Better Learning

The words ‘Spanish class’ are bound to strike fear into any high schooler’s heart. Between memorizing vocabulary words, practicing pronunciation, and remembering grammar, students barely have time to breathe.

With all the information that comes with learning a new language, Spanish is easily one of the most difficult classes to take in high school. However, many teachers have had difficulty teaching Spanish not for its complexity, but for one main reason: some students learned Spanish first, and some know only English. This obvious difference causes many problems in the learning environment, as teachers have to teach to two completely different groups of students that have contrasting educational needs. The creation of a separate, more advanced class for native Spanish speakers would benefit both students and teachers by building a more effective learning atmosphere. The differences between native Spanish and English speaking students are vast.

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While an English speaker may have difficulty with the most basic vocabulary words, a Spanish speaker may enter the course already knowing every word of the Spanish dictionary. English speaking students may take years learning pronunciation and correct grammar, while a native Spanish speaker already knows what ‘sounds right’ in a sentence. These differences account for the main reason separate classes should be created. The biggest advantage of this division would be that Spanish teachers would have the ability to teach students based on what they need to know. If separate classes were created, native Spanish speakers could practice more necessary skills, like how to spell words and where to put accent marks ‘ common issues for kids who have only learned the language orally.

Using this method would create a more efficient and effective learning system for everyone. Finding a Spanish teacher who has all the skills of a regular teacher plus the ability to speak both English and Spanish is a tough enough task. To find one that can teach two entirely different types of students at the same time is nearly impossible. Spanish teachers are forced to teach the same lessons and give the same assignments to these groups, hoping they will work on both levels. Many teachers even neglect the native Spanish speaking students with the idea that they already know everything they need to know for that class.

This is simply not so. With the creation of separate classes, Spanish teachers would get to focus their lessons to fit their students’ needs and grade assignments equally and fairly. Removing the stress and unreasonable expectation of teaching in two different styles simultaneously would allow Spanish teachers to target problem areas particular to a certain group of students. In reality, the differences in the educational needs of native Spanish speakers and English speakers are too much for a teacher to handle in one class period. The creation of separate classes based on ability level and fluency would be beneficial for both students and teachers, making the overall educational atmosphere more effective.