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Using drama to teach Spanish

Students from Corriher-Lipe Middle School made a trip to Catawba College’s campus to teach some first-year college students a little something about how learning happens. The lesson they taught, on stage and in Spanish, was in the form of a dramatic presentation of scenes from Cervantes’ “Don Quixote.”
The Corriher-Lipe students were members of Karen Hyner’s advanced Spanish class. They played to an audience of first-year college students, all West Teaching Scholars, who are enrolled in Dr. Bonita Bloodworth’s Introduction to Teaching class at Catawba. The Corriher-Lipe students included Zachary Bare, playing an eloquent Don Quixote; Kaitlin Kelly, as Aldonza and a windmill; Andrew Glenn as Sancho Panza, Don Quixote’s sidekick; Trudy Lawyer, as a narrator and a windmill; and David Horne, as a barber and a windmill.
With their teacher serving as translator for the audience, the students presented three scenes and taught the Catawba students that drama could be an effective tool for teaching students a foreign language.
Hyner, a 10-year Spanish teacher at Corriher-Lipe, explained the students’ dramatic endeavor like this: “I was trying to give the students a chance to develop drama skills, and I wanted to challenge them even further to reach out to the community. This visit and mini-production is an excellent opportunity to reach out to Catawba students and to also inspire them through using both our dramatic and foreign language skills. My students are also inspired by being on a college campus. We like to go the distance with foreign language as best as we can.”
Corriher-Lipe Principal Dr. Beverly Pugh, who attended the performance, noted that Catawba has had a reciprocal relationship with Corriher-Lipe over the past five years, with prospective teachers completing their observation requirements there. “Catawba students come and observe in the classroom and we do our best to try to convince them to become middle school teachers.”
“It’s important for Catawba students who want to be teachers to be exposed early and often to the best practices in teaching,” explained Dr. Bonita Bloodworth.
“There are many ways to reach students, and teaching doesn’t have to be done in a four-wall classroom; it can occur on a stage. Today, my students saw project-based learning in action and they saw students who had learned to work as a team.”
 

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