Conversational Spanish

High School Spanish*

Background Information

WORLD LANGUAGES: As Christ-followers, we are called to love our neighbors (Matthew 22:37–40). In the United States, Spanish is the second most spoken language; we have neighbors in our communities whose “heart language” is Spanish, and who come from a different cultural background. What better reason to learn another language than to show love to our neighbors! 

Culture. As we study the language and culture of the Spanish-speaking world, we will look at their products and practices through the lens of Scripture. We will examine products such as food and artwork; we will evaluate and seek to understand celebrations and daily activities. In addition, we will begin to observe what components of our own lives are “cultural,” and how we might let go of some of our preferred products and practices in order to better love our neighbor (Romans 14:1–4).

Language. Stephen Krashen, a recognized language researcher in the United States, has developed a well-supported theory that language is acquired through meaningful interactions, not through grammatical study and tedious drill. As a result of this research, many language practitioners have developed a method of teaching called comprehensible input (CI) and teaching proficiency through reading and storytelling (TPRS); this is how Spanish at GRACE will be taught! Language is communicative, and early language learning requires a lot of facilitation by those (i.e., teachers) who can modify the language to make it comprehensible to the learner.

Class time and homework. The Spanish teacher(s) will spend class time providing “comprehensible input” (CI)—reading and listening opportunities that students can comprehend. Each unit will give students a chance to co-create stories, read about culture, and listen to songs and teacher-narrated videos. Students will then use the structures they have been learning to write and speak their own ideas. Grammar is explained after students have had lots of opportunities to already see it in context. Some of these independent activities will be assigned as homework.

High school credit. A Michigan high school credit is typically 120 hours of study. Because best practices in teaching beginning levels of another language require significant modification for comprehension and acquisition, GRACE’s language teachers will be able to provide two hours of meaningful instruction and practice each week in Spanish, one hour in person and one hour to be completed at home. This is equal to 60 hours per year through the homeschool co-op. For students needing high school credit, it is the parents’ responsibility to provide the additional time required to equate to a full year of high school Spanish. At the beginning of the semester, we will provide various suggestions for websites, methods and opportunities that can help families do that. These activities will not be calculated into the students’ grades that we assign, but it will be evident through our assessments how much students are doing outside of class.

Conversational Spanish (Middle School Spanish 1A and 1B) will cover the same material as Spanish 1 over two years, so will be equivalent to a Spanish 1 high school credit.

Spanish 1 and 2: To fulfill the equivalent of a Michigan high school Spanish credit, students should plan to spend an additional 1–2 hours of additional time each week (approximately 40–60 hours total) engaging in other meaningful Spanish learning activities.

Colleges and universities. Many colleges and universities have a world language entrance requirement of two years of the same language. Taking Spanish 1 (or 1A + 1B) and Spanish 2 could potentially meet these requirements (see above for notes about high school credit). Students who complete four years or more of high school language study may receive college credit through AP/CLEP tests or university assessments. Please contact a GRACE instructor or your intended university for more information.