSP Courses

8. Interpreting in WLSP

9. Culture and WLSP

10. Heritage Language Learners and WLSP

11. Communication Technology, WLSP, and CSL in the Wake of COVID-19


A. Selected Print and Online Resources

B. Medical Spanish Course Syllabus and Calendar (Intermediate/Advanced Levels)

C. Lesson Plans in WLSP (Intermediate/Advanced Levels)

D. Assignments (Intermediate/Advanced Levels)

E. Assessments (Intermediate/Advanced Levels)

F. CSL Exit Survey

G. Sample Lesson Plan, Reading Guide, and Journal Prompt (Non-WLSP Course; Intermediate/Advanced Levels)

H. Interpreter Dialogue Template (Intermediate/Advanced Levels)

I. Community Engagement Lesson Plan and World Café (Intermediate/Advanced Levels)

J. HL Interpreting, Cover Letter, and Résumé Activities (Intermediate/Advanced Levels)


About the Author



"Teaching World Languages for Specific Purposes: A Practical Guide equips instructors and students with valuable resources and tools that synthesize foreign language learning and real-world experience. Principles and techniques presented in this volume reflect a unique combination of theory and application, which stand to benefit a broad audience."—Tony Brown, professor of Russian, Brigham Young University

"In Teaching World Languages for Specific Purposes, Diana Ruggiero combines deep social consciousness with wisdom gained from years of research and teaching to provide a comprehensive guide for world language program administrators and instructors seeking to develop and expand offerings in this essential field."—Mary K. Long, director of Spanish for the Professions, University of Colorado–Boulder


Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Diana M. Ruggiero is an associate professor of Spanish at the University of Memphis, where she has developed and taught several WLSP courses, including Spanish for Healthcare and Spanish for Commerce. She has published widely on WLSP and community-based language learning.

144 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-1-64712-158-7
Mar 2022

144 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-1-64712-159-4
Mar 2022

144 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-64712-160-0
Mar 2022

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