Throughout my educational career there have been many educational experiences that intrigued and engaged me in class. Although no one has every given me an iPod to use for educational purposes, there is one event that changed my perspective on how I can learn.
During my junior year of high school I decided to take our AP Spanish class. It was challenging but I liked the idea of learning a second language and had already completed all the lower level Spanish classes offered at my school. Having already taken some AP classes, I kind of expected more or less the same thing, that being constant practice for the holy mother of all tests, the AP test. But when I went to class my teacher surprised me. On the very first day he broke the mold by asking us to call him by his first name, Kai. Throughout the course he implanted innovative ways to create what I can only describe as a “family”.
After the winter break he hit us with the most innovative learning experience I have ever had. The assignment was to spend 10 hours volunteering in an environment where native Spanish speakers would surround you. The task seemed daunting at first, especially since this had to be 100% individual, there would be no friend to help you out. I decided to pursue an interest of mine through this project, and volunteer for our local radio station. Every week the organization “El Centro de Muchos Colores” put on an all Spanish radio hour. By volunteering there I got to take my in class learning to an environment that was intriguing. In chapter 3, the author says “students aren’t failing because school is too hard, but because it doesn’t interest them”. My teacher effectively gave us an assignment that could be manipulated to anything of your own interest. I was interested in radio, so I joined a Spanish radio program. Whatever a students interest is, they could tailor a Spanish assignment to interest them in other ways.
This assignment took what I was learning in a classroom setting into a real world setting. All the mundane exercises from the classroom suddenly became a necessity in order to perform the usually subconscious task of communication. By pulling my learning outside the classroom Kai helped me revolutionize my own personal relationship with Spanish.