I am very fortunate to present Elvira’s new post, which she was so kind to write and surprised me so pleasantly with! Thank you so much, Elle.
Elvira G. Deyamport, Ed.S. is a Language Teacher, currently teaching elementary Spanish, with a K-12 ESL endorsement – interested in Web 2.0 Tools and technology integration in teaching language.
Six years ago, I started my career as a second grade teacher. Three years later, I switched districts and positions and became an elementary Spanish teacher. The transition from regular education to foreign language instruction was a difficult one at first. During my first year as a language teacher, I was completing the final year of a federal grant for an FLES program. The activities I created and skills I assessed all centered on vocabulary acquisition. Most of my instruction was also done in English and reflected the English translation approach. I did not include opportunities for my students to practice using the language in context or use authentic materials.
At this point in my career I knew that I needed more professional development in teaching a foreign language. Therefore, I decided to pursue a doctoral degree in gifted education and as part of my electives, I decided to enroll in graduate language courses offered by the MATL program at The University of Southern Mississippi. These courses offered me a different perspective on language acquisition as well as proven methods I was able to use in my classroom.
Now I take a different approach to teaching a foreign language. Through authentic materials and thematic units, I am able to make learning more relevant for my students. Also, I make it a point to incorporate more speaking activities that allow my students to experience language in action. Reading and writing are also emphasized at all levels that I teach. Finally, I combine cultural components into each thematic unit so that students can experience the diversity among Spanish-speaking countries.
Since joining Twitter, I have come across innovative approaches to teaching. I follow a myriad of language teachers along with educational technology specialists who have opened my eyes to new learning experiences for my students. For years, I had been thinking of connecting with a classroom abroad, and with the help of my Twitter contacts, that dream became a reality this last school year. My students Skyped with schools in Argentina and Spain.