At Regina Dominican, global citizenship is one of the characteristics instilled in each student. As global citizens, our students explore issues that have a worldwide impact, connect with and value people of all backgrounds, and become servant leaders who operate on an international scale. This holistic approach to education is emboldened in Spanish teacher Paula Durán’s classes. Durán has developed a cross-curricular plan in which students are immersed into the Spanish language through authentic texts, newscasts and discussion of current events.
In Durán’s classes, learning Spanish transcends by rote studying of vocabulary. Students learn in context by watching a Spanish news summary titled Teledairio en 4’ at least once a week. This provides the opportunity for students to listen to vocabulary as spoken by native Spanish speakers. Simultaneously, they also develop proper grammar techniques and gain a new perspective on international news. Students’ language skills develop naturally as they listen and interpret the language.
“The language comes alive for students. They can make connections,” said Durán. “[The newscast] is something that also allows students to acquire vocabulary and become more proficient in Spanish.”
A key aspect of this activity is learning current events, particularly those that do not appear on American news channels.
“The ongoing conflict in the region of Catalonia in Spain is surprising to me. Catalonians are trying to gain independence and become their own nation, which is galvanizing the country of Spain,” said student Mary Berg ’16.
In addition to watching newscasts, a common homework assignment is reading news articles from newspapers in Spanish-speaking countries. With these sources, the students formulate discussion questions in Spanish.
“Keeping up with the news allows me to be more aware of other cultures and global conflicts. I learn more about the country of Spain and the world. I am able to learn the similarities and differences between the culture of my own nation and the culture of Spain,” said Berg.
Students like Berg are able to put their cultural knowledge to use working with native Spanish-speakers in Guatemala. During spring break, Regina Dominican students assist in the daily activities needed to run the Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos orphanage. This first-hand experience allows Durán’s classroom lessons to come full circle and expands her students’ worldview.