Some of my students hit a wall last week. It was like all motivation had been sucked out of the class. We started a new unit on art and the excitement was gone! I love art and thought my Spanish 3 class would too, but it wasn’t the case. I don’t like to “give in” if students are slacking off but I know if they aren’t involved – no learning will happen.
We took time in class for students to share their opinions about in English – why they like or don’t like it – and I was shocked! They all said it was boring and they hated learning about it in English. I took a little time and told them about some of my travel experiences and art I had seen and what art really is. I found out that they had seen and critiqued a ton of art in humanities and were a little burned out.
This got me thinking… I don’t like art because I have “learned” about it. I appreciate it and see the beauty in it because I have experienced it. Just like language. We as teachers have all had our opportunities to experience the culture and language. Without those experiences, simply studying can get old.
What experiences can you give to your students while they are in your class?
Trying new fruits, recipes, or candies?
Learn a new dance?
Play soccer against the French class (Spain vs. France)?
Create a replica of a Hispanic artwork?
Skype a real Hispanic?
After my class’ little breakdown, I told them this was not their humanities class. We are going to do things different and ask them to give me a chance. The next day, we learned about Hispanic artists (back in the language again) and used the Akinator app to answer questions about Kahlo, Picasso, Dali, and Botero. Then we took a day to experience art. Here’s what they created…
I didn’t have a huge language production day but now students are a lot more excited about art and actually know these artists.
I put a lot of pressure on myself to be sure students are learning and using new language every day but I have to remember that it is a process. My dear friend Elena told me that when I was first learning and it stand true now. As your students work through this messy process of learning – be sure to give them those little experiences that keep them excited and interested in the language! It makes a big difference!