Besides some filmic `spanishing´ references, the only one consistent exposure to Spanish I had before starting the SKE course in 2017 was a tv show I used to watch as a child in 1976 called ‘Hablamos Español’. Definitely not appropriate for a young audience, it would have played a basic role in my story as a languages’ learner. First of all, because I shared the joy of watching it with my mother, so that for some emotional transitive property Spanish became a ‘mother-ish language’. Secondly, as I was seemingly very receptive and productive while watching it, because it helped to decide for me that I would have studied languages as a grown up.
Getting back to Spanish some 40 years later brought back that ‘motherish joy’ to the surface. And some new enjoyment was to be found through independent study by means of new technological tools. First and foremost, during the tutoring sessions available on Rosetta Stone, when some of the concepts of MFL teaching came into focus. Picture prompts, storytelling, and questions about everyday habits or events were used as stimuli for conversation, bearing new evidence that autobiographical as well as narrative, and practical, or ‘life oriented’ activities, are effective motivational levers in language learning.
Also, as the materials were organised so that vocabulary aggregated around topics, I soon remembered the practice of collecting words into meaning-related buckets while proceeding through the units. As a very similar logic rules the themes-related modules built up for the course books published by the different examinations boards for putting into action the GCSE specifications, I produced a tailor made words’ bank. Another strategy I developed for memorising words was the recourse to etymology, a habit I probably assimilated studying during the days when the grammar-translation method was still predominant.
At some point of the online part of the course I experienced a slow down, so I questioned about how I could keep enthusiasm on a reasonably constant level. Reading about effective language learning, I realised that motivation and progress need to be fed. In order to do so, revision ownership is essential. As soon as I began to reach the tutoring sessions being fully aware of what I was about to learn, they became much more effective. Something similar occurred during the part of the course at uni when invited to focus on some success criteria before writing on the main topics.
Those writings, together with a journal of activities, some related notes on the Spanish SKE course’s Scheme of Work, and the above outline of some key moments in the process of learning Spanish — which is valid for the learning of any other language, as a self-taught learner, are the basics of my Subject Knowledge Digital Scrapbook. Natural continuation of the hosting blog, it will be developed further as I will produce and collect resources for lesson planning in the course of the PGCE placements.