World Language at ACA 2019-2020

Cheyenna Hall

The Charter Feature

5/20/2020

The 2019-2020 school year ended with so much to look back at. Throughout the year all the Spanish classes did some very exciting things. 

Jack Taggart a tenth grade student in Spanish I, says,  “I thoroughly enjoyed how Mrs. Kohl went to great lengths to make the class interactive, from Quizlet live competitions to memorizing the Central American countries by song, it was a great experience.”

Danielle Lancaster, a Spanish teacher at ACA said, “My favorite part has been the awesome students! The students have been enthusiastic, motivated and genuinely interested in learning and improving their Spanish.”

Kristen Kohl the Spanish I and II teacher said, “My favorite part was the classroom time, getting to know the students, designing lessons that were fun and interactive with each other, lessons that were “meaty”, that is, getting the most Spanish exposure in each class period, and watching kids grow and improve as the months went on.”

ACA’s Spanish students  were able to send cards to kids in Mexico. This experience was an unforgettable experience for many of the students who sent and received the cards, because it gave them the opportunity to try and understand where the other people were coming from and what would make them feel special. 

From May 13th and on, ACA’s students have been studying at home virtually. Good or bad this has been a learning experience that no one will forget. 

“The changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has given me somewhat of an idea of what would be involved, if I were to continue learning Spanish from home rather than in an onsite class, and I think I would choose to study it from home in the future since it would allow me to get a better understanding for the language, seeing that I could study aspects of Spanish that could be more difficult,” said Taggart. 

Virtual learning has it’s advantages and disadvantages. 

Taggart says “I found that virtual learning allowed for much more flexibility in terms of the time I could spend to understand the material being taught before I completed the assignment.

 

Taggart went on to say 

“A downside to virtual learning is the fact that it brings undue confusion with regard to when assignments are due, and limits teacher clarification, both on assignments and the material being studied. There is something to be said for having a teacher present in the classroom to answer questions, and having that gone, makes things quite confusing, especially when trying to learn a new language.”

Lancaster said, “I’ve enjoyed making videos in Spanish for my students each week. Some videos have featured gatos/cats, pollos/chickens, ovejas/sheep, mantis bebés/praying mantis babies and pollitos/baby chicks. Virtual learning makes it challenging for a World Language teacher to check for students’ comprehension of the language. I ended up having my students rate how well they understood each of my videos from 1-10 (from “difficult” to “easy”) and then I adjusted the subsequent videos accordingly.”

Mrs. Lancaster’s videos were “…an easy and fun way to start learning spanish.” said Abigail Reynolds, a student in Middle School Spanish. 

Reynolds said, “My favorite thing was probably the easy to follow videos to help us practice. It was pretty easy to change to virtual learning because most of our at home practice was already online.”

Eve Graves, a third grader in Spanish Club said, “Ms. Lancaster sent videos with questions about animals.  Those were fun. I also liked the Spanish games.”

Kohl said,“I enjoy teaching in the classroom and getting to know students, and have enjoyed it for many many years. I would definitely prefer not to do distance learning with a foreign language again, but if I had to, I would do many things differently than I did these last 2 months.”

Carter Lancaster, a student in Spanish I, said,“Learning about how someone went to South America with no previous Spanish speaking experience, and came back half a year later speaking fluently really shows how much you can learn in such a short time, and how important it is to know how to speak Spanish. Being able to work from home is a lot easier than at school because you are able to go at your own pace.”

Kohl said, “Virtual learning is a whole different ball game from classroom Spanish. Perhaps the best thing was when students responded with lessons and comments and I could tell they were learning something from the virtual lessons. Virtual learning is hard because Spanish is about interaction and communication. In class, there is a lot of listening and speaking happening, and trying to communicate. This aspect was lost in virtual learning.”

Eden Cooper a student in Middle School Spanish said “My favorite part of virtual learning was putting on subtitles and looking up the word I didn’t know. She often (being fluent and all) says things that I don’t understand, and I want to raise my hand and ask her what it means, but she does it so often that I would always be raising my hand.”

Cooper goes on to say “The whole Covid 19 pandemic thing is actually kinda nice to be honest. It is giving me more time to learn and grow in my subjects, even the ones I don’t necessarily admire. So I would say that has made me more likely to take Spanish again next year because it is so much fun. Spanish is just so much fun 😊”

“I think virtual learning has overall been difficult for students to adapt to and I think they’ve missed their classmates and classroom experience. However, there were some students that seemed to really enjoy virtual learning and were participating even more than in the classroom. It may have been conducive to the way they prefer to learn,” said Kohl.

There have been some wonderful,  unforgettable  memories made in ACA’s world language classes this year. Between the students getting to learn new languages together, and learning how to persevere, even when it’s hard. ACA has been teaching students foreign languages since ACA opened. It has been a good experience for students to learn about other cultures through learning their language. Despite the hardships of virtual learning ACA’s teachers have been able to help their students understand the new language, through homemade videos, helpful worksheets, and guidance on google classroom. 

Sources: 

Cooper, Eden. Personal Interview. May 13, 2020. 

Graves, Eve. Personal Interview. May 13, 2020.  

Kohl, Kristen. Personal Interview. May 13, 2020.

Lancaster, Danielle. Personal Interview. May 13, 2020.

Lancaster, Carter. Personal Interview. May 13, 2020. 

Reynolds, Abigail. Personal Interview. May 13, 2020. 

Taggart, Jack. Personal Interview. May 13, 2020.