Online Resources to Develop Students' Listening Skills in Spanish
Jokes and News
With the quantity of authentic Spanish web sites found on the Internet today, it is as if the entire Internet is a possible lesson plan in waiting. By learning the key sites to visit you can open the gateway into authentic Spanish learning for you and your students. Teach and develop your students listening skills with the following web sites.
Jokes - There is no reason why you shouldn’t start the day off with a joke. This website is filled with hilarious jokes, some of which are not school appropriate so you should choose wisely. However, if you do choose intelligently you can incorporate laughter into your class with relatively no effort on your part. By giving the students a chance to listen to a joke every day, you give them credit for the strides in learning they have been making. Have the students help translate the joke. Make jokes an integral part of your classroom and, obviously, you will have more fun!
News - Your students might have a problem finding Guatemala on a map, let alone knowing how important Rigoberta Menchu is within Guatemalan culture. The only way that they are going to learn is if they stay connected with what is happening in Latin America today. Take the time to read and explain current events to them in Spanish so they can be brought up to date. Students that listen to current events from Latin America are more likely to travel abroad and grow curious about what it is like to live in a Spanish-speaking country.
Sports and Media
ESPN - ESPN is available in Spanish and focuses on Hispanic Athletes from around the world. Differentiate your assignments so that some of your students can choose to translate a golden-glove boxing story, whereas others can translate a report about a new team member drafted to a famous soccer team. By giving your students the options to choose between authentic content, they will impress you more and more.
Once they have translated the content have them read it aloud for the entire class to listen to. Have them read it slowly, sentence by sentence, as part of an ongoing project. Have the rest of the class write what they believe was said. There will be a great deal of guessing going on for this assignment, however, this guessing proves that the students are putting in the effort. When the text is translated you will notice that your students tend to be more invested in figuring out the right answer because they were forced to guess earlier.
YouTube - Believe it or not, YouTube has hundreds of thousands of videos in Spanish ranging from music videos to new casts, personal stories to movies. Take some time to check this site out again in Spanish and you might be surprised at how much content is relevant to your Spanish classroom.
Using the Internet Intelligently
Going online in the classroom by visitng the sites above is a great way to augment the curriculum. It is unlikely that you will only use sites like these to get the bulk of your message across. In order to teach Spanish and develop listening skills using the Internet, you have to know how to slip these sites into the previously existing curriculum. If you use them well, your students will love the authenticity of the content and your ability to make the most of the modern age. Feel free to comment and best of luck!