By Maddie Cox
Students should be exposed to a more global and inclusive curriculum, according to Martin Smith, world language supervisor of the Edison School District.
Smith presented his ideas for revised for- eign language teaching strategies on Feb. 3 in the business building. The presentation was hosted by the department of modern languag- es and the school of culture and society.
Smith presented “21st Century Curriculum and Instruction: A Model Unit,” a guide to be used by teachers that allows students to learn by communicat- ing. The target is to strengthen student learning through interpretation, engage- ment and immersion.
Smith focused on a program called Photo Story which uses images, text and music to captivate the students. This program allows students to upload their own pictures, write their own text and choose their own music to use while telling stories.
Another segment of the presentation was a unit called “Live Healthy.” Teachers using this will be encouraged to reflect on their own habits, developing materials that promote healthy and active lifestyles. While providing an understanding on healthy lifestyles, students will strengthen interpretive, interpersonal and presenta- tional skills. Smith stressed the importance of global awareness and having students understand healthy lifestyles in cultures other than their own.
Smith also provided activities and instructions that are meant to be simple for students and teachers to understand. He showed example PowerPoint presentations which displayed a balanced food chart in Spanish.
Smith also showed a YouTube clip in Spanish that expressed the importance of healthy living, good eating habits and daily exercise. Smith also presented a teaching strategy called “web quest” which essen- tially allows students to find informa- tion on a given site. He used the Wii Fit Spanish site as an example. This allows students to learn about Wii Fit, while answering questions in Spanish. All of these activities and assignments allow for students to familiarize themselves with the language, advanced technology and healthy living choices.
Smith emphasized the importance of involving the students and allowing the student to relate as much as possible. Along with these sites, this unit uses blogs for homework assignments and Jeopardy to quiz the students.
“At the end of the day, can you have a conversation? How well can you use it?” Smith said.
He expressed that it is not about vocab- ulary and grammatical usage because there are many other dimensions to a language. Smith wanted to promote this fresh, new approach of teaching when he realized the traditional way of teaching was not work- ing effectively.
When asked why this model of teaching needs to be executed, Smith said he saw students weren?t connecting and were not able to use the language.
“This made me aware of the way tech- nology is incorporated in modern day classrooms and is a great resource to teach- ers,” Katie Heitman, sophomore nursing and Spanish double major, said.