Once again, I am behind in writing about my students and, as always, simply due to a lack of time.
Here we are now with this fantastic, level-5 Spanish class, which is the last level in which we actually teach grammar (out of 6 levels).
Lee has been with us since the beginning Intro class, and both Alessandra and Rick joined in level 2.
This level is all about practicing and perfecting what students have learned before, so we need to work on listening, reading, and of course, oral work. Oral work is always the most difficult.
Being in level 5, it’s hard to challenge students by pretending we are at a restaurant or making a reservation in a hotel.
In order to practice listening comprehension, I speak like a radio host for 10 minutes very fast, then we go over the news. We talk about history, education, Donald, Melania, Hillary, and Anderson Cooper’s hair (sorry Mr. Clinton, you haven’t come up in our conversations). Everyone expresses his/her opinion and most importantly, they have to back it up, saying why they think that way (all in Spanish of course).
A lot of great things come out of this. First, it makes a great class because the students participate and make it interesting. Additionally, as everyone comes from a different background, we are constantly learning about different aspects of life. We all have different ideas about pretty much everything, but these students speak with respect and are very careful not to offend the others. They not only have to think in Spanish about all of these things, but also choose the correct words and expressions in order to be polite, also in Spanish.
In this class, we’re not only learning a language, we’re also learning to talk about sensitive topics, to explain the reasons behind our ideas, and be respectful when listening to others. People’s opinions might simply come from living life in a different way and growing up in different places, which in the end, is what learning another language is all about.