Hola from Wenona to Mexico
A chance reconnection with one of Ms Varela’s old school friends in Mexico led to our Year 8 Spanish students having a conversation in Spanish with 12 Mexican students via Zoom.
The pandemic has certainly made it more challenging for our Language students to have authentic opportunities to engage in conversation with native speakers. Practise makes perfect as they say, so the best way for our Spanish students to speed up the language acquisition process and move closer to fluency is by speaking it.
Ms Varela and one of her old schoolfriends decided to forge a connection between Wenona and Organización Educativa Tabscoob, A. C. in Villahermosa, in the state of Tabasco in Mexico. They started off by writing to each other and exchanging information about their lives in Sydney and in Villahermosa. Then, last week at 6.30pm Mexico-time, they came together via Zoom, with the Mexican students logging in from home and the Wenona students logging in from their classroom.
Their conversation centred around life at their respective schools and some of our Year 8 students were brave enough to ask simple questions such as “¿Cuál es tu asignatura preferida?” (What is your favourite subject?) They were also interested to find out about their respective school uniforms and the subjects they study as part of the curriculum.
In the real world, we don’t have time to think up the perfect response to a question, so it was challenging for our students. They listened patiently and attentively to the questions, which were spoken at a much faster pace than they were used to and did their best to formulate a response. As Ms Varela said, “The Mexican students also had some questions for us in English, and it is likely they also felt we spoke too quickly too.”
Although the students were shy at first, they were thrilled to have an opportunity to meet each other – albeit virtually – and to bring their Language learning to life. After all, languages are for living and having an opportunity to practise their spoken Spanish was a great way for our Year 8 students to speed up their language acquisition and build their confidence.
Ms Varela said, “We hope to continue enriching each other’s learning of our own languages through these types of interactions.”
¡Muy bien Ms Varela and Year 8!