Did you catch our series in July and August on how to keep your Spanish going over the summer? Summer is, sadly, over, but if you’re looking for ways to inspire your class to learn in a new way, or even kickstart your own love for the language, give some of these ideas a go!
Here are some highlights from the series, with links to the full articles.
Many well-known English novels are available translated. This term, why not read extracts from Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosophal with your class? If this proves to be a success, how about jumping into an original Spanish classic? You could go for Nobel prize winning One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez; Jorge Luis Borges’ renowned Fictions; or the grandfather of all novels, Don Quixote itself.
What about doing a group project where everyone connects with a Spanish pen friend online, and writes to them every week? Making friends and other countries and regularly writing to them in Spanish is an excellent way to learn idiomatic expressions and experience real Spanish, as used by real people.
As well as traditional music like classical guitar and Flamenco, Spanish-speaking countries boast a wealth of popular music, with well-known musicians including Shakira, Julio and Enrique Iglesias, Manuel Carrasco, and Malú.
Try playing a song to your class and seeing how many of the lyrics people can understand. Then look up the words and listen again, until you start to get a feel for the song. Your students will pick up a lot of naturalistic Spanish, and get a real taste of Spanish culture. Only problem is, you may all have a Spanish song stuck in your heads for the rest of the week…
If your class ends up writing to people in Spanish-speaking countries, why not suggest that they begin to talk face-to-face? Phoning a different country is quite expensive, so use Facetime, Skype or another video chat service. Students may feel shy talking in a language they’re not fluent in, but encourage them to persevere and they’ll find it rewarding in the long run.
Finally, how about introducing your students to a good Spanish film? Famous Spanish directors include Pedro Almodóvor, Alejandro Amenábar and José Luis Garcia, all of whom have won Oscars for their work. By watching their films in the original Spanish, you’ll pick up loads of conversational Spanish.
Hopefully this article will have given you some ideas on how to teach and learn Spanish while simultaneously having fun! After all, learning shouldn’t all be grammar books and verb drills, should it?