Learning a second language is not easy. This is something that I have heard before being in the education field, but something that I could not connect to personally until now. Being in Chile, I have been taking Spanish classes every day. My Spanish classes are separated into two segments, communication and grammar. For four hours each day, I am on the other side - I myself am a language learner. In education, we are taught about English language learners, also known as ELL's . These students are students whose primary language is not English. As an educator, I am learning strategies and techniques that can be implemented in the classroom to help ELL's better understand and comprehend the material being taught. I never knew how it felt to be in a classroom where my primary language is not being used until taking Spanish classes at Ecela. When I do not understand something that is being said in Spanish and get called on to answer something, I feel the nervousness and then anxiousness and I feel the tenseness take over my body. I am feeling how some English language learners feel while in school and it has really allowed me to learn more about how to teach students whose primary language is different than my own. The Spanish immersion program at Ecela has been truly wonderful. I have been able to meet many people from all around the world who travel to Chile just to learn Spanish. I have been able to connect with my professors and grow from the knowledge that they instill in me, but most importantly, I am able to better understand what it feels like to be a language learner.
Today, we had a placement at Colegio Benjamin Claro Velaco. This school prides itself on their participation in a school integration program. What does this exactly mean? Well, this is a special school that focuses on creating an education for ALL students, regardless of if they have a disability or not. We had the chance to sit down and chat with some teachers who work there and I gathered a lot of great information. Colegio Benjamin Claro Velaco wants to improve the quality of education for all students, work on and achieve student goals, use inclusion throughout the classrooms, and really use diverse strategies that will enable all students to learn. The school really blew me away with how hard teachers are working to make sure that no student is left behind in their education. They are using very familiar techniques and strategies that we use in the United States such as co-teaching, assessing and evaluating student progress, creating engaging lessons, and even modifying lessons for students who may need a little extra support. It made me really happy to learn about this because I think those things are very important for student success as well as student growth.
I look forward to visiting a different school tomorrow that is specifically for students with special needs. This is where my heart and passion is, so I cannot wait to see the similarities and differences between that school and schools like that in the United States!
23 | Senior | Exceptional Education | Alpha Epsilon Phi | Musician | Optimist | Adventure seeker | Lover of books and trying new food |