For this assignment I decided to interview Dr. Francisco Cabello who is a Spanish language professor at Concordia College. He is originally from Sevilla, Spain and has been teaching Spanish language and culture for many years. In my interview there were two things I wanted to know about his culture: the perceptions of time and the school system. Below you will see the interview.
1.- What are your perceptions about time in general?
There is never enough of it here in the US, but in my country time “is not of the essence” as it is here in the USA. We are not in such a hurry all the time, as we are here. Deadlines don’t mean a thing. You can always be late with your project and nothing happens. People are not holding you down to a specific deadline.
2.- What values and attitudes you associate with time?
Popular expressions such as “time is money” and “time flies” are also applicable to my culture. I also believe that time is a precious commodity and we should not waste it. We have a limited amount of it in our lives and we should use it wisely.
3.- Do you think being on time is important in your culture?
Not at all. We are not British or American. You don’t have to apologize if you are late, as you do here in the USA. Most things never start on time.
4.- What are the implications if somebody is late for an job interview or any other event?
None. Most people do not arrive on time because it is not expected that you arrive on time.
5.- The other topic I am interested in is the school system:
Number of periods in a day – 8
Length of school day – 8:30 – 3:00 pm
Subjects studied – Many: Spanish Language, Math, Social Science (History, Geography, etc) Natural Sciences, Humanities, Foreign Languages, etc. Religion is an elective, students have also the option of studying Ethics instead of Religion
Uniforms – There are no uniforms in public schools, but some of the private schools do have uniforms
Textbooks – The educational system in Spain is decentralized, so every “autonomous community”—as they are called—the equivalent of a state in the USA, has total control about curriculum and textbooks. They are different in every region (autonomous communities). This has become a problem, because there is no sense of national history as every region superimposes its own view on the national history
Breaks – There are many school breaks during the academic year. The school year starts in mid-September in the schools and ends at the end of June. The breaks are:
Oct 12-13: Día de la Hispanidad
Nov.1-2: Día de Todos los Santos y Día de los Difuntos
Dec. 6: Día de la Constitución
Dec.20-Jan 7 Navidad y Reyes
1 week in March or April: Semana Santa (Holy Week): This is a Catholic holiday whose dates can change from year to year)
May 1: El Día del Trabajo (International Labor Day)
July-Mid September: Summer break
These are national breaks and holidays. Then, every autonomous community can have its own holidays. For example, in Andalucía, the 28th of February is a school break because of the date when Andalucia gained its own autonomy.
Amount of homework – 2 or 3 hours every evening
Size of schools – It varies. Most secondary schools will have more than 300 students.
Foreign Languages – Two are required. Most people take English and French
Graduation requirements – The curriculum is fairly fixed, but student do have options, such as studying the international baccalaureate.
After-school activities – There are not organized by the school. Most students go home after school hours
Sports programs. There are no competitions among schools as there are here in the US. Sports in the schools are just PE activities.