Why Spanish immersion programmes for high school students are key for students´ educational paths and personal development
Today we have a very special post, as we are interviewing a Spanish teacher who has visited us twice in Ronda with his students, as part of a Spanish immersion programme for high school students that they organize in the Winston Churchill Lycee International School in London. As he states, these programs are key for enriching not only students’ educational path, but also their personal development. Juanjo’s background and experience are inspiring for both students and the professionals who work in the field of education. If you are a committed and enthusiastic teacher like him, we are sure you’ll want to know more about immersive learning experiences and what their impact on younger students is!
Harry: Thanks for your time, Juanjo. We would like to start by asking you about your motivation to become a teacher: Why did you choose this career?
Juanjo: Education is one of the fundamental pillars of any given society, and also as teachers we have the power to change society. It is because of this I decided to direct my professional aspirations towards the world of teaching.
H: As a teacher, how do you feel immersive courses help the student?
J: Well, they help a lot! I was able to see that during my stay in Ronda (in terms of motivation, the want to communicate, etc.) Also, I could see in the following years that students that have done immersive courses have an exceptional oral level.
H: Why is immersion itself an important aspect of learning a language?
J: From my point of view, there are four important aspects that affect immersion:
- Letting go of your fears: When you let go of your fears, you open yourself to the authentic practicing of conversation, through which you can advance.
- You learn in the way children learn; the natural way: Being in an immersive environment helps the student to learn a language in a way that comes most naturally to them.
- You familiarise yourself with the way the language is really spoken: You learn the way in which people relate with others, play and make jokes in other countries. Also, you learn about the idiomatic language that is used by the locals.
- You learn aspects of the language: Pronunciation, different accents, intonation, body languages for certain situations, etc.
H: What would you say are the benefits of the Spanish immersion programmes for high school students?
J: We all know how important it the effect of mastering a language has on getting better job opportunities, both in terms of payment and responsibilities. Assisting in an immersive language course in the language’s own country is the best way to learn, as the student can practice every hour of the day. It’s not just never-ending listening comprehension, but also as we expose ourselves to situations in which we’re obligated to understand and comprehend what is being said to us.
H: Is it beneficial to do a course of this type in Ronda? Why?
J: Yeah, I recommend it 100% as this is the fourth year in a row that we’re going to go with our students. One of the motives for teachers that are very professional and the personal service that is given towards the student. At the same time the Spanish immersion programmes for high school students that Entrelenguas offers is unbeatable.
Another aspect to keep in mind is the ‘essence’ of the town, in spite of it being a city, the students still feel like they’re at home.
LEARN MORE ABOUT JUANJO!
Juanjo is originally from sunny Valencia, Spain. He is a qualified teacher, obtaining his teaching degree from the University of Zaragoza. Juan has also completed a masters in Teaching Spanish as Foreign Language at the International University of Rioja in Spain, and has been qualified as an examiner for the renowned Cervantes Institute and the newer International Service of the Evaluation of Spanish Language – in collaboration with the Cervantes Institute, the National University of Mexico, the University of Salamanca and the University of Buenos Aires.
In 2012 he received a grant from the Spanish government to support his efforts of discovering and learning about the British curriculum in Alperton Community School, teaching Spanish to ages 11 through 16. He likes to give life to language and culture in the classroom, as well as organise trips to make sure the students experience the culture of Spanish speaking countries. He also likes to travel, discover new communities, learn about history and photography.