Monday, May 26, 2014

A Failed Spanish Immersion Program. Who's to Blame?

Both little one and I were excitedly looking forward to his new advanced Spanish immersion program. He was thrilled to find out that he was going to be in the advanced session! His new group consisted of three adults, one child (9 yrs. old) and my 5 yr. old. 

His new instructor expressed concern that this session was too advanced for my child, and I asked her to speak to him so she can assess for herself. So she did, and she was quite impressed. He even read to her in Spanish. 


During the first session I asked if she had a curriculum for this Spanish session. I wanted to practice with my son at home what was being taught. Unfortunately, I never received anything, and she also seemed very disorganized. It looked like she improvised a lot. She handed out a lot copies of materials to be discussed. 

The three main topics that were predominant during the 12-weeks were naming 1) rooms in a house, and the furniture inside; 2) family relatives (mother, father, aunt, uncle), and 3) breakfast items.

However, there were two instances that she did ask me what can she do to make the session better for my five year old. I suggested more "hands-on" activities, and using technology (videos, music) rather than just talking. This would also be helpful to the adults as well, as they can associate these activities with what was being taught in Spanish.   She did follow through, and I'm really grateful for that.  Despite her well intentions most of the lessons were about the same topics (named above).

Nevertheless, I did expect a repetition at some point during the session but not during the whole session (an hour session). 

My 5 yr. old was always eager to respond first (he already knows all of this), and at times he was the instructor's helper. (One of the adults there shared that she was also learning from my son).  All-in-all, this has been great for his self-esteem, and building his confidence yet he wasn't learning anything new.   

The first Spanish immersion program he was enrolled in really kicked off his Spanish. The second program was a refresher of what he already knew. He had fun with other children playing games, singing songs, and making crafts. This has been his third Spanish immersion program, and I feel it was a waste of our time. I drove every Saturday (each way is an hour long drive) so I was really expecting my son to get something out of this.

With the second, and third session I noticed that it was back to basics. He was being taught basic things that he already knew.  Sadly enough, I've come to the conclusion that the programs out there for Spanish immersion are just that "basics."  I'm already teaching my child to read, and write in Spanish.  I had high hopes for this Spanish immersion program. I seriously thought of making recommendations to the language learning center, what do you think? Am I overreacting? Is my child too advanced? Or is the center not up to par with new language learners? 

My recommendations are: 
  1. Prior to joining a session provide a formal assessment of the person's language skills.
  2. Offer a curriculum to the students with lesson plans, instructional content, materials, resources, and processes for evaluating. 
Would you add anything else? Like I've always said, I'm not a teacher, or a linguist, I'm just a mommy looking to teach her son another language. I really want him to enjoy all of the benefits of a Spanish immersion environment even when it's just limited to a classroom.  

2 comments:

  1. I think it would be very hard for a teacher to respond to the needs of such different students - children to adults. This is not to say it can't be done, but adults learn in very different ways than children, and so finding a "fit" for such a group would be hard. Also, I have always found that "courses", whether they be intensive or not, tend to be "courses", when what your son probably needs is just a group of kids to play with in Spanish. Is that possible at all? I think his Spanish would grow much faster from a communicative environment where he is not limited by "curriculum" and is motivated by the communicative need.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Eowyn for your comment. I had not really looked at it that way (different learning levels of adults vs. children) I guess when I made the suggestion to the instructor I was really thinking of my child. :) My son does have 3 Spanish speaking friends who come over to play, but I find that they tend to gravitate towards the English language instead of the Spanish. Also, getting their parents involved in having play groups has been another issue as well. I know he needs that type of communicative environment but it's been very hard to make it happen.

      Delete

© Discovering The World Through My Son's Eyes 2012. All Rights Reserved. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except as expressly permitted in writing by the owner/author of Discovering The World Through My Son's Eyes.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...