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Spanish Language Acquisition
Spanish Language Acquisition
Tom Harkins
Thursday, November 14, 2019

The goal of the Lyme School Spanish department is for students to “acquire” Spanish.  “Acquiring” a language is different from “learning a language.” Acquiring is something that happens to you instead of something that you make happen. 

When you learned how to speak your first language, you acquired it naturally by listening to other people speak it around you for a long time; not by studying it. Therefore, almost all of our class time is spent using Spanish--not using English to talk about Spanish. 

In the younger grades, our focus is on listening and reading, with speaking and writing developing naturally as students take in more and more Spanish. Our Spanish program is a Comprehensible Input program, and we use methods and strategies that are based on Dr. Stephen Krashen’s Input Hypothesis. In particular, we use the TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling) method of language instruction.

In class, our focus is on the acquisition of high frequency structures (the most frequently used words in a language). We use these structures in class discussions, stories, and cultural explorations. As students progress through the years, they are expected to recognize these structures when they read or hear them and, in time, be able to produce them in speech and writing.