Remember the old days before classroom technology was a thing?
When I first started teaching Spanish, all I had was a textbook, a handful of transparencies and a few raggedy Spanish-English dictionaries.
Thankfully, the professional development I had at this point in my career enabled me to make the most of my resources.
And later, once I had a few years of teaching under my belt, continuing education taught me how to focus my lesson planning as my own skill set grew. This way, I could better meet the needs of my students and adapt to the rapidly changing norms of education. As well, the camaraderie of such experiences was invaluable; I loved meeting and talking with other Spanish educators who were also learning while teaching through continuing education training courses.
Now, it is clear that times have changed. Many Spanish classes are much more dynamic and cutting-edge than what I remember from my early years in the classroom. While teachers and students integrate technology and other exciting pedagogical approaches into teaching and learning languages, those old-school approaches of my early years in the classroom appear to be fading into the sunset. And thank goodness for that!
New and well-researched modes of teaching that focus on student competence and comprehension encourage them to experience and partake in livelier and more confident communication in Spanish. And that’s the whole goal of teaching Spanish, isn’t it?
So clearly, seasoned Spanish teachers looking to add to their lesson-planning repertoires can benefit hugely from additional teacher training. Here’s some more information for you as you consider what’s best for you and your students. Aspiring teachers can also benefit from learning more about their own educational opportunities as continuing education is part and parcel of any teacher’s career.
How Spanish Educators Can Benefit from Additional Spanish Teacher Training
Benefits for non-native Spanish-speaking teachers
Non-native speakers who teach Spanish can benefit significantly from additional teacher training, which means that their students will also benefit greatly. For example, non-native speakers of Spanish might not have perfect pronunciation, so extra training, especially in the form of an immersion course, can help. This way, students will hear and absorb more accurate sounds when their non-native Spanish teacher talks with them, leading to more accurate language of their own production.
Benefits for native Spanish-speaking teachers
Continuing education has a lot to offer native Spanish teachers as well. Educational researchers have discovered that in many cases, native Spanish teachers are less likely to correct student grammar mistakes. Extra training in this area can bring greater awareness to native teachers so that they listen for errors that may have previously washed over them, and this way, students will be less likely to develop bad habits or grow confused from inconsistent feedback.
The importance of continuing education
In general, all Spanish teachers, no matter the origin of their Spanish language abilities, can get a lot out of continuing education. This is exactly why almost every state in the United States requires some sort of professional development of all teachers who have a teaching license. In order to keep their licenses current, teachers must earn a certain number of continuing education credits. If this element to additional Spanish teacher training is of particular importance to you, make sure that the programs you consider are accredited and able to offer official CEUs that can be easily documented.
What’s more, you can maximize your teaching skills by using what you’ve learned in conjunction with FluentU.
Providing one of the most engaging ways to teach the Spanish language, FluentU uses real-world material to expose students to authentic Spanish and Latin American culture alongside their language exercises. Students gain a deeper understanding of the Spanish language by studying with clips from popular movies and TV shows, listening to pop songs, watching documentaries and news segments in Spanish. The end result is a fully immersive language-learning experience that teaches your class to communicate like native Spanish speakers.
Now that we’ve covered that, let’s look at how to find awesome teacher training courses to sharpen your skills.
The Best Spanish Teacher Training for You
What to consider when choosing a teacher training
Lots of teacher training opportunities await you, so make a list of your needs and priorities before you start hunting for the right program. Considerations like the availability of CEUs, the time away from your other obligations, and the expense are all important. Talk with your department or administration to find out if professional development funds are available to you that can be applied to your training of choice. As well, perform a self-inventory of your teaching skills to determine what you need most, pedagogically speaking, from additional teacher training.
Where to study and with whom?
Many Spanish-speaking countries host academies and businesses that offer Spanish teacher training, so if going abroad during your summer break is a possibility for you, gloriously total Spanish language immersion awaits. Online courses are also plenty, and these training programs often offer maximum flexibility when it comes to when and where.
How to apply your experiences to your work with students
Imagine you’ve attended a fabulous workshop on interactive notebooks for Spanish teachers. You engaged with other trainees, you created a notebook and filled it with valuable information, and you left feeling energized and inspired. Why not recreate the workshop with your own students? Applying your educational experiences to your classes is easier than you might think. A great workshop leader models skills and attributes any teacher can emulate in his or her own environment. As well, most teacher trainings focus specifically on ways you can apply what you’re learning to your classroom.
Now that you’re familiarized with the potential of teacher training courses, check out this small selection of possibilities and see if any of them are a good match for you. Two programs offer online options for non-travelers, while the others provide adventurers a chance to go abroad and learn more Spanish in situ.
5 Fantastic Spanish Teacher Training Courses for Spanish Educators
Are you a non-native Spanish speaking teacher with two weeks this summer to devote to your continuing education in sunny, beautiful Spain? Take advantage of Don Quijote’s Spanish Teachers’ Training Lab, and enjoy 20 hours of small class sizes in a cosmopolitan city like Málaga or Madrid, focusing on Spanish teaching methodology. This program is designed for both practicing teachers who want to improve their skills and aspiring teachers who are looking to improve their teaching qualifications. Topics like history and politics all come into play during the course, while participants practice their Spanish and learn more about Spanish culture.
Here’s an option just for elementary and middle school teachers who would like to learn Spanish as a way to better connect with their Spanish-seeking students: go south to Argentina, Peru or Chile and experience full immersion with Ecela Spanish. This unique program seeks to equip teachers with language skills that enable them to work confidently with Spanish heritage learners and their parents.
This summertime Spanish immersion program in Cuernevaca, Mexico can be customized for teachers and other professionals who desire graduate-level credit and CEUs. New non-native Spanish speaking teachers can attend courses that build vocabulary while seasoned teachers can learn how to incorporate Mexican culture more intensively in their lesson plans. As well, teachers who teach other modern foreign languages can learn how to apply their skills to teaching Spanish. To sweeten the deal even further, scholarships to Cemanahuac Spanish School are available through the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language or ACTFL.
Based in Salamanca, Spain, the home of the illustrious Universidad de Salamanca, the third oldest university still in operation in the world, Tía Tula offers both in-school and online courses for both practicing teachers and new teachers of Spanish as a foreign language (ELE). Because Tía Tula is accredited by the Instituto Cervantes, academic certificates awarded make mention of the ECTS credits teachers will earn; ECTS credits are a European designation that is important for teachers who live and work outside of Spain, so check with your school administrators to make sure they count towards your CEUs.
The award-winning school of Spanish Unamuno offers online courses to teachers who are both native speakers of Spanish and non-native speakers, whether they teach currently or if they are looking to teach in the future. The program recommends between four and five weeks to complete the 60 hours of coursework, and start dates are extremely flexible as the tutors will work directly with the students to set up a schedule.
No matter how far you go to locate additional Spanish teacher training, whether you travel abroad or study from the comfort of your own space, your efforts will be rewarded. Good luck and enjoy!
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