Learning Spanish – Day 1

7 July 2014

Today is my first day of my Spanish language course at Malaca Instituto in Màlaga, Spain.

These are some photos of the school and my room:

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We were briefed to be at the terrace at 8.30 AM but we had to wait maybe until around 9 AM for the administrators to come up and called out our names and assigned us with the teacher and class.

There were about 140 students who came this morning. Most students are here for their two weeks summer course. The weather is humid and hot.

I had to take a test. I don’t know much about Spanish except some words of greetings such as “hola”, “que tàl?” (I learned this from one of the staff who works at the Blue hotel at the Finger Wharf), “me llamo Shinta” and “gracias”. I finished the test earlier than the others because I didn’t know anything. I answered all the questions. When I finished, the teacher asked me whether I learned Spanish before and I told her no . She said I can do the test quite well (at least I assumed that what she said, because she spoke in Spanish). Maybe I’m used to test formats and I just follow the pattern given in the example.

Somehow I don’t see any point of a total beginner to be given an entry test. It’s a waste of time. Unless it is an aptitude test.

After the test, we had to hang around at the terrace again for the tour of the school and the tour of the city.

I found this very useful because now I know that the Club Hispanico (this is an on campus student accommodation where I am at) and the school is connected, I know how to get to the city centre and get a feel of the place.

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At around 12 noon we were back at the school. I thought it was lunch time so I went to the canteen and bought lunch. Apparently lunch is not until 2.30!! So when I was in the middle of my meal, they called out my name and assigned me with my classroom and the teacher. My teacher’s name is Mieke. There were 8 students in my class. I think I wasn’t very lucky because we got assigned in a smallest room in the building.

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We were given a text book and work began working on it.

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The classes are devided in to 50 minutes sessions with 10 minutes breaks.

Today we only had 2 sessions in the afternoon due to the excursion.

For the two sessions, I learnt:
– pronunciation of Spanish alphabet
– articles el,la,un & una
– greetings:
> ¡Hola!
> buenos Dias, buenas tardes, buenas noches.
> ¿Cómo te llamas?
> Me Ilamo Shinta
– some vocabulary

I felt a bit dopey in class. Maybe because I’m still jet lagged from my trip.

Notes for my teaching reference:
– always make students speak more than you do (this will engage them more and makes them less dopey & bored)
– it is important to always speak in the target language. Even though it is hard for the students to understand at first but at least they will get the feel of the language. And yes, the students can guess
– don’t forget to teach important classroom’s expressions such as:
> can you speak slowly?
> how do you say …..?
> how to write….?
> can you please repeat that again?

The sessions today was good but if I can do it better, I think it’ll be better if:
1. Teacher can introduce about herself a bit so we know her background instead of only her name.
2. Instead of just saying “como te llamas?”, teacher can incorporate the greetings so students can speak longer. Make this activity in pairs to save up some time.
3. Practice more about the greetings by calling out time of the day and students can greet their peers accordingly.

Some notes from today:
– the students are from various countries so when they meet up they speak English or their own language. That’s why I made a point to not hang outs with the students so much until I can speak more Spanish with them. Otherwise, I can as well be in my comfort zone in Australia with my loving husband and speak English again after class.
– I make sure I interact with the locals and talking to them. Today:
> I stopped a lady to ask a direction to the gym with my broken Spanish and body language.
> I asked a Muslim lady where is the mosque and how to get there (bus number 32 from school)
> Chatted with a supermarket check out girl, her name is Elena. I did asked her to spelled her name so I can practice the language points that I learned today.
> introduced my self to the room
cleaners.

I did my laundry today. The club Hispanico has a common laundry area with a dryer. It costs €2 to run the washing machine and €2 to run the dryer. I bought the detergent for ¢70 at the reception.

After that, I went back to my room, did my homework, talked to the Husband, study and fell asleep. I missed the Salsa dance class today.

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