In the series How Do Your Spanish Students Learn? we suggest classroom activities for those who learn best by listening. Some of these activities will also appeal to students with other learning styles.
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Am I Hearing You Right? I Think I'm an Aural Learner...
Getting to listen--a lot--is the key to rapid, thorough learning for aural Spanish learners. But this doesn’t mean you should subject them to one long lecture after another. Instead, encourage them to listen actively, involving them in the conversation if only by asking them simple yes or no questions, or asking them to predict the probable actions of a story character. The following Spanish classroom activities and tips may be of help with getting your aural learners fully involved in the class.
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Jingle it Good
Have your students select vocabulary words at random from a fishbowl, then create a commercial jingle about a fictional product or service named after the vocabulary word they picked. Assign products and services, if necessary, to get your students started. For example, if the vocabulary word is pintura you might have them create a memorable Spanish-language jingle about a line of paints or a painting service.
Creating, hearing, seeing and performing the jingles will get all learning styles involved, but your aural Spanish learners will get the benefit of listening to them all.
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Invite Spanish-language storytellers to visit your class, tell stories yourself or have students trade-off reading short stories in Spanish. Tailor the length and complexity of the stories to your students’ Spanish abilities. Beginning aural learners can listen to short, basic stories of just a few minutes long and signal their understanding with nods or shakes of their heads. Intermediate and advanced students can interact with the storyteller when invited, for example suggesting what a character might say in a given situation. You can also have students respond briefly to the story in Spanish, either summarizing the plot or reacting to the storyline as a follow-up to the original classroom activity.
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More Ideas to Keep Aural Learners Involved
Invite students to digitally record your lectures; aural Spanish learners may benefit more from playing the tapes back than trying to take notes. Alternatively, you can make recordings of lectures and classroom activities available as podcasts or digital recordings yourself. Give extra credit for listening to Spanish-language radio stations, which may be available through conventional radio or over the Internet; verify that your students have been listening by asking them to respond, orally or in writing, to what they heard. Finally, try playing soft, unobtrusive instrumental music in the background during Spanish lessons; this may put some students off, but others may find that it helps set the mood and signal that now is “Spanish time."
How Do Your Spanish Students Learn? Teaching Spanish with Different Learning Styles
A teacher knows that their different students learn best in different ways. Some students learn by hearing, and others by doing. Some learn best by looking at material. Here in this series we look at ways for Spanish teachers to use different learning styles to help students learn.