When I moved to San Francisco 6 years ago and started teaching Spanish, the first thing I did was look for educational Spanish songs to use in my classes. To my surprise, I only found a handful of good songs that met my students needs. Most of the music I found was not suited for primary students or was not really useful for my educational goals. This is why I started writing my own songs to teach Spanish.
I like to introduce new topics with a song. This way, my students learn new vocabulary and grammar structures in a fun way. We can later build on these concepts easily.
At classroom linking "Daily routines" topic with timetables
Parents have been grateful for “the love of Spanish” their children have shown and fellow teachers have complimented my way of teaching as it makes Spanish so enjoyable. In fact, for many of my students, Spanish is their favourite subject.
I really appreciate hearing all that but honestly, do not think I am doing anything all that difficult or special. It is the MUSIC that makes everything special. I am simply using an element most children love as my main teaching tool.
I find music to be the most effective way to teach a foreign language and there are a lot of good reasons for that:
When you learn something through music, that learning is stored in your long term memory and it is likely to be remembered for years to come.
Research shows that students retain more vocabulary when it is presented through a song.
Singing songs is fun for children and it creates a “stress free” environment.
While students sing, they are using the target language and they are, without realizing it, repeating meaningful vocabulary and grammar structures.
All these factors, amongt others, raises students’ confidence levels and will help them in foreign language acquisition.
Suzanne L. Medina, Ph.D. (1990) believes that “the use of music to promote second language acquisition should occupy a more important role in the second language curriculum. This can easily be accomplished by increasing the frequency with which songs are used in the curriculum.”
Children love cartoons and music so why not mix them to create a powerful learning tool?
About a year ago, Dani, a cartoon animator and a good friend of mine, joined my project and he has been turning all of my songs into animated music videos. Dani has become an important part of Rockalingua. He is the artist behind every single illustration and has expanded the animation from the videos to worksheets, picture dictionaries, the website’s thumbnails....
Visual association is more effective than rote memoritation. It is also more engaging for students than simple text.
We have put all of our love and passion into the hundreds of hours it has taken us to develop these materials. Finally, we are now here and ready to Rock the Spanish class with all of you!
The intention of this blog
I want this blog to be a platform where Spanish teachers from all over the world can share ideas, teaching materials, useful internet links to other educational websites, blogs etc. Every week I will write a post with “teaching tips” and I will share links to useful Spanish resources and blogs of other Spanish teachers that I have been following for awhile. I welcome everyone to post comments, give feedback (positive or negative) and share their point of view. The final goal is, with the help of all of you, to make our job more creative, fun and hopefully, a bit easier.
“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand,”
I love this quote! As teachers, we should put it into practice with our students as much as possible.
Students must be the center of the teaching/learning process. They must be the actors and not mere spectators if we really want them to learn.
Total Physical Response
T.P.R. is a teaching technique developed by James Asher whereby a learner responds to language input with body motions.
- Instant understanding of the target language, regardless of academic aptitude
- High speed, longterm retention
- Stress-free and fun
I find T.P.R. to be really effective and fun while teaching new vocabulary or even sentences. It is a great resource to use in foreign language classes.
I use T.P.R. all the time, especially while singing songs. It is really fun, when teaching a new song, to introduce the meaning, word by word or sentence by sentence, to your students and ask them, “what movement should we do while we sing this part?” They get really involved and it creates a great atmosphere in the classroom.
Take a look at these links below. They include great ideas on how to use T.P.R. in class!
I hope to hear from all of you soon,
Have a great school year!