March 6, 2011

En Mi Clase de Español

I am really enjoying my Spanish class this semester. We have a small class size (7), the first ingredient to a good language course. Secondly, our profesora has us presenting material and leading class discussions ourselves, in rotating order. This way, we never get overwhelmed with material to prepare, but go through cycles of more or less homework. Finally, our profesora facilitates our learning by correcting our grammar/vocabulary as we go, rather than trying to mold us to a rubric. It works really well!
We are teaching one another about different environmental issues, and basing our discussions around the hispanic world. Some of the themes of discussion: biocommerce, sustainable agriculture, genetically modified foods, forestry, etc... We had a debate the other day on the pros and cons of biofuels. I never thought I'd be decent enough in a language to have a debate. My favorite days are when we have a charla (chat) with someone who works in a particular environmental sector somewhere in Central or South America. Last thursday, we spoke via Skype with a man who works on encouraging biocommerce in Bogota, Colombia. It was really amazing. He gave an hour long lecture/presentation first (all in Spanish), then we had 45 minutes of Q&A/discussion. You could see the mist coming down over the mountains behind the high rises in Bogota as we spoke with him.
See, over his L shoulder, those pink high rises?
The dark behind them are forested mountains,
and the white above them is mist.

I felt like "the future is here!"...amazing what technology can allow when it works! And I'm surprised at myself and proud that my Spanish skills are improving as much as they are. I feel free to speak in Spanish outside of class which is a paradigm shift for me.

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