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Spaniards bring real deal to language lessons

Aug 5th, 2009 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

spanish-main“HOLA” is being bandied about the classrooms of Karori Normal School after three Spanish teachers visited from Villalbilla, a village outside Madrid.

In the past couple of weeks, Years 7 and 8 Spanish classes have had Ivan Alfaro, Felicidad Santamaria and Jesus Martin helping out with pronunciation and conversational skills, while a number of younger classes listened to accounts of life in Spain.

The visitors upped the excitement when they handed students the latest batch of letters from their penpals at Educrea – the fourth instalment since correspondence began last June.

The relationship between the two schools began 18 months ago when principal Diane Leggett was contacted by the then New Zealand Ambassador for Spain, Geoff Ward.

Educrea (Education and Creativity), based in Villalbilla, has a special interest in New Zealand, says Ms Santamaria.

The school is divided into four houses of English-speaking countries, one of which is New Zealand.

With a focus on culture as well as language, New Zealand house students learn about Maori tattoos and haka and the whole school celebrates Waitangi Day by holding culture-based activities.

spanish-2ndryMr Alfaro says the visit has been beneficial for practising English for Educrea’s bilingual programme and comparing different education practices.

The teachers have travelled within New Zealand and consider Kiwis lucky to live in a nature-rich country.

Mrs Leggett hopes representatives from the school will reciprocate the visit next year if funding allows.

As part of a second-language programme introduced by Mrs Leggett four years ago, Karori’s Year 7 and 8 classes are offered French, Chinese, Japanese and Maori as well as Spanish.

The school also has a continuing relationship with Shanghai’s YK Pao School, which three members of staff visited last year.

PICTURES: (Top) Felicidad Santamaria, Jesus Martin  and Ivan Alfaro captivate students with Spanish anecdotes. 

(Above left) Ivan, Jesus and Felicidad… enthusiastic visitors.

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