Early Language Learning

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TEACHING INTERCULTURAL AWARENESS

A global approach to global languages 

Samantha Bremner, OFLA Early Language Learning Chair, Zid Zid

Our students have more access than ever to the world. From pictures of national monuments to what a popular social media influencer eats for breakfast, they have it all at their fingertips. Using this plethora of information in a way that is educational and communicative is our job. 

Students like to like things. They value followers and reposting ideas. A way I have challenged some higher level students is to seek out high profile influencers from various countries and have students tell me about it in their own (Spanish) words. Some new information that came to us was niche food from Guatemala, typically eaten on New Years, and fashion in South Africa that was very foreign to our American eyes, yet interesting.

I encouraged the students to reach beyond the Spanish speaking world and it delivered. Many students now compare and follow people that they would not have traditionally sought out. This resulted in a more globally inclusive conversation about all things teenage-related: food, fashion, and feelings. 

It has encouraged them to think outside of the Spanish box and to be more flexible when trying to understand a post written in either Spanish or English. It is encouraging some of my students to learn other languages!  

I highly recommend using your students’ strengths and interests to build out their cultural awareness. You may even learn something new too!