UWP Spanish Students and Gateway English Language Learners Share Languages--and Lives
By: Mary Lenard
On October 22nd and 23d, 2014, fifty students from UW-Parkside's Intermediate Spanish and Spanish Grammar and Composition courses visited Gateway Technical College to participate in a valuable learning experience: an interview exchange. Each student was paired with a native Spanish-speaking Gateway English Language Learning student. For the first thirty minutes, the UWP students had to practice their Spanish by interviewing their Gateway partners in Spanish, but in the following thirty minutes the tables were turned and the Gateway students got to practice their English by interviewing their UWP partners in English.
All of the Parkside students appreciated this unique and valuable learning opportunity. One student talked enthusiastically about what she gained from learning about her partner's life and experiences: "I loved having the opportunity to practice my Spanish with someone who is also learning English. It was nice to have a lesson outside of the regular classroom. I met an amazing person and I admire her for wanting to come to the United States and learn English." Another student expressed a growing confidence in his mastery of Spanish: "I learned how well I am able to speak and communicate in Spanish." Others were struck by the common ground that they experienced: "I found my fears of speaking to others were shared by the person I interviewed." Spanish instructors Ruth A. Kauffmann and Elizabeth Sloan have shown their expertise and dedication, showing the very kind of 'high impact practice' that makes the education offered by UWP "real" and "amazing."