Inside the Ross School Spanish
The Spanish elective has always been an interest of students and parents at Ross School. The Ross School staff thinks that it is, “a critical need for our kids to take a world language and to experience a level of cultural diversity that is ubiquitous in the Bay Area and beyond. Moreover, this is a necessity to be competitive in high school, and our students should have every advantage and opportunity for their future education and career,” says Mr. Rice. However, the program hasn’t been very successful due to changing the staff, class size, and other factors. The solution for this year’s students that were interested in Spanish is an online course (a second language is required for all high school freshmen). Over the summer, fourteen 6th graders and possibly a few 8th graders were registered for Spanish as their fall elective. The day before school started, the students who were registered for Spanish received the news that it would be an online course, rather than being taught by a real teacher!
After receiving this news, many students opted not to take the online course. Only nine students remain in the class. I interviewed the nine remaining students and asked them how they like the online website and what they are learning. According to Savannah H., “It is a good website and it teaches important things. You also have a teacher online that gives you tips.” Another student said, “I like it because it is easy and you have Google translate.”
Other Spanish students don’t feel the same way about the solution and would prefer a real teacher. Angus H. claims, “The website is doing a good job at not making it boring, but it would be better if we had a real teacher.” McCartney M. mentions, “I like the website but it is not as good as a real person teaching because there is no interaction between people using the language we are learning.” Mr. Rice said, “We will be building a profile for a middle school Spanish teacher and will look to hire that teacher in the spring of 2019 for an August 2019 start date.” These students will not be disappointed next year when they have teacher to interact with using the language. Many of the students that are taking Spanish are reevaluating staying in the elective next year. Hanah Rose S. says, “No, I don’t think I am taking Spanish next year because I’m not learning anything right now.” McCartney M. is also reevaluating and says, “ I am debating staying in Spanish because it is extremely hard to learn from a computer.”
The Ross faculty is committed to continue the course for next year with a real and productive teacher.