María Jesús Centeno. Instructor of Spanish
Humanities Building 405 A
(205) 934-1828

Research and Teaching Interests: Spanish as a Second Language — Spanish for Specific Purposes such as Medical Spanish, Business Spanish, Spanish for Law, Culinary Spanish

Office Hours: By appointment

  • BA, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Filología Hispánica
  • MA, University of Georgia, Spanish

I believe that learning languages must be a very important component in college and higher education. Students need to be prepared to work in the global world in which we live. Being proficient in a foreign language, as well as being aware of cultural differences, greatly improves inter-cultural competence and the ability to get a better job.

I was born in Madrid, Spain, where I earned a BA in Spanish from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Since then I further developed my specialization in Spanish as a second language by completing courses in business Spanish, teaching with technology, and advanced teaching techniques in Spanish as an L2, among others. In 2006 I obtained an MA in Spanish at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA. I have more than 20 years of experience teaching Spanish as second language in different countries including the Czech Republic, Poland, Spain, and Cameroon. In Cameroon I taught Spanish at all levels, including Spanish for Specific Purposes (SSP — such as business and medical Spanish). In Warsaw, Poland, I taught for the Instituto Cervantes, which is the official Spanish institution that promotes Spanish in the world.

I have presented papers on language teaching at national and international conferences, such as the American Council of Teaching Foreign Language (ACTFL), Alabama Association of Foreign Languages Teachers (AAFLT), Southern Conference of Language Teachers (SCOLT), and Foreign Languages Association of Virginia (FLAVA). In 2008 I was awarded “The best of Alabama” prize for my presentation titled “El español para las profesiones de la salud: Propuesta de actividades.” I have also published a book chapter titled “Tortilla de patatas” in El español en la cocina. Aprender español cocinando, a textbook designed to teach Spanish by using cooking recipes from different Spanish-speaking countries.

Promoting Spanish in the community is also important, so I have led the Spanish conversation table at UAB, called La Tertulia, for 10 years now. By attending this event, students and members of the community learn about Spanish culture and develop their conversational skills.

Spanish for Specific Purposes:
  • SPA 280: Spanish for Health Professionals
  • SPA 380: Advanced Spanish for Health Professionals
General Spanish:
  • SPA 101: Introductory Spanish I
  • SPA 102: Introductory Spanish II
  • SPA 201: Intermediate Spanish I
  • SPA 202: Intermediate Spanish II
  • SPA 210: Conversation and Culture
  • SPA 310: Spanish-Speaking World Cultures