Primary school children learn in a different way than teenagers or adults do, therefore, lessons must be adapted to their age to accelerate their learning. After becoming a Spanish language teacher 25 years ago, I started teaching children of primary school age. Later, I qualified as a fitness instructor for children and then trained as a certified ZumbAtomic instructor. Combining my language knowledge as a Spanish teacher and as a native speaker with my Latin roots and dance training, I have put together a summary of three ways children best learn Spanish.
Passive learning. Children need to be present in situations where Spanish is spoken as their brain assimilates the vocabulary and above all the structure of sentences. This could either be in a classroom, listening to music, watching a Spanish TV programme or being read a book in Spanish. The aim is to be exposed & submerged in Spanish to increase their brains’ passive learning mode.
Learning through movement. The body memorizes experiences involving a complex brain circuit using the left brain (language and logic side) and the right brain (perceptions, intuition, emotions, and coordination side). The body absorbs the instruments that are played in Latin music - which is very different from the music children are used to listening to - they passively listen to the words spoken, they produce the language when asked by the teacher while dancing and the memory is stored in the hippocampus for a long period of time.
Learning actively. Language acquisition is complex, and it involves being active during class, decoding the language on their own, repeating the vocabulary several times, doing homework, getting parents involved in their learning and a consolidation of what has been learnt in class. With adult-led activities like arts and crafts or child-led activities such as interacting and games in a loving and safe environment, children will strive in learning Spanish.
During my Spanish family courses children listen, accurately receive the language, and are assessed effectively so they can master a specific topic. I work with the parents by giving them the structures/grammar points with the anticipation that the parents reinforce them at home and learn themselves. For Spanish to help teens in their exams click here.