The Role of Technology in Teaching Spanish to Children

At Sonrisas Spanish we have always resisted the idea of using technology to teach Spanish to young children. This of course goes against the strong national trend to incorporate more and more technology into education. It is not that we are anti-technology, but rather we feel that it is very important that technology is used appropriately for language learning—especially for young language learners. What this means to us is that technology is not used to take the place of a teacher.

We feel strongly that language learning for young children is most effective when students are taught by a human. The core of an effective foreign language lesson involves communication between humans. Communication, and in turn language acquisition, occurs when the learner has the opportunity to negotiate meaning. Negotiation of meaning requires social interaction, and social interaction requires human interaction. Negotiation of meaning is going to be nil or extremely limited if the interaction is media-based.

This is why the Sonrisas Curriculum does not include videos or internet components. It is also why we explicitly recommend that teachers use our CDs to learn the songs and then sing them with their students. It is also why we hate to see schools choosing programs such as Rosetta Stone over effective curriculum where content is delivered by a teacher. The bottom line is that using technology is not only NOT the best way to teach young children language, but it is also simply not necessary. Children acquire language so naturally and easily when they are given the opportunity to interact with a talented teacher using effective curriculum. This is the environment we strive to provide at Sonrisas.

Sonrisas Spanish creates, publishes, and sells preschool and elementary Spanish curriculum. The Sonrisas Spanish Curriculum consists of fun, effective, standards-based Spanish lessons for children.

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