Spanish department incorporates more culture into curriculum


Mrudula Sriram

Beginning this year, the Spanish department has been working on incorporating more elements of Spanish culture into the curriculum of all Spanish classes.  Spanish teacher Ms. Beth East in particular has been working toward this goal through salsa dancing lessons, field trips, cultural celebrations and special presentations designed to focus specifically on culture.

“Language is not just about the vocab and grammar,” Ms. East said. “ In order to fully grasp a  language, students need to understand the history and culture behind it.”

By providing a greater exposure to the Hispanic way of life, Spanish teachers throughout RHS have observed that students themselves show a deeper interest in the language.

“I do find that learning about the culture inspires many students who may not like the grammar and vocabulary part, but instantly light up when they hear we’re doing culture,” Ms. East said. “ It inspires them to continue on with their Spanish career and possibly travel to those places in the future.”

In addition to expanding students’ understanding of Spanish culture, Ms. East hopes incorporating culture into curriculum will help foreign exchange students feel more comfortable.

“When people come here as a foreign student, they feel like they have to adapt to the surrounding culture and that nobody understands theirs,” Ms. East said. “ Once they see something going on in the school that represents their culture, it gives them a sense of belonging, and the idea that people actually have an interest in who they are and where they came from.”