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Primary school linguists get a crash course in Spanish

Published: July 21, 2017

Cornwall College St Austell 16-18

An A-level student has said ‘hola’ to a group of primary school children, giving them an engaging and fun insight into learning Spanish.

Jess Symons from Fowey, who is currently studying Spanish A-level at Cornwal College St Austell, visited the year 4 class at Pondhu Primary School to deliver a workshop in basic Spanish. Alongside her lecturer Leah Kendall, Jess delivered a session that involved the group of 8-9 year olds, learning vocabulary and spoken expressions through a range of interactive games and tasks. Jess said: “The students had to draw their favourite animal and then we learn different Spanish words to describe the animals as a group. The students were really engaged in the tasks and I was pleased with how the day went, it was a lot of fun.”

Assistant Head Teacher at Pondhu Primary School Nathan Cooper said that the school “was excited to welcome Cornwall College” for a morning of language lessons: He said: “The year 4 group really enjoyed their Spanish lesson and all said that they would love the chance to repeat the experience. We really appreciated the opportunity to forge some links with other educational providers in the area because not only was the lesson fantastic and engaging, the pupils also get the chance to see some possible pathways to continue their learning after Primary and Secondary School.”

Jess had a unusual source of inspiration when planning the teaching session, which informed the way that she taught the students. She said: “In my research for this class, I actually watched Dora the Explorer and it certainly ended up influencing the way that I spoke to the students. The TV programme is interesting because of the way that Dora combines English and Spanish in the things she says. Sometimes with just one word or even using a full sentence in Spanish but with enough context that it can be understood. It was a slightly odd source of inspiration but it worked perfectly.”

Modern Foreign Languages lecturer Leah Kendal couldn’t be prouder of Jess. Leah said: “I was gobsmacked by how great Jess was during the session. I knew that I could rely on her but she was so charismatic with the school children, she’s just a natural!”

Jess has now completed the first year of her Spanish A-level at Cornwall College St Austell and is looking forward to completing the course so she can progress onto her next challenge. Jess said: “I have thought about teaching as a career and I really like working with kids, its so rewarding and I think they have a lot to offer, so we’ll have to see. At the moment though, my plan once I have finished my A-level is to go on to do an open university course in Spanish and international relations, with the goal of getting a government job working in relations between the UK and Spanish-speaking countries.”

Jess’ passion for language stems from spending time in El Salvador in Central America. It was here that she witnessed a very different way of life than she was used to, with issues of inequality, gang warfare and poverty being a normal, everyday occurrence in the country. Her future goal is to make a difference by raising awareness of the plight of a large range of Spanish speaking countries and areas within Central and South America: “What I remember from spending time in El Salvador is the wonderful people with incredible culture and traditions, with a sense of family that I will never forget. Unfortunately, the problems that many of them face are unknown to most of us in the UK. After visiting, I felt inspired to get involved and that’s what I am working my way towards.”

For more information on the range of A-levels available at Cornwall College St Austell, please visit www.cornwall.ac.uk or call 0330 123 2523.

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