¿Cómo se dice…?

Alzar School | 01.03.13

Being down in Chile has allowed us to connect curriculum to life. In Spanish class, all students are working to complete a series of conversational challenges with locals. These tasks range from asking the local restaurant owner’s son what his favorite sport is, to asking directions to the nearest hospital, to discussing political views with an older Chilean present during the Allende-Pinochet era. The target of these challenges is to teach students travel skills that will aid them in Spanish speaking countries, as well as to push them to burst the “gringo bubble” and engage in the community around them.

This last week, students in Spanish 1 and 2 were learning about locational prepositions and direction verbs. Through workbook practice, iPad apps, and individual creations of treasure maps and directions for partners, students honed their Spanish navigational skills. Once they had successfully located the “hidden treasure” (tesoro escondido)that their partner had stashed in town, they were ready for the ultimate test.

At 8am in sleepy Choshuenco Chile, the streets aren’t bustling with people. Thus, our trajectory of finding a local Chilean to speak to was somewhat of a scavenger hunt in itself. Then we saw him. An older man stood alone on the corner (la esquina) taking in the sunrise over misty Lago Panguipulli.

I approached with a smile (una sonrisa), two nervous introductory Spanish students in tow. I nudged Harmony forward, giving the “just like we practiced” nod. She cleared her throat.

“Hola. Buenos días. Me llamo Roxy y tengo una pregunta para mi clase de español.”

He smiled, looking like he was mentally preparing for anything.

Brady took his turn: “¿Puede usted darnos direcciones al consultorio?” (Can you give us directions to the clinic?)

“Sipo,” the man replied. “Vas dos cuadras en esta calle. Doblas a la izquierda a la esquina. Después de dos cuadras más, lo encuentras en frente de la casa gris.”

We thanked him for his time and continued back to class. On the way back both students were smiling – “He used all the words we learned!” Harmony whispered.

A triumphant challenge.

Ellie Moore

English and Spanish Teacher