My teaching philosophy is to get students to know the basics of Spanish so they can go outside the classroom or even to the world, and converse & dialogue the language. Learning Spanish, just as English and any other languages is a challenge. My teaching philosophy is to speak during the whole class period Spanish, & English should only be used when certain topics like the subjunctive (which is difficult to explain without using examples in English) come into play. In many cases students do not speak or converse with Spanish outside the classroom, & the whole hour in the room is for them to practice the language.
In my teaching philosophy I like to apply the belief of Dr. Paul Pimsleur. He was a foreign language linguistics scholar who stated that one of the best ways to learn a language is through conversation & dialogue. Do not get me wrong, learning syntax and the rules of grammar is very important to learn any language, but many times students only study the language in the classroom, and outside the classroom, the language is not used. It does not matter if the students are dialoging Spanish with errors and accents, the important thing is that they talk the language. I observe students to hear them dialogue, and for the most part I leave them alone to dialogue, but if they are having trouble saying certain items, then I tell them the words.
In addition to me lecturing the material the students need to know for the day, I usually try to include activities to get the students to dialogue. Some of the activities that I usually have the students do in class is an A-B dialogue. On a piece of paper I create a dialogue between two students, one is A and the other is B. Usually the dialogues are greetings and introductions, but a few times I also try to include dialogues that deal with the material being covered in class. The students move the tables and accommodate the chairs to dialogue with each other face to face. One student holds the dialogue sheet, while the other student sees the dialogue from the screen projector. After a few minutes or if I feel that many students have dialogued, I will say “cambio” which means switch. The students with the dialogue stay in the same place, while those who look at the screen get up and move over on chair to the next person. It is similar to the speed dating. Another activity I do is “Música con letra”. This is an activity where I bring in a lyric sheet for the music of a Spanish speaking or Latin American artist. What I do is leave certain lines on the lyric sheet empty, and the students have to fill them in. I try to relate the music with what is being covered in class. Like for example when the students were first learning the definite and indefinite articles, I brought the lyrics for the song “Eres para mí” from the Mexican American Pop Latino artist Julieta Venegas. The students first read the lyrics, and then they heard the song and watched the video. Afterwards they filled in the articles, el, la, los, las and un, una, unos, and unas. It was practice for their grammar, and the students enjoyed hearing and watching music from a Spanish speaking artist.
As the journey continues I will find ways to improve my teaching methods.