“Niños y Niñas Bilingües y Biculturales”: Pairing Duquesne Spanish Students with Preschoolers
A NECTFL, SANS Inc. /Mead Fellowship Project
– By Dr. Lucía Osa-Melero, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Spanish
Dr. Osa-Melero is an Assistant professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA and a SANS Inc. /Mead Leadership Fellow selected by the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.
Niños y Niñas Bilingües y Biculturales is a program in which my Spanish Conversation and Composition college students deliver lessons on basic vocabulary, geography, and cultural features of Spanish-speaking countries to English-speaking preschool children ages 3 to 5 in the YMCA-Duquesne Child Development Center.
We bring this content to the preschoolers from a comparative and contrastive perspective. We are helping the little ones to compare their culture with the culture of various Spanish-speaking countries with the hope that they find differences, but also many similarities. The underlying goal of this program is to show children that we are not as different to other cultures as we think we are.
Current research suggests that children, including those with special needs, are capable of a learning foreign language from their earliest months of life, and this language challenge benefits learners in multiple ways, it improves cognitive abilities, influences achievement in other disciplines, and results in higher reading and math test scores.
To teach the lessons, we used the “learning by teaching” pedagogical method. My students had to research and reflect on the content as they prepared the lesson plans to teach the younger learners. “‘The one who does the talking, does the learning (Vygotsky)” may best summarize the point of this pedagogical strategy. Data from students’ reflective essays showed that the sessions benefited both the preschool and collegiate students linguistically and culturally. We are planning to conduct the program again in the second week of February at the preschool to present cultural differences of the Valentine’s Day festivity in different Spanish-speaking countries, while teaching vocabulary related to emotions.
With assistance of the SANS Inc. /Mead fellowship, I plan to extend the program and bring it to interested preschools or public schools.
About the NECTFL SANS Inc. / Mead Leadership Fellowships
The NECTFL (Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Language) Mead Leadership Program supports foreign language teacher-leaders by recognizing their potential to contribute to the improvement of world language education. Mead Fellows are selected in part for the quality of the projects they propose. The plan of action for each project is developed in conjunction with a mentor, and progress is reported by the Fellow at subsequent state association and NECTFL conferences.
NECTFL Conference 2017 – SANS Inc. /Mead Fellows Presentation Sessions
Friday, February 10: Session 4 – 3:15-4:15
Tracy Brady – Hastings HS, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY
“World Language Integration for Deeper Learning”
Room: Gramercy East
Saturday, February 11: Session 9 – 2:00-3:00
Dr. Lucía Osa-Melero – Duquesne University
“Community-Engaged Teaching in a Predominantly White, English-Speaking Area”
Support for the Program:
For the tenth consecutive year, SANS Inc. Software and Network Solutions is pleased to support forward-thinking language educators as a corporate sponsor of the Mead Program.
Mead fellows for 2017 will be announced at the NECTFL Conference being held in New York City on February 9-11, 2017.