Classroom Experiences Deserving of the Bright and Eager Students Who Learn Within Them
As the MMLA summer program is a challenging educational environment in which students are expected to learn massive quantities of information, a fair amount time is naturally spent in the classroom. However, teachers try to create engaging classroom experiences deserving of the bright and eager students who learn within them. While the immersion environment ensures that learning happens wherever you go, different skills develop in different places. You’ll become great at conversing in your language simply through speaking with your peers and instructors over the course of the month, while most concrete grammar rules and vocabulary words are still taught in the classroom.
Writing and grammar are important focuses of the classroom experience. For me, speaking Spanish was always easier than writing, and I was forced outside my comfort zone. Classes are small and broken down by skill and experience level, so teachers can provide individual attention and appropriate lessons. One of the reasons I chose to MMLA was to jump up to the Honors/AP Spanish track from the regular track when I returned to school, something rarely done as it normally requires an entire summer of classes. When I returned home, I passed the test to switch tracks easily and surprised my school’s head Spanish teacher with my knowledge of the subjunctive: a tense I didn’t know existed when I arrived at MMLA.
The instructors at MMLA do a great job of blurring the lines between class and the “real world.” Nowhere is this more apparent than in the presentations you and your peers will put on for the rest of your academy on a regular basis. These creative presentations, lessons, and skits you will perform incorporate what you learn in class in a fun, creative medium. By presenting in front of dozens of people, your formal language skills as well as your public speaking skills, valuable in any language, are challenged as well. In addition, I enjoyed the variety of presentations I had the opportunity to participate in. They ranged from traditional short lectures on specific vocabulary or grammar my class was working on to a fashion show narrated in Spanish.
While more time in a classroom is hardly something most students look forward to at the beginning of summer, my classmates and I found the classroom experience at MMLA to be rewarding and engaging, and we thought it meshed well with the rest of the activities we participated in. While we may have been more excited about the numerous fun activities and field trips we took, the class experience provided the core benefits to our language skills that convinced us to attend MMLA in the first place.
Maddox Kay is a high school junior from Los Angeles, California, who enjoys music, sports, especially basketball, and learning Spanish. In 2013, he attended the Spanish Academy at Pomona College, and this year will travel abroad to Comillas, Spain, for the new Spanish Academy abroad.