Spanish in rural Ohio

I have taken up going to area high schools. Recently, I went to one of my students’ high schools, where we both gave brief presentations. Two things struck me. The first, that the student was using the same methods I use in class, including the ways I gesture, the ways I repeat things and my enthusiasm. Truly bizarre. Almost as odd as watching a videotape of myself teach. The second, was that the teacher of this class seemed to never have spoken to her students about latino people in the US and focussed her interests exclusively on Spain. My student talked about the numbers of Spanish-speaking people in the US and the ways that speaking Spanish could help students get a job, and this seemed like completely new information for them. I think this is a great loss – not because studying Spain’s literature and culture is a problem – but because it means that so many people are cut off from the richness of their own country. And although tacos, chilaquiles and t-shirts are a good gateway, they are really only the beginning.

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