Guadalupe Ruiz-Fajardo

Guadalupe Ruiz-Fajardo

Guadalupe Ruiz Fajardo received her Ph.D. in Didactics of Spanish as a Foreign Language from the University of Granada in 1992 and, before arriving at Columbia in 2006, she taught at the Universidad de Granada, Umeâ Universitet, and Lunds Universitet.

She is co-author of two advanced-level Spanish language textbooks, Abanico and El Ventilador (Editorial Difusión, 1995 and 2006), and the scholarly monograph Vídeo en clase (Universidad de Granada, 1993) as well as of articles in journals such as Cuadernos Cervantes and Textos de Didáctica de la Lengua y la Literatura y Marco ELE. She has also edited a collection of articles on second language learning and teaching, Didáctica del español como segunda lengua para inmigrantes (UNIA, 2009 and 2016) and Methodological Developments in Teaching Spanish as a Second and Foreign Language (CSP, 2012). This book is the result of a series of workshops for teachers under the same title that takes place every spring at New York.

She has been active in coordinating and teaching methodology courses for graduate students and teachers of Spanish as a foreign language at the Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo, Universidad Internacional de Andalucía, Instituto Cervantes, and other institutions.

Her areas of interest and research are oral interaction, conversation, interactional competence, and the use of Mass Media in Language teaching and learning.

In relation to this, she is in charge of the Columbia Corpus of Spanish Conversations, an open repertoire of video-recorded naturally occurring conversations in Spanish (with transcripts and activities for the classroom).


  • Recent publications:

2023. Interacción oral y conversación: enseñanza y aprendizaje. [Oral Interaction and conversación: teaching and learning] Madrid: Anaya/Edelsa.

2021 "La enseñanza-aprendizaje de los géneros orales interactivos" [Teaching and learning of interactive oral genres]. En Santiago-Guervós. J., & In Díaz Rodríguez, L. (2020). Lingüística textual y enseñanza del español LE/L2 [Text linguistics and teaching of Spanish as a second and foreign language]. New York: Routledge. Capítulo 7. Páginas 135-153.

Ríos Rojas, A. y Ruiz Fajardo, G. (eds.) 2016 Inmigración: Nuevas lenguas, nuevos hablantes, nuevas perspectivas. [ImmigEation: New Languages, New Speakers, New Perspectives]. Sevilla, Spain: Universidad Internacional de Andalucía.

Ruiz Fajardo, G. and Torres-Guzmán, M. E. 2016 ‘Now I See How My Students Feel’: Expansive Learning in a Language Awareness Workshop. Language Awareness. 25. 3. 222-240.


  • Academic statement

1. Approach: As a language teacher, I was trained first in the Communicative Approach, and later in the Task Approach, which I have followed for many years in a somehow post‐method alignment. In those approaches, I appreciate the ability to address different student needs and different cognitive styles, as well as the encouragement of learner autonomy. In a close relationship, Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) and Project-based learning are helping me to expand the scope of my teaching to include both the academic and the world outside the classroom.

2. Interaction: In recent years, I have focused particularly on how the different aspects of language are combined to promote interaction (interactional competence), as a practice to be taught to students to be able to communicate in the language they are learning (for instance, writing and acting scripts about small talk, accepting or rejecting invitations, teaching conversational tokens, like puesbueno, ya, etc.), but also as a way of learning the language itself (for instance, rethinking ways to giving feedback in a meaningful way, like addressing the ambiguity that a missing preposition can trigger (for example, Lola le gusta Pepe vs Lola le gusta a Pepe vs a Lola le gusta Pepe) by asking the student what is the intended meaning instead of assuming an error a priori.

3. Authentic language: In deep relation to what I have just said, I am worried by the fact that many students experience extraordinary difficulty when trying to engage in communication with proficient speakers, or when listening to or reading texts not manipulated for pedagogical purposes. To bring my students closer to the actual use of Spanish in its different varieties, I try as much as I can to make use of not only film, TV, and journalism, but also natural recorded conversations. I also prefer not to manipulate or alter in any way the texts I bring to class, but rather help the students access the texts as they are through activities and tasks designed according to their proficiency level.

4. Students as independent learners: students in our program are supposed to reach an intermediate level of Spanish for both general communication and academic purposes, as well as a baseline knowledge of such a vast and extended cultural world as the Hispanic and Latin American one (with more than 400 million native speakers in more than 20 countries), and they have to do it in only four semesters (180 hours of instruction) in an only partial‐immersion environment. With such high expectations, the most sensible approach is to focus on teaching tools and strategies, so students can become autonomous. One way to approach this goal is to help the students to get close to the linguistic landscape of the city and the campus. For that reason, most of my projects, many of my class activities, and the syllabi of my language through content class (Nueva York) and my advance class (Conversation: Practice and Analysis), are all designed to stimulate my students’ language awareness and curiosity so they can expand their chances of becoming independent learners.