From early education to middle school, the method for Spanish second-language acquisition will be a blend of the ‘natural approach/full immersion’ and a ‘constructivist approach’. The natural approach is commonly regarded as full immersion into the target language; and the constructivist approach is set on the student’s process to attach meaning to the target language through discovery and inquisitive learning. My pedagogical goal at OLMC is to create a sequential language acquisition system from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade. By constructing a system, and not stand alone courses, the target language will be ubiquitously present; therefore, the student’s mind will be steadily trained to think in the target language.
Second-language acquisition is not obtained in a vacuum. Knowledge of cultural nuances across Spanish-speaking countries, and Spanish-speaking enclaves in the United States complement the more mechanical study of the language. Cultural lessons will be present as part of the language lesson. I will limit setting time aside for ‘cultural study’ as it breaks the correlation between culture and language. Language study will be all encompassing without compartmentalizing the study of all the components of language acquisition, but rather present all components complementing each other.
The challenge of creating, and successfully executing, such a system is accurately setting goals and measurements. Basic goals will be set from the beginning of the school year between the teacher and the class through a student-teacher learning plan. This allows for transparency and clear expectations between teacher and student. On a weekly basis, the teacher will have to evaluate progress at the class and student level, and so will the class evaluate the teacher. These ‘checkpoints’ allow for reflection of how well the subject matter is being taught and how well it is being absorbed. Because the checkpoint is conducted often, alteration to this living language system can be quickly done. This living language system will set guidelines and rigidity to the instruction, but it will not hinder the teacher from adjusting the system to the progress of the students. The system will always be a living project reflecting the needs and desires of the classes. I am a product of bilingual education, and know firsthand the challenges and gifts it brings. I look forward to embarking on this journey with OLMC.
God bless you all!