What to do when your local school does not offer Spanish
If you are sure there are no other schools in your vicinity with a program in Spanish, it is always a good idea to consider the after school programs offered by the School of Languages or by an Ethnic School such as Gabriela Mistral or Don Quixote School.
The Open Access College also provides Spanish tuition to individual students and assists schools that may require a whole program. Ask your school to contact them or call them directly to check availability of programs for your son or daughter.
If you would rather have a Spanish program in your local school, and you are committed to a process that will require some time and effort, follow these steps:
- Let them know you are interested. Write to the Principal and the School Council and demand a high-quality language education for your kid(s) and all the other children in the school. Explain its many benefits (you can copy our own reasons below): most educators are committed to delivering programs with your children’s interests at heart and they will listen to you. Tell your child’s teacher too, as he/she may be aware of the situation and know of suitable language teachers in the area who may be able to help.
- Let us know by sending us a brief email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll support your petition by contacting the school and helping them find teachers who are ready to establish or develop the language program.
Reasons to establish a sound program of language along all school years
- While it is true that most students won’t necessarily become completely fluent in a second language by the time they finish their schooling, fluency is not the only goal, nor the main benefit of learning a second language at school. Learning a language is an essential component of anyone’s education, and its value resides in the learning itself, rather than being the means to an end.
- Most kids don’t turn out to become professional sport players, yet we all value exercise and sports as part of their education; not all children will become bankers or economists, yet we all understand the importance of numeracy, mathematics and accountancy in the curriculum; most kids won’t become published authors, yet the importance of literacy and sound English skills is obvious if we want our children to succeed professionally and thrive as free, independently thinking citizens.
- The value of a language education is not measured by the (often limited) strategic or economic interest to Australia of the countries that speak it. The main beneficiary of a language education is the student him/herself. Some of the proven advantages for learners of a second language include:
- Improved functionality of the brain.
- Enhanced multitasking skills.
- Delayed decline of cognitive abilities associated with ageing.
- Improved memory and perception.
- Better decision skills.
- More effective communication skills in English.
- Languages come in families. Learning a language, even if at a basic level, facilitates the learning of other languages that students may be required to pick up during their professional life, specially if those languages belong to the same group of the language learned at school.
- A second language help students to connect with the rest of the world. Bilinguals have the chance of communicating with a wider range of people in their personal and professional lives. People become more receptive when they are addressed in their own language.
- A second language helps students advance their careers. Languages are among the top eight skills required of all occupations, regardless of sector or skill level, and the demand for bilingual professionals is rising exponentially. That applies to the national market as well.
- Language facilitates connections with other cultures. Learning a language fosters the appreciation for the traditions, history, religions and art of other peoples. In a globalised world, languages assist in educating citizens in collaborating with, not fearing, others.
- A different language widens horizons. Students of other languages can travel beyond the tourist English bubble and find opportunities to work in another country that are inaccessible to those who only speak English.
Reasons to introduce a program of Spanish
- Spanish and English share a common alphabet. Both languages also feature many words used in scientific and professional contexts that are similar in spelling and use, like educación, tecnología, democracia, Spanish is a language that is highly compatible with bilingual and cross-curricular programs.
- The many connections between Spanish and English allow the learning of Spanish to reinforce English literacy. Spanish is also one of the current international languages for business, defence, medicine, nature conservation, global transportation, IT, and research, which makes it most suitable for CILT programs at secondary schools.
- The Hispanic is a major world group of cultures where the value of family is paramount. Together, they offer a wide range of community, arts and traditional celebrations that are greatly child-centred and family-inclusive, including Mexico’s Día de los Muertos, Andean carnavales, and Día de Reyes.
- Spanish is an Australian community language. As such, it provides an opportunity to tap on a vast array of community groups in South Australia, such as Salvadorians, Venezuelans, Chileans and Colombians. Chances are some of the children from these community members are already attending your school, affording opportunities for the whole school to discover and enjoy their food, music and traditions.
- The Spanish-speaking communities are a cultural powerhouse: Songs in Spanish regularly top the music charts, featuring styles that range from flamenco to reggaeton, salsa and tango; restaurants offering Hispanic food are ever more present in South Australia, offering anything from tacos and ceviche to paella and jamón; the list of Nobel Prize in Literature awarded to authors writing in Spanish includes no less than 10 such as Llosa, Márquez, and Mistral. And world class sports competitions often feature Hispanic figures, teams and clubs.
- Spanish is a major international language: It is the first Western language by number of native speakers (close to 500 million), and the third most spoken language globally. In the USA, Spanish is no longer considered a foreign language (50 million speakers). It is also the ninth most spoken language in Australia.
- Australia´s trade with Spanish-speaking countries is ever expanding, and Spanish is one of the three most demanded foreign languages worldwide. Spanish is the language for travel and hospitality, with over 81 million yearly visitors for Spain and an ever-expanding number of airlines connecting Latin America with the rest of the world.
- Both Adelaide and Flinders universities offer Spanish language to continuing students of language who want to pursue Spanish beyond school. At university your students will benefit from greater exchange program opportunities with university partners in Spanish-speaking countries, the USA and Canada.
- Spanish enjoys proper academic standards, and it is a language that enjoys great Institutional and Educational support: teachers of Spanish can access the worldwide resources offered by the likes of the Instituto Cervantes, TodoELE, Pearson, , and schools offering Spanish in Australia can contact the Education Office of the Spanish Embassy in Australia for assistance to their programs.
- The number of schools from all sectors committing to high-quality programs of Spanish in South Australia is growing and include Pembroke, Waikerie, Glenunga, Adelaide HS, Aberfoyle Park, and many more.
- And, most importantly: Spanish is easy to learn and fun! Just ask your students!