- Have you been enjoying your Mi guitarrí: Spanish Songs for Kids CD?
- Do you wish you knew the guitar chords so you could play along with Joel?
- Do you wonder how to play the melodies to these terrific tunes on piano?
- Are you looking for a convenient way to reference the English translation of the fabulous lyrics?
- Do you long to see more of Courtney’s cheerful artwork?
- Do love quality Spanish resources for your children and students?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’ll be happy to hear that our Songbook will be published soon. We’ve been working hard to bring you another fantastic resource. Keep checking back to learn when our Songbook is ready for retail sale. We look forward to sharing with you!
I spend much of my time in Germany wishing the official language was Spanish so that I could communicate. Spanish was the only language offered at my high school, and I had studied it for 3 years before embarking on a journey to Germany. At age 16, I was awarded the Congress-Bundestag Exchange scholarship. No German skills were required for the scholarship. Thanks to a volunteer tutor, I arrived in Germany knowing several key nouns and verbs and a smattering of basic adjectives. I was very confused and continually curious.
Living in a foreign culture and being immersed in a language is frequently cited as the best way to learn a language. In fact, it is the best way to acquire a language and over time (see language acquisition versus language learning
). I did indeed acquire the German language in just three months. Upon my arrival in Germany, I was enrolled at the local Gymnasium (that is the term for the college bound school track.) I gradually discerned that the local school system had never developed rules or expectations for exchange students. The secretaries allowed me to switch classes at my whim. I eventually exploited this loophole to my linguistic advantage. I enrolled in a 7th grade German class, where my classmates were amazed at my ability to parse sentences. I took a 13th grade English class to give myself a break from the poor teaching and monotony of the 10th grade grammar and vocabulary-based English course. I skipped all my math exams as I had no idea what the instructor was covering; it turned out they were in the thick of calculus studies. I loved Chemistry, my favorite subject in the states and the introductory class was essentially a review for me. The organic Chemistry instructor denied me entry fearing I’d already missed too much by the time I learned the course existed. I dropped physics after sitting through several sessions in which I couldn’t even determine the general theme of the class.
School took up a great deal of my day, but it was only a good language acquisition opportunity for me after I rearranged my schedule to give my brain a chance to acquire the language with familiar topics. I recall fondly the topics I learned in my Chemistry class and I was in fact able to learn new skills due to my comfort and ability to understand a good deal of the content. When you are presenting lessons to students, be certain that you present material in a way that allows students to make sense of a good deal of the content. Only with comprehension will language acquisition occur.
Looking back, I am amazed at my ability to acquire so much, so quickly. Within three months of my arrival, I was conversing on a wide variety of topics. I could have taken advantage of so many more opportunities if I’d been wiser. I wish I’d visited the local library each afternoon to read children’s books. I wish I’d volunteered in a first grade classroom to see what they were learning and listen to story time. I am grateful I wasn’t shy to enroll in classes for which I was too old or too knowledgeable. German is not an easy language, but with enough exposure, you too can acquire everything you need to enjoy fascinating conversations with native speakers.
Many people wonder about the distinction between language acquisition and language learning. Here’s a simplified explanation:
When you pick-up new words in a language, you are experiencing language acquisition. This is the subconscious process by which one gains skills and competence in a language. Babies acquire their first language; they do not learn the language. Fortunately, this ability is not limited to babies. In fact you can acquire a language at any age given proper exposure and an ability to relax and enjoy the process.
When you study grammar rules and vocabulary you are learning a language. The learning process can be used to supplement language acquisition. Personally, I prefer mixing the acquisition process with learning. I loved the ability to unlock entire realms of conversation by studying the past tenses in Spanish. I simply didn’t enjoy enough exposure to the language to naturally acquire the past tenses at the speed I wished to master the skills. However, I was perfectly capable of studying a textbook and then practicing and listening carefully to examples from native speakers. There are many advantages to being an adult when it comes to language learning!