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The changing face of spanish language instruction

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During the past 20 years, low-cost technologies have challenged traditional means of communication by allowing people from around the globe to connect online and quickly exchange ideas and information.

For language schools, these technologies have provided a new opportunity to reach a growing number of students interested in acquiring a new language for professional reasons or to simply enrich their cultural and social lives.

The most studied foreign language in the United States is now Spanish, and it is the second most studied foreign language after English in most European countries, so the number of Spanish schools online has blossomed in the last three years. The South American time zone roughly equals the time zone of the US Easter Seaboard which means that teachers from Mexico to Argentina are now engaging in live Spanish lessons using free Internet telephony solutions to connect with students across North America.

“Students comment on how convenient they find our online Spanish classes, since they don’t have to hop in their car and drive to the local community college to take a night course. This makes for a big savings of time and money,” Jeff Newstead, a Spanish student living in Calgary Alberta, Canada, said.

Clare Lo, a Spanish student currently living in Singapore, agrees.

“The lessons move at a pace that the student is comfortable with,” according to Lo, who began taking Spanish classes online in December 2009 mainly for personal and travel purposes. “The Spanish lesson is very structured. The teacher corrects any pronunciation and grammatical errors unlike in traditional classroom settings.”
For other students, the online Spanish school has proved to be an important tool for their workplace. Susan McGill, a teacher at a public school in South Florida, has found the private Spanish classes online have helped her better communicate with Hispanic students learning English at her middle school.
Running an online school, however, has some challenges.
For teachers, one of the main obstacles is not being able to directly see the student and motivate them with body language, according to Deysi Alancoa, who currently teaches 12 students.
“Nevertheless, because you’re not in front of the student who wants to learn Spanish online, your voice becomes your best tool,” Alancoa said. “The tone of the voice is very important while telling a small story or when interacting in class. The results are gratifying because the students feel happy and satisfied with the classes.”
With the benefits of computer assisted language instruction outweighing the detractions, this new modality of virtual learning appears here to stay.

Article Source: Messaggiamo.Com


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