Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tu hablas espanol?

So, I'm taking a Spanish for Educators course. Boy,do I wish I had paid more attention Senior year in H.S. Or even Freshman year in College. Although many words and grammar facts are coming back, I can't help but think of the head start I relinquished by not studying more.

This class has also made me think about the way Spanish speakers are often treated in America. Ever hear the refrain, "You're here now, so speak English"? As if by magic a year's worth of study will transform someone into a fluent speaker. If only it were that easy.

Its ironic, because although we want our children to acquire an additional language, we all know its profitable; others are often marginalized for not speaking our native-tongue. As if learning to read, write, and speak English were the simplest thing in the world.

Watching the social workers, teachers, and now a principal struggle to remember the Spanish alphabet made a light go off in my head. If it is this difficult to learn a language that isn't proficiently spoken in your home, and you already hold a B.A, M.A, or P.h. D; how must it be for children from other countries who are placed in a foreign school and sometimes hostile environment?

As simple as uno, dos, tres? Not by a long shot.