My Experience as a Spanish Teacher in a Multicultural Country: Singapore

02 May, 2018

I am a lawyer and psychologist. I have 2 years’ professional experience teaching children who are 5-8 years old. At the moment, I am living in Singapore, because my intention is to teach Spanish to children from different nationalities, who are 5-8 years old. The majority of students either have one parent or both parents coming from Spanish-speaking countries, or one of their parents speaks some Spanish. Therefore, it is important to help them become more familiar with their country's culture or their mother or father's culture.

It's is extremely important to assess where the students come from and their prior knowledge so that what they learn is relevant and to see if it's possible to make connections with the information that they already have. In this way, it is important not to take for granted their history, culture and previous knowledge, assuming that they all understand these things in the same way. The teacher has to make an effort to create explicit links between what they already know and the new content that is being explained to them. Such links also have to be made with previous Spanish classes or other subjects, or even with vocabulary that the student has from their mother tongue. For example, if a student speaks French, it's possible that there are similar words in Spanish and you can make an obvious connection.

As I teach children, it is essential for my class to be entertaining and interactive with lots of visual aid and exercises which are relevant and appropriate for their age. Therefore, during the class I will ask my students to stand up, sing, colour and do breathing exercises. These activities help them concentrate better, as well as familiarise them with other vocabulary that they will pick up quickly by listening to it regularly.

Like this, the students will acquire appropriate communication skills for using the language and at the same time will learn how to communicate properly in general, acquiring all the necessary skills. The students' learning is much more successful when they can make links between what they know and what they learn through experiences in their own lives. As such, learning stops being something abstract when they have the opportunity to put into practise what they have learnt.

Finally, because my students are of various nationalities, my sociocultural content is focused on sharing different cultures and learning about their differences. Like this, they don't only enrich their knowledge of Spanish, but of the whole world. Therefore, I don't put an emphasis on learning just about Spain, but I take into account the nationalities of the children, and we all learn about each other's countries and about Singapore, where we all currently live.

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