Congratulations to the
recipient of the
Bertha Hernández Chong
Woodville Tompkins Technical and Career High School
Report from Madrid, Spain July 2016:
opportunities that will change your life” is what I tell my students, but I am aware that these words will only resonate
in their hearts if I truly set the example and provide them with evidence from my own journey. This summer, I completed a
50 hour teaching course designed for Spanish teachers at Instituto Cervantes accredited language school, Don Quijote
in conjunction with ENFOREX, in Madrid, Spain.
The teacher course explored a variety of topics on dynamic
teaching practices apt for all levels such as using authentic cultural content via literary texts, cinema, as well as integrating
interculturality inside the classroom. Of course, advanced Spanish grammar was also a large part of our daily class schedule.
It was extremely interesting to me and to my other American teacher colleague to see grammar presented using grammatical graphic
organizers and/or explanations we had never either seen nor heard before that day. When proficiency levels were discussed,
reference was often made to the Common European Framework for Languages. We had the opportunity to compare and contrast it
with our ACTFL proficiency guidelines. Additionally, we explored other topics such as gamification, and a daily one
hour cultural lesson on Spaniard cultural topics such as Spaniard press, cinema, colloquialism, museums, photography, current
events, political issues, economy and employment patterns during the last decades.
was incredibly enriching in ways beyond initially imagined. One of the best parts of my experience was the chance to collaborate
with dedicated Spanish teachers from France, Italy, Holland, Poland, the Island of Guadeloupe, and one more from the United
States. Although we each spoke different languages, we were united by a common goal, a desire to ameliorate our teaching practices
in order to lead our high school students to Spanish fluency. Daily, even after our classes were over, we gathered to reflect,
compare and contrast our practices, schools and support systems, technologies, and students. The talks with these ambassadors
of the Spanish language led me to become even more aware and appreciative of the professional development provided by organizations
such as ACTFL, AATSP, FLAG, and SCOLT as well as the technology and administrative support I have in my school as not everyone
in the world has access to these. It reminded me of the importance to value and embrace all learning opportunities and resources
provided to language teachers.
While in Spain, I visited the city of three cultures, Toledo, simply breathtaking
where I savored carcamusas toledanas, queso manchego, and masapanes. On several occasions, I joined the Madrid a Pie tour
and during my visit to Toeldo, the Cuentame Toledo tour. These tours provided amazing learning experiences as told by professional
local guides resulting in more cultural knowledge and experiences to share with my students. Finally, I cannot explain with
words what it is like to stand before Picasso’s Guernica at El Prado, Velazquez’s Las Meninas at the Reina
Sofia Museum, or to closely observe the vast collection of artifacts from the history ancient American civilizations at the
Museo de las Américas…and the food. Oh the food! There were many days when tortilla española and croquetas
were part of my diet right outside Plaza Mayor followed by a visit to get my weekly dose of churros from San Ginés,
the oldest and best churrería in the world.
Finally, the best part
of my experience was the incredible knowledge, passion, modeling of techniques, and patience from ALL of our teachers
at Don Quijote. The instructors exemplified expertise in the grammatical complexity of the Spanish language as they modeled
admirable teaching techniques and were prompt to lead us to AHA moments in the intricacy of the subjunctive mood just to name
an example. Yet, they still shared their culture, not just on the surface, and best practices with us. I am thankful to have
chosen this as my summer experience and even more thankful to the Georgia AATSP Chapter for contributing to my professional
growth. Thank you!