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María Jesús Barros García

Associate Professor of Instruction

Dr. María Jesús Barros García is an Associate Professor of Instruction at Northwestern University (NU). She came to NU in 2018 from Saint Xavier University (Chicago), where she was an Assistant Professor of Spanish and Applied Linguistics, and the Director of the Foreign Languages Program. Her undergraduate teaching experience includes courses on linguistics, literature, culture, border studies, language pedagogy, film, Spanish as a heritage language, Spanish for specific purposes, community-based learning, and all levels of Spanish as a second/foreign language. At the graduate level, she has taught courses on curriculum development and assessment, methods for teaching Spanish as a second language, intercultural communication, the development of pragmatic competence, and integrating culture into the Spanish second language classroom.

Dr. Barros received her B.A. in Hispanic Philology in 2006. She then earned an M.A. in Spanish Linguistics and a second M.A. in Teaching Spanish as a Second Language. She holds a doctoral degree with Honors in Spanish Linguistics from the University of Granada. Her dissertation, titled La cortesía valorizadora en la conversación coloquial española: estudio pragmalingüístico (‘Face-enhancing politeness in Spanish informal conversations: A pragma-linguistic study’), examines the expression of politeness by Spanish native speakers. This dissertation was awarded by the University of Granada as the best dissertation from the School of Arts and Sciences for the 2010-2011 academic year. Between 2011-2012, she conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This postdoctoral project consisted of an analysis of the perceptions and uses of politeness by native and nonnative speakers of Spanish from the United States.

At Northwestern University, Dr. Barros is the course coordinator for Spanish 121, and the co-organizer of Tacita de Café, an extracurricular activity that brings together Spanish heritage speakers from Northwestern University, to celebrate, appreciate, and speak their heritage culture and language.

In addition to her full-time position at NU, Dr. Barros is the Vice-president of the Downstate Illinois chapter of The American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, a Collaborator Member of the North American Academy of the Spanish Language, and a member of the Modern Language Association, The American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages, the Applied Linguistics Research Group HUM-277, the Spanish Linguistics Society, and the Association for the Teaching of Spanish as a Foreign Language (ASELE).

Her primary research areas are intercultural pragmatics, politeness theory, and second language acquisition. Dr. Barros has more than thirty publications on these topics and has presented at both national and international conferences.

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