Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Sarah Jey Whitehead

LecturerPh.D. in Foreign Language Education, The University of Texas at Austin

Sarah Jey Whitehead


  • Phone: 512.232.2227 I don't use my voicemail. Please contact me through email if I don't pick up.
  • Office: BEN 4.126
  • Office Hours: Th 12:00-3:00
  • Campus Mail Code: B3700


Foreign Language Pedagogy, Curriculum Design, Concept-Based Language Instruction, Epistemology, Conversation Analysis, Discourse Analysis, Ecology Theory, Critical Theory


Sarah Jey Whitehead began studying second language acquisition as an undergraduate at Bennington College, where she learned to understand qualitative data through discourse analysis.  Having spent time in Spain and Peru, she became proficient in Spanish and earned her Master’s degree in teaching Spanish through Bennington College’s Center for Creative Teaching. 

After teaching in public charter schools for three years, where she developed a three-year concept-based Spanish curriculum, she was accepted to the University of Texas at Austin’s department of Foreign Language Education and offered a recruitment fellowship.

As a doctoral candidate at UT Austin, she honed her qualitative research skills and interests, focusing specifically on the construction of authenticity in the foreign language classroom.   Specifically, Sarah is fascinated with two aspects of authenticity:  The first aspect is that in foreign language classrooms, much (if not most) of what is said in the foreign language is for practice rather than for socially meaninful interaction:  That is, foreign language students are often indoctrinated into a classroom culture in which the foreign language carries little socially-urgent value.  The second aspect relates to the rather ubiquitous assumption that all things "authentic" imported into the foreign language classroom from afar carry inherent value. Sarah's current research makes use of ecological, sociocultural, and critical theories to investigate the construct(ion) of authenticity in the foreign language classroom.

Sarah is also interested in curricular design (especially Backwards Design) and pedagogical theory, and applies her vast knowledge of educational theory to her continually developing practice.  These are also skills she brings to her organization and supervision of Intermediate Spanish course (610D). 

In her free time, Sarah attends as many UT women's basketball games as she is able, and plays basketball in a local women's league. 


SPN S610D • Intermediate Spanish I

87320 • Summer 2015
Meets MTWTHF 10:00AM-1:00PM BEN 1.124

A. SPN 610D is the second course in The University of Texas lower-division Spanish program. This is a six-credit course. The course focuses on further developing speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills in Spanish while building vocabulary, learning basic rules and terminology of Spanish grammar, and gaining a better understanding of Hispanic cultures in order to communicate in an accurate, effective, and informed manner within a variety of sociocultural situations. 

PREREQUISITE for 610D: SPN 601D, 604, 507, or 508K (or equivalent transfer course), with a grade of at least C, or an appropriate score on the University of Texas Placement Test.  For questions concerning prerequisites or eligibility, talk to your instructor or make an appointment with one of the Liberal Arts Advisors for Spanish: Liz Hastings ( and Christine Fisher (  Their office is located in BEN 2.108.


By the end of this course you should be able to do the following:

            (a)     express opinions, reactions and recommendations;

            (b)    discuss possible, probable and certain future events and situations;

            (c)     narrate past events and react subjectively to them;

            (d)    speak hypothetically about various events and situations;

            (e)     analyze moderately complex language data in order to draw conclusions regarding                             parts of speech, functional uses of grammar, etc.;

            (f)     recognize dialectal, social and contextual variation;

            (g)     understand the main ideas of moderately complex written texts (with improved                                 skimming, cognate recognition, and inference skills);

            (h)    understand the main ideas of moderately complex oral discourse (with improved                               recognition of tone, content, context, intonation, etc.);

            (i)     maintain conversations of a substantial length (with improved fluency strategies,                              such as circumlocution, discourse markers, etc.);

            (j)     produce written work of a substantial length (with improved organization,                                        connectors, and appropriateness of register)

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    The University of Texas at Austin
    BEN 2.116
    150 W. 21st Street, Stop B3700
    Austin, TX 78712-1155
    Advising & Registration: 512-232-4506/512-232-4503; Graduate Coordinator: 512-232-4502