New Method of Teaching Spanish Inspires Quicker Learning, Better Comprehension
November 15, 2017
by Spanish Teacher Señora Jordan
¡Hola! This year at King’s Elementary, we decided to make some exciting changes to our Spanish program. “Why?” you ask: Well it is simple. I took an opportunity to attend the International Forum on Language Teaching this summer with my colleagues. It was mind-blowing!
Perhaps the most valuable experience was the chance to observe live language classes taught by the experts. We then had the opportunity to practice and be coached in the approach. I learned many new, practical, applicable and helpful techniques to enhance my instruction.
The results have been incredible! In my 12 years of teaching, never have I ever had students speaking this soon in Spanish and truly enjoying class the way they do now.
Teaching with CI (Comprehensible Input) is the approach I now use. There are many branches under the TCI umbrella, including TPRS (teaching proficiency through reading and storytelling,) Circling, PQA, (personalized questions and answers) and others. Go to benslavic.com/a-bit-of-history to learn more!
My goal is for my students to acquire the Spanish language rather than learn about it. Therefore, it is super important that everything I say in Spanish is made completely comprehensible to my students.
How is this accomplished? Again, it’s simple: We use Spanish. We make up stories and act them out. We read stories and ask questions about them. I carefully select high frequency structures and vocabulary that is interesting and compelling to the students. We listen to music and move our bodies. We learn about culture and geography using the Spanish we know. We acquire grammar naturally and with little pain, just like we learned our first language at home! We do almost everything in Spanish, because you can’t learn Spanish by speaking about it in English.
Assessments are quick and formative, based on participation and interpretive and interpersonal communication. I am having more fun than ever in my classroom this year and the feedback that I’m getting from students is great. One of my students, Wesley Blackmer, said, “Spanish is so much better this year! It’s awesome.”
I am so excited about learning more and becoming better at my craft and for my students to love Spanish.
Señora Keri Jordan has taught at King’s schools for almost 10 years. She began her career at King’s teaching in the high school and has since transitioned to the elementary. She currently serves as the K-6th Spanish instructor.