Lyme-Old Lyme- The Level 4 Spanish classes at LOLHS incorporate the study of culture as part of their language learning. To begin the year, each student chose a Latino and/or Hispanic country on which to focus throughout the year. As the class engaged in units about topics such as the environment, adolescence, and family, students researched the topics in the context of their focus country and culture. For example, during the study on the environment, students researched issues related to natural resources, endangered animals, and the effects of technology and modernization on indigenous communities. Students presented their findings to the class. This allowed them the opportunity to explore the topics in multiple cultural contexts. An important aspect of the studies is for students to compare and contrast cultures with their own. They learn to celebrate their similarities and learn from their differences. The goal of these experiences is to help students develop an understanding of perspectives different their own and to develop a sense of respect for other cultures.
The class had a cultural celebration in March. Each student cooked an authentic dish with a recipe from the country that he/she had been studying. The teacher also made a "tortilla Espanola" (Spanish omelette) to share. Foods were displayed and then students had a chance to taste them. This cultural exposure helped students experience a wonderful variety of flavors and textures without judging foods by the way they looked.
Through the study of the curriculum, movies, guest speakers, and experiences such as this one, students realize how important it is to understand and appreciate the diversity around us.
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