By Shapleigh Webster & Lara Garrett – Copy Editor & 1851 Staff
This semester, Professor Jose Guzman decided to step out of the box to help his students learn differently. Through the connected learning philosophy, he designed a class where students would learn the importance of the Spanish language by teaching others.
Students of Professor Jose Guzman’s class taught preschoolers Spanish at The Barn and Rockwell throughout the entire semester.
Photo courtesy of Jose Guzman
“I thought that it would be a good idea to include in my Spanish program a project in which students teach [younger kids] at The Barn and Rockwell, [Pre- school], what they already know, while gaining valuable experience in teaching a foreign language,” said Guzman.
For the duration of the semester, Guzman’s students report to either Rockwell or The Barn to teach students there. “[Our] program includes numbers from one to 10, colors, parts of the body and basic phrases in Spanish. My students know what they have to teach every week based on the Spanish syllabus they have for the children,” said Guzman.
Before he began the program, Guzman consulted with owners of a bi-lingual preschool and directors and teachers from The Barn and Rockwell. “They emphasized the importance of sticking with the same topic for a couple of weeks, until the kids familiarize themselves with what they are learning. As a result, we cover three or four topics in one semester,” said Guzman.
Guzman is impressed with the positive results this semester, from both his and the preschool students. “I went to observe my students while they were teaching and I was very impressed to see the amazing, fun activities that they prepare for their Spanish classes,” said Guzman. “I was impressed to see the preschoolers at the Barn and Rockwell list the parts of the body in Spanish and even say little phrases in Spanish.”
Students in Guzman’s Spanish class said that they have enjoyed the experience, and the unique dimension it adds to their education.
Junior Chadwick Taylor, a minor in Spanish, said that in each class, it is often the younger students teaching him. “I went in to teach [the students at Rockwell] head, shoulders, knees and toes in Spanish, and they already knew it, in English and Ital- ian, and I got to learn Italian from five year olds. That was cool,” said Taylor.
Sophomore Taylor August accounts teaching Spanish at Rockwell to be one of her best experiences at Lasell. “I was so lucky to bond with five amazing three- year-olds and teach them amazing things about the language. I had such great stu- dents and I was amazed by the experi- ence,” she said.
Guzman says the students are responding to the information well, through fun and entertaining activities to better input the language in their de- veloping brains. “I saw a class where the children were jumping over a figure with a face and saying the word in Spanish at the same time. Other children were rolling a cube with different parts of the body on it and every time they got a turn, they had to stand up and say that part of the body in Spanish,” said Guzman.
“It has been very successful,” said Guzman, “It is our first semester working with Rockwell, but I have been working with The Barn during the last three se- mesters and every semester I get more students interested in the program.”