Since I have ventured in my doctoral studies and since I’ve started this blog I have had several individuals ask me about how they can teach other people, like their children, Spanish. I have my own ideals of what the process of language acquisition should be like, but the more I research it, think about it, and experience it, I am more and more convinced that if you want to pass the interest of learning a new language to someone else you should do it in a way that is most natural to you. In other words, sure there are methodologies or best practices, but ultimately you do what is most natural to you. Even when I research how I “should” teach a second language, the times my lessons have been the most engaging are when I am being myself. Sure the methodologies I am familiar with make my lessons more effective, but I am thinking about a few of my friends who have shared an interest in passing Spanish on to their kids. Recently, I shared with a friend, after she was expressing her dilemmas with teaching Spanish to her kids, the fact that her kids were being exposed to Spanish can make difference. The exposure may strike an interest as they get older. The sad truth is that language is the first thing families lose the longer they are in their new country. This is one reason why I am firm believer that everyone in the US should learn a second language, and I say this with great conviction. I believe it should be a requirement from the time a child enters school! Playing an instrument would also be nice. I know I may be reaching for the stars with that one. Either way as I delve into my Phd studies and try to narrow my research interests these are the issues I contemplate.
I made an interesting observation this past year. This is related to our identities and the language(s) we speak. My sister had the first grandchild in January of this year amongst my sisters and I. I met Rafael about six weeks after he was born. Like any new Tia I was super excited and ready to hold and kiss him. Interestingly enough the first few utterances that came out of my mouth and continue to do so were in Spanish. It wasn’t something I planned. It just happened. Sure I use English, but Spanish comes out when I’m feeding him or giving him kisses. I think it’s because my mother always spoke to us in Spanish. It’s the language I associate with when communicating with my nephew. It’s the influence of my mother-tongue. We resort to what we find natural, to what we know.
In one of my recent blogs I complained about being tired of speaking Spanish, but I’m beginning to think that not speaking it and not being as aware about how I use it has been detrimental to what I write about on this blog. I really haven’t had a language experience to reference! So, I’m going to, “continuar con la lucha,” continue with the struggle. In a way it is a struggle, but in other ways it’s what keeps me curious about how we acquire language, how we create identities based on the language(s) we speak, and how we develop bilingual and bicultural lives.So, onward I go. As I have said in previous blog posting I am turning on my Spanish switch once again.