My name is Mario Romero, an education student from Spain. Last October 8th I visited Vaajakoski Secondary School in Jyväskyla during two Spanish lessons. I did not visit the school alone, I prepared the visit with Sini, a languages student from Finland, and Juan, another Spanish education student.
We planned the visit in three different sessions. Firstly we talk with the Spanish teacher in Vaajakoski to get some information about the students and about the theme. The teacher was very kind and open to new ideas. She gave to us total freedom to present Spain as main topic. Secondly each one chose some activities and we decided the entire plan of the lessons and finally we met again to share new ideas and practice the activities.
The October 8th we arrived at 8 a.m. to Vaajakoski by bus. We had the opportunity to meet the principal; she greeted us and gave to us free bus ticket. The experience should start at 9:30a.m. so, we could relax and practice the visiting in teacher’s room one hour. During this time I also met the secretary of the school, she helped us with some computer problems, she is very kind person as much as the rest of the staff we met.
Our visiting had two parts; the first one was three presentations which main topic were “Hometown and Spain”. Each one presented his hometown and Spain with some visual support. The second part was a common activity about a “rumba” (typical Spanish song). We thought it could be a good way to work language and the Spanish culture at the same time.
At the first class there are about 20 students of 12-13 years old of initial level of Spanish. When we went into the classroom the Spanish teacher introduced us and then we began the lesson. Sini was the first, she talked about Kouvola, her hometown and about Spain, as tourist destination. Then Juan talked about Valencia and about habits, gastronomy, monuments etc. and finally I talked about Granada, the Alhambra, Sierra Nevada, the weather etc. During the presentations Sini translated Juan and mine speech. The students paid attention and when I finished they asked some interesting questions as Why Spanish people talk so fast? What do you miss from Spain? Or one of the most funniest: Why do not you like football?
Afterwards, we started with the song. Sini is a very good singer, Juan sings well but he is a better showman. I do not sing so well but fortunately I can play guitar so, we have all pieces to play rumba. As I mentioned we sang “el muerto vivo”. This song talks about he whom that given up for dead was alive, maybe it seems sad but it is a very funny story. Guillermo Gonzalez Arenas composed the song in 1965 but in 1967 Peret adapted it. Firstly we read the lyrics with the students, then I sang for them and finally we try to sing all together. It was a very funny experience for the students and for us. After this group we did the whole experience again with another. Students a little bit older formed the second one, about 15 years old. The experience was very similar and we got good results as well.
After the visit the principal invited us to have lunch on school cantina. During the journey to come back we were chatting about how we felt during the experience, it was a interesting talking.
The visiting on Vaajakoski is the first time in my life I have been in a foreign school. I have observed a new type of behaviour in class. The students are very respectful and polite. The teachers and the rest of members of the staff seemed happy. I did not look any adult during the visit who did not smiled. As a future teacher I am in shock, I am sure there are some aspects that can be improved in Vaajakoski School but in my brief visit I only focus in the quiet and calm atmosphere. I have had the opportunity of practice my career, I have met Sini and Juan, I have enjoyed sing with Finnish student I do not know what I could desire more. I am very glad to have had the opportunity of participate in this programme and I strongly recommend this experience. Thank you to Vaajakoski School to my fellows and to Kielikampus.