How Can a Study of Artworks Develop and Enhance Boys' Engagement and Achievement in Spanish? — Susana Epstein, Collegiate School, United States

  • Foreign Languages (2010-11)
How Can a Study of Artworks Develop and Enhance Boys' Engagement and Achievement in Spanish? — Susana Epstein, Collegiate School, United States

My sample group for this action research was a 5th grade Spanish class of 13 ten year olds from Collegiate, an all-boys’ school in New York City. Even though some of the boys spoke a language other than English at home, for most of them this was their first year of formal language instruction in Spanish. The project took place during the first two trimesters of the school year, which in the Northern hemisphere starts in the month of September. Aware that they were participating in a special project, the boys were collaborative and enthusiastic for the most part. My research question moved our actions away from the school’s textbook towards viewing, discussing, and making art a means of promoting a different kind of language-learning experience. The boys grasped the required vocabulary and grammar topics of our program through art images that came from books, the Internet, i-Pad applications, art postcards, photocopies of artworks, our project-dedicated interactive website, art gallery trips, my collaboration with the Chair of the Collegiate’s Art Department, and the boys’ own artistic creations. Individual and group progress was documented in various ways, including video, photography, my roll book, and a project journal.