Today I was privileged to take part in the Talleres españoles para primaria run by the Consejería de Educación at Instituto Cañada Blanch in London. I was sharing ideas for the primary classroom from my experiences with a presentation called Sorpresas y sonrisas. More of that later but I thought I’d try to summarise the day as I went along. (No wifi so publication will have to wait until I get home!)
The day started with a presentation on the situation of Spanish in the context of world languages – did you know that all the time we’re losing languages? In 2008 Eyak was lost in Alaska when the last speaker died. With the arrival of the Romans in Spain, Latin was imposed on much of Europe so the languages of the Iberian peninsula as well as other places started disappearing. Over time, Castillian took over from regional languages although some still exist, becoming the common language of Spain. Much the same happened in the South America although until there was little imposition of Castillian by the missionaries or conquistadores, but rather by the independentistas who decided to use Castillian as lingua franca. The Hispanic population in USA continues to grow and will continue to do so. Very interesting to see how Spanish compares with other world languages – it has a greater spread of speakers compared to more localised Russian, less dialectalisation than Arabic, more standardised in terms of written form than Mandarin Chinese and so on. And also to see how the statistics can be skewed depending on who you count as a ‘speaker’ of languages. There are more native Spanish speakers than English but if you add those who have it a a second or peripheral language, English soars ahead. Spanish occupies 5th place in books published, 3rd in books and 3rd in Internet. But it’s not doing so well in Wikipedia entries! And let’s not talk about economic power…. As Munoz Molina said ‘el enemigo del español no es el ingles es la pobreza’
Next I went to a session entitled Learning Spanish and other school curriculum contents (CLIL) with Maria Teresa. She talked about using stories as a starting point for exploring languages. Phase 1 to capture their attention, phase 2 to tell the story and phase 3 and 4 more activities to reuse what we’ve used and then producing something based on what they’ve learned. The story is about un oso pardo who lives in the north of Spain (would our kids know that there are bears in Spain?) ‘Una historia para imaginar’ tells about Mummy bear and her daughter Perica and son Ramirín who are cold as winter is about to come. ramirín doesnt want to go to sleep but Mummy says lets go to sleep and dream. They sleep all winter and wake as spring arrives. What did they dream about? Pupils can use imagination! Having read the story, we can take parts with sections being Mummy, Perica and Ramirín- and a confident child could be the narrator. Then in phase 3 we do activities that exploit the text and take it further eg
1. hopping and counting the paw prints!
2. presenting your family using family tree handout.
3. Reordering the story
4. months and seasons
After recharging my batteries with coffee and choccie biccies, off I went to Irene Wilkie who was talking about integrating Spanish in the curriculum. Irene started by apologising as her presentation was aimed at teachers with little Spanish and the room was more or less full of Spaniards (I’m going to have the same problem) then talked of how we might look at the Tudors in Spanish. Firstly we looked at flags and talked about nationalities -(era) española, alemana, inglesa- and then talked about children – tuvo un hijo / una hija, no tuvo hijos – then how they died – fue ejecutada, fue divorciada, murió, sobrevivió.
With these few words, you can discuss the wives in Spanish, use texts that include more complex structures and ask questions on history in Spanish.
Then we looked at El cuerpo humano – recycling what pupils know in Spanish! Using cognates/ palabras parecidas it’s easy for learners to follow. Short paragraphs lead to a table to match phrases. Then definitions for parts of the body – give the name of the organ. And her third example was healthy eating – lots of pictures with which you can ask simple questions ¿Bueno o malo? Or sí y no. You can do some grammar if you want but you can avoid! Irene talked lots of sense and I’ll certainly be passing on her ideas to my colleagues!
Lunch consisted of delicious tapas – won’t go on but ¡riquísimo! SEGL presented Superdrago their ELE (español lengua extranjera) textbook for 7-11 year olds. Very colourful and imaginative. Need to have a good look before further comment!
Final session I could attend was Learning by doing in a global team – Emocionaros 1.0 para que emocionéis 2.0. Mercedes Ruiz had a suitcase full of bits and bobs like a black skirt that could be a nightmare, a monster; a blue piece of material that is the sky, the sea; gloves to show hot and cold. Then we looked at the book Perdido y encontrado and Mercedes recounted how she’d told a story about an escaped penguin at London Zoo and been believed. So the class made posters to find it again, in Spanish and English. And so started a whole exchange of lost and found penguins across the world – in Zaragoza, Argentina, Thailand. Then the penguin was in lost property and they sent him messages via paper airplanes – they didn’t want him to go back to the zoo. The imagination, creativity and ingenuity involved was remarkable leading to bilingual conversations and cooperation. Mercedes went on to talk about using web2.0 as that’s the language of our learners. They don’t just talk in words but in gesture, video, sound, image. She shared the Osos y leones blog belonging to the younger pupils of Instituto Cañada Blanch on which they share all sorts of things they do.
I couldn’t stay for the last session which is a shame as I might have learned how to carve jamón serrano. However, a really great day, only slightly marred by the inefficiencies and dire lack of information of London Transport making my journeys a nightmare.
And I am VERY proud of my certificate – official stamp and everything!