I’ve had a pre-service teacher in my room for the last week. She’s been observing. Today, as my first class was filing in, she and I were talking. She was saying that it’s clear to her that my students are eager to volunteer, nearly all are engaged, they speak willingly and spontaneously and they have a good grasp on language. But, she said, “I don’t know how you got them to this point”. So, I shrugged and said, “Let’s ask them!”
We turned the sign from the Ñ to the INGLÉS and she began asking questions. The following are verbatim comments from my students:
There is less pressure here. We don’t get made fun of.
He invites you to do it, but you have to be attentive.
Spanish class is more like life.
You won’t get called out or made fun of if you don’t know a word.
I feel I can relax here and think about having fun.
On willingness to speak:
I use Spanish randomly without even thinking about it outside of class.
It doesn’t feel like it’s in my head. It feels like it’s in my heart.
First we answered questions with one word, now we say sentences.
You don’t feel like you’ve learned anything, but it’s in your head.
It’s become involuntary. Our brain is used to it like walking and talking. I talk to myself in Spanish now.
On how you remember the words:
I remember our class from that day and talk to myself in my head.
The actions and the repetitions.
Stories make it easier. You feel a part of it and that feels good.
It doesn’t feel like work.
We make up stories together and that makes it more personal to me. And, when it’s more personal, you remember it better.