Wrapping up a Semester of Spanish

Well, it’s time to wrap up a semester of my Independent Learning Project. This semester has flown by at record speed, and it seems like just yesterday I was attempting to set up a Twitter and WordPress account for this class. I remember feeling a lot of excitement to begin learning Spanish and working out all of the times Eli and I could meet throughout the week.

At the beginning of this experience, I was eager to learn. I loved meeting with Eli even to practice the alphabet, and I would practice wherever I went. As the semester went on, my motivation slowly declined. This, by no means, was Eli’s fault. He was an amazing teacher this semester, but I became so much busier with other aspects of my life (a new class after midterms, more volleyball practices, etc.) that I began losing motivation for my ILP. It seemed like we were doing the same thing every time we met, which was necessary to memorize letters and phonetics, but I began losing interest and focusing on other things. There was one week we didn’t meet at all. I practiced on my own, but it was even harder to keep motivation doing that.

At the beginning of the semester, I envisioned myself as a fluent Spanish speaker by the end of this process. Realistically, I knew this wasn’t a possibility, but thinking that made me more excited about the experience. Although, I wasn’t even close to reaching this goal, I’m still happy with the progress I did make.

I think the best part of this project is what I learned about Eli, who learned English after Spanish, and what I learned about myself as a student. Although there is no way to tell English is Eli’s second language, he didn’t learn it until he was in elementary school, and it was really interesting for me as a future teacher to hear about his experiences.

What I have learned about myself as a learner will make me a better teacher. At the beginning, I was excited about learning a new skill, and that’s not unusual. I think students and people in general are naturally curious and want to learn. We want to know more about those around us and the world around us. Typically, classrooms squash this curiosity. In order to foster my students’ curiosity, I need to keep them on their toes. Routines are necessary, but I can’t let myself or my students get stuck in them.

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6 Comments

  1. Becoming fluent in another language in just a few months would definitely be challenging! I admire your ambition! I can relate to losing a little bit of motivation as the semester goes on. These last two weeks of the semester are always a bit of a struggle! I love that you learned a lot about another person’s journey in learning a second language. I’m sure the two of you were able to relate throughout the experience and I know if it were me, this would have made the entire learning process even more enjoyable! Thanks for sharing!

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    • I definitely had higher expectations than what was actually realistic, and that became discouraging. We were halfway through the semester, and I was frustrated that I was still working on phonetics of letters and very simple words. It was great learning about someone else though, and I can definitely take that with me into my future classroom!

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  2. What I love most about this post, is how realistic you are. I’m a realist myself, so I admire that in you. For any college student, motivation rapidly declines more by the week- if not by the day. It’s hard to motivate yourself to keep going, I totally get that! At least you realized that your motivation was decreasing. Learning about Eli’s journey will be in your favor as being a teacher! Because now you will know the position the student is in!

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  3. I think you learned more about speaking Spanish than you might be aware of. It is really hard to learn a new language, especially in such a short amount of time. You also brought up a great point about learners, We can become bored and will lack motivation. AS future teachers we need to find different techniques to keep our students engaged until the end.

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