Spanish classes are the perfect place for teachers to work in lessons that break down social barriers.
What is a diversity-related bias or stereotype you have encountered with your students? How did you respond and what did you learn in hindsight?
How are Spanish people portrayed at your school in artwork, photographs, posters and bulletin boards? What more can be done to promote cultural merging?
What opportunities do students at your school have to share their heritage or unique family situations, or to learn about each other’s heritage and unique family situations?
Tips for Conducting Interviews
Students in Princeton Day School's Spanish class in Princeton, N.J., interviewed a wide range of both native and heritage Spanish speakers throughout their school. Those interviewed included fellow students, faculty, administrators and staff. The project helped students practice their Spanish-language skills and also elevated and valued the Latino culture and language within their school. This project, of course, can be carried out in other language classes—including Chinese, Arabic, Hebrew and Russian.
Below are some tips for conducting similar, successful interviews:
1. Plan ahead. There likely are many Spanish speakers within your school community. Your teacher can help you identify them. Your interviews can be conducted with individuals or groups that you choose or are assigned. Recording your interviews will allow you to share them with others; your classroom can also use them later for language practice.
2. Look beyond the school walls. If there are not many Spanish speakers in your school, local groups can help. Organizations such as Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA) can connect you with potential participants.
3. Accommodate your subjects’ work schedule. Before interviewing faculty and staff, ask permission from their supervisors and be mindful of the demands of their jobs.
4. Choose a topic that fits your interests and language skill level. Plan what you will discuss during your interview. If you are a beginning Spanish student, you may want to stick to topics such as families or holidays. Second- and third-year students may be able to choose broader subjects, such as childhood experiences, culture or geography.
5. Communicate clear instructions. By scheduling an interview, both you and your subject may be stepping out of your comfort zones! Be as clear as possible about your expectations for the interview, including the format and the time you will need.
6. Practice, practice, practice. Give yourself time to practice both the vocabulary and grammar you are likely to use during the interview. Build your skills and comfort level by role-playing with a partner in advance.
7. Don’t forget to say “gracias.” Acknowledge your subject’s time and effort by thanking them in writing (and in Spanish, of course)! Your effort shows that you value them as partners in your education.
8. Synthesize what you’ve learned. Create something that reflects what you’ve learned during your interview or in conducting it. You could write an editorial for the school paper, a blog entry or a guide for future students. You also could design a poster, a map or a photo essay. Or, you may want to prepare an oral presentation for your class that includes the recorded interview.
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Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA)