This blog is a place to talk about ways of engaging with Spanish, especially through film, music, podcasts, websites, stories and books, and other media. Engaging with high quality language content is a way to build (or maintain) proficiency, cultural knowledge, and motivation for further learning. I love to read, watch, and listen to content in all different varieties of Spanish – I always learn something new for myself, and I often find wonderful things to share with my students.
Profe Kelly’s bio
This blog is written with two main audiences in mind: students and fellow language educators. In my day job, I coordinate the Spanish program at a flagship state university, working with instructors and developing curriculum. I also advise students preparing to study abroad. One of the most frequent questions I get from my pre-departure study abroad students is “I really want to build up my Spanish before I go to [destination
]. What should I do?” I have a list of favorite resources that I find myself recommending over and over because I love them so much; if I know a little bit about the individual student and his or her interests, I also try to come up with something tailored to them, that I think will help to engage that individual.
Not coincidentally, most of those favorites also happen to be materials that I have developed into classroom activities, because they spark my interest and I think they have a lot of classroom potential to engage students. Often, they also offer opportunities to highlight something surprising or potentially confusing in how the language is being used. Through the activities and instructional materials I develop around them, I invite students to be “linguistic detectives” and use the context to assist in analyzing grammatical structures. So, this blog is also a place for fellow language educators to think about helping our students to engage with Spanish through a variety of media resources. Most of the topics I plan to review here are created by and for native Spanish speakers, and will be a source of authentic target language input. I do also plan to include a handful of bilingual and English-medium topics for various reasons, which will be explained in those posts as they come up. I will also discuss a variety of resources that don’t include dialogue at all, as these also lend themselves to use in language classrooms in fostering output from students.
We all know that a 50-minute class a few times a week is not enough time for students to actually learn a language. If students are going to build true proficiency, they need to engage with Spanish outside of class, on their own, and by their own choice. In a world with so many distractions and competing demands on time and attention, how do we convince our students to engage with Spanish? I think one of the answers is by guiding them to rich, fascinating, challenging but accessible content. I hope this blog becomes a source for both students and language educators to discover wonderful language-learning resources to engage with, both inside and outside the classroom.
Disclaimer: Posts on this blog will include detailed discussions of the content and potential classroom applications of the featured works. Readers should always be aware that this may involve revealing spoilers.