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Spanish II: Real World Language Usage

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Communication is the most important part.

As Spanish I students, we take the time to study foods, food groups and healthy living habits.  As students progress into Spanish II, we take the time to discuss vocabulary for ordering and requesting what we need when one is hungry, thirsty, cold or hot when eating at home or at a restaurant. We also discuss manners in regards to setting a table and cultural manners that may vary from country to country.  We often forget that the language may be similar but the cultural differences quite great.  Students took a period to review food vocabulary from Spanish I, while they spent many periods playing the role of server and client many times over.  They are able to order, ask for more or the check, explain that something is missing, and even explain to a friend why they might be ordering a specific meal or drink.  We concluded the chapter with skits taking place in a restaurant, as well as personal interviews.  I am now making certain that students get the opportunity to sit and talk with me at all levels.  This allows for us to use chapter knowledge and do so without notes, while doing so in an informal manner.  Students are assessed by the depth of their response and continuous responses.  We concluded our chapter with something they have been waiting to do.  The class shared a group meal of authentic food from around the Spanish-Speaking world and we practiced or cultural manners too. 

 

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Again, the emphasis on language learning is that students leave the classroom being able to communicate orally.  This is a skill that all teachers national wide are tackling now, more than ever through newer standards and requirements set forth by the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages.  Learning a communicative skill such as ordering and taking orders in a food establishment can be a great life skill, especially as students seek part time jobs. 

 

Many students join Spanish because it's fun, while others take the course for entrance into a four year college.  Those in Spanish III and IV are actually reaping huge benefits.  They are not only satisfying college graduation requirements, but also obtaining true communicative language skills that only come with additional language education.  After four years of study, a student should be able to use their language skills daily behind the counter of a business, working towards fluency as a nurse or attorney.   It is at year three that I love doing the market simulation with students.  They have the opportunity to see what language they have really gained, yet what more there is to learn.