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Best Practices to Apply In a Second Language Spanish Curriculum

When developing programs to teach a second language, teachers should be aware of the psychological and environmental influences that can affect learning. A second language curriculum should incorporate proven and evidence-backed instructional techniques. In this article, we’ll explore some of the instructional principles and methods for an effective Spanish curriculum.

Understand the Goals of Learning a Second Language

When designing the Spanish curriculum, it is first important to understand the student’s reasons for learning a second language. Some of the motivations include:

  1. Communication: A desire to understand the language to use it for social interactions
  2. Cultural Motivations: A desire to explore and understand other cultures through a second language
  3. Prestige: Some experts have suggested that language also has ‘symbolic power’ that gives the student a sense of prestige. After all, some of them are already aware that bilingual employees earn up to 20% more per hour, compared to their monolingual peers

While these motivations are useful in getting students to learn a second language, teachers and instructors should be discerning. There can be too much focus on language competence, which involves explaining the general concepts and grammatical rules. The problem is that language competence alone does not equip students with authentic information that they can apply in real-life situations.

Contextualized and Appropriate Use of Language

If they are to make instructional techniques effective, teachers and policymakers should understand that teaching a second language is a dynamic process. In real-life situations, people use language in intricate and sometimes, non-formulaic ways. The test is whether learners can use it in a social context and demonstrate their ability to negotiate and communicate.

Elementary Spanish tutors can work with students to gradually move them from the point of language competence to where they can engage in dynamic interactions. An ideal Spanish curriculum should give students the competence needed to work independently.

However, tutors still need to be cautious about making the process formulaic and methodical. One of the challenges is in developing benchmarks and set-points, where different levels of proficiency are evaluated. Dual-Language Immersion (DLI) programs have a framework that creates opportunities to make learning more dynamic and effective.

DLI is currently experiencing growth due to the increase in the number of students who have shown interest in learning a second language. The growth is also partly from the positive results that have been backed by evidence. The DLI program uses a two-way approach where native Spanish and native English speakers learn both languages in the same class. It is also worth noting that the program improved the performance of native Spanish speakers in math, science, and art tests, which are typically set in English.

Keeping Learners Motivated

Besides making the language more dynamic, developers of the Spanish curriculum should strive to keep students motivated. Studies indicate that students perform better when they have a positive outlook towards the language and its speakers. Learners need to relate to and become familiar with the culture and its natives.

Cultural supplements may be used to familiarize students with the language. Preschool Spanish students can take imaginary trips to various Latin American destinations. For those using a homeschooling Spanish curriculum, there are many tools you can utilize for preschoolers. For example, lessons can incorporate a series of Spanish storybook sets.

Depending on what the children respond to, you can supplement them with puzzles and toys. Adding such supplements to the curriculum allows learners to test their full range of language resources. It is a way to dynamically introduce the language, while at the same time assessing the progress of the child.

Bottom-Line

When developing an effective Spanish curriculum, there should be a commitment to improving and enhancing instructional techniques. Teachers should understand their students’ motivations and recognize the dynamic nature of the language, both in class and when assessing learners. It is also important to use tools, toys, and supplements, especially for kids Spanish curriculum. By applying these principles, learning a second language will not only be easier, but it will also be more fun for the students.

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