- B.A. Taylor University
"Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn." - Benjamin Franklin
This quote guides my style of teaching. In my Spanish classes we do take notes on vocabulary, grammar and phrases, but it is always either introduced or developed through student involvement, be it a game or a conversation or a listening exercise. For example, before defining new vocabulary I will make small gestures or use the pictures and dialogue provided in the book in order to draw students in and have them determine the meaning of a word or phrase. Students enjoy this ‘guessing game,’ and are quick to respond with what they believe the meaning of a word to be. They are excited by their discovery and, as they are interacting more with the vocabulary in context rather than in simple note taking, it cements the idea of a word more fully in their minds.
Students love games. Students participate readily when we play bingo to review definitions of words. They demonstrate their creativity (and humor) when acting out or drawing a vocabulary word in front of their peers. This is a great game as the students responding to the charades or drawings are doing the more difficult aspect of memorizing vocabulary: recalling the word and its spelling. The nature of playing a game makes this learning engaging rather than rote and dull repetition.
And students love to talk! Since language is our means to relate and communicate with each other, I am able to easily weave this love of theirs into my classroom. Students are so eager to communicate with each other, that they barely notice that they are working through a spoken exercise that repeats the same grammar structure several times. They love watching Telehistorias, mini video clips that use the vocabulary and grammar in context, often repeating bits of the conversation with each other outside of class. The best part, however, of teaching another language is when students suddenly realize that they can have a conversation in another language: that they could actually communicate with a Spanish speaker. Once they recognize this new ability, they are motivated to learn as much as they can. They become so involved with the learning process that they guide and excite the desire to learn in other students.