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A Conversation Between ELLs and Spanish Students


It's a simple idea but not done enough in schools: having English-language learners who are native speakers of Spanish help a school's foreign-language students improve their Spanish. Check out this story about North Medford High School in Medford, Ore., that has created a bimonthly Spanish-conversation group for students who are native speakers of Spanish and advanced-Spanish students.

It seems that it would also be good for the conversation group to have a component in which the ELLs could also improve their English with the native speakers of English. The article doesn't mention this.

Over the years, one of the best methods I've found to maintain my Spanish skills is to meet with a native-Spanish speaker for two hours each week to speak an hour in Spanish and an hour in English. I have a language exchange going on right now with a young woman from Colombia. Schools can facilitate the same kinds of exchanges through conversation groups or by partnering up students.


Hello Mary Ann,

First of all, congratulations for your language learning related comments.

According to my experience studying language (I have been learning English for a long time and Russian for a while), I agree completely about boosting language converstion with native people.

I wrote a post in a forum called "Improving foreign languages skills - Language exchange" which could be interesting for you.

Recently, I contacted a Russian penpal for a language exchange in Babelan.net that is helping me to improve my language skills.


What I found really interesting to ponder is the fact that the topic in the Spanish class was conditional verbs. I'm betting that most of the Spanish-speaking ELL students never have thought of those verb changes they make as marking conditional verbs. This itself makes a nice grammar lesson that may help them appreciate the different structures of the two languages.

Its a very good process to learn other language.I really appreciate your effort to learn Spanish using their local help.Keep it up.

Lots of K12 students studying Spanish in the US (and elsewhere) have a pen pal who is a native-speaker of Spanish through ePals. Many ELL students outside the English-speaking world are paired up with native speakers in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, etc. They can exchange weekly emails, share audio or video files, blog together, and even use old fashioned postcards to build communication skills in another language. What's powerful is to have a collaboration in a country of origin (say Guatemala or Mexico) for a US school's ELL students. They bring cultural knowledge while they are learning English.

ePals connects K12 students and teachers at no cost through its social learning network. More than 16 million students and teachers in 200 countries and territories participate.

www.epals.com is where K12 teachers can sign up their class and also get award-winning, safe and protected student communication tools, SchoolMail and SchoolBlog, at no cost.

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