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Language skills flourish

There’s a reason that Spanish is growing in popularity as a language and that’s partly down to its cultural appeal – music, movies, food and dance! It’s prompted our Year 10 Spanish students to hone their speaking skills.

Throughout Term 4, Wenona’s Year 10 Spanish students have been practising their Spanish-speaking skills with students overseas, and in doing so, they’ve gained a greater intercultural understanding and an awareness of different customs, traditions and perspectives. At a time when travel has been off the agenda, it’s been a great way of forging connection and bringing languages to life in our classrooms.

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Students from two of our Spanish classes have been communicating with at least two young people from different Spanish-speaking countries, including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Spain. Students from the third class have been building relationships and language skills by conversing with a group of students in Mexico.

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In a matter of weeks, our students have significantly expanded their Spanish vocabulary and built their confidence, chatting with their counterparts overseas on topics such as family and neighbourhoods, school and weekly routines, free time and future aspirations, and most importantly, food and celebrations!

Spanish Teacher Ms Varela said, “Some of the students participating in the exchange of ideas have been incredibly generous in sharing descriptions of these aspects of life, as well as including pictures to illustrate them.”

It has also been rewarding for our Languages Department to receive messages from teachers overseas, expressing their gratitude and describing the excitement of their students.

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Ms Lola Carmona, a teacher from Spain, said, “I'm sure they've learnt much more in such a little time than at regular lessons.” Her sentiments were echoed by Mr Jorge Madrigal, a teacher from Mexico, who said, “My students were filled with excitement and wrote me messages letting me know how fantastic this experience has been for them. Thank you to all the girls who have participated and to you for organising it.”

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Our Year 10 students at Wenona were each made responsible for kickstarting the conversation, in English, for each week’s assigned aspects. The students in the different Spanish-speaking countries answered either exclusively in English, exclusively in Spanish or in a combination of the two languages (for instance, a paragraph in English and another one in Spanish).

Ms Varela said, “Although they have been mainly interacting with each other in English, through this activity, we hope they all leave their Spanish learning journey with the appreciation of the many valid ways to be in the world, as well as realising the many commonalities that exists in their interests and behaviours. And for those who will continue deepening their knowledge of the language, it has provided them with a valuable opportunity to have first-hand accounts of everyday life in Spanish-speaking countries from young people like them.”