Sunday, April 14, 2013

Blog Post #12


A few weeks ago, I came to the realization that mathematics wasn't something I truly enjoyed learning about. Since I didn't enjoy learning about it, I couldn't expect myself to enjoy teaching it, either. So, I decided to "follow my heart" and change my concentration from mathematics to Spanish. I've always had a knack for languages, and I've always loved learning new languages. So what better subject to teach than something I thoroughly enjoy learning about?

That being said, at first, I thought this assignment would be difficult. I had no idea how I could come up with an assignment relating to foreign language, but then I remembered something I talked about in my last blog post. In Blog Post #11, I talked about how I could use Skype with my students to talk to native Spanish speakers so my students could hear the language spoken straight from the mouth of a native speaker. Once I remembered that, the wheels in my brain started turning. So here is the assignment I've come up with:

Blog Post #__

1. Can you speak any foreign languages? If so, which ones? If not, what are some you'd like to learn? Explain why.
2. If you've ever taken a foreign language course, write one or two paragraphs about the technologies your teachers used in the classroom.
3. Think about what you've learned so far about technology and its many uses. Write two paragraphs on technology and strategies you could use in your classroom as a foreign language teacher.

And now that I've come up with the assignment, let's give it a go.

I cannot speak any foreign languages fluently, but I've taken multiple courses in Spanish and German. I consider myself conversational in both. I'd love to learn many more languages, like Russian and Japanese, if I can ever find the time. I've always been really interested in learning about other languages and cultures. I wanted to learn German because half of my ancestors were German, and I wanted to learn Spanish because more and more people in the United States are speaking it, and it would be very useful to know how to speak it.

Whenever I've taken foreign language courses, there wasn't much technology use to supplement our learning. Most of the time, we'd just open up our books and learn vocabulary words while looking at pictures so we know what they mean. On occasion, the teacher would boot up the SMART board and bring up a worksheet we had done and fill in the blanks using the SMART board. Of course, a lot of language comprehension comes from learning how to pronounce the words, and the best practice is by speaking it. But I think my teachers could have made the learning process more interesting than they did.

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, one use of modern technology to teach foreign language would be to use Skype to hold an interview with native speakers. Since I'm going to be teaching Spanish, I could use Skype to hold video chats with native Spanish speakers. My students will be able to get a better grasp on how the language is spoken and how to pronounce words correctly by listening to a native speaker. Plus, my students will be able to ask questions about the culture and receive accurate answers in real-time!

Of course, a huge part of learning a foreign language is also learning about the culture (or cultures). Because Spanish is spoken by a large number of different countries, there are a lot of different Spanish-speaking cultures. In order for my students to learn about them, I could assign each student a different Spanish-speaking country to learn about and have them use the internet to gather information on those countries. Then, they could make a PowerPoint presentation to express what they have learned. Another fun thing I could do with my students is to pair them up with students in a Spanish-speaking country. My students could type emails to the Spanish-speaking students. This will help my students learn how to build a personal learning network, as well as help them practice their Spanish skills! I could also have my students set up blogs to where they post their assignments. This will allow them to have a higher chance of gaining an audience, and I could even contact teachers in Spanish-speaking countries and have my students comment on their students' blogs, and vice versa! Doing all of this would definitely make learning Spanish much more fun for my students, and it would get them more involved in their learning!

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