As the city of Springdale continues to grow, so does the Hispanic community. Now more than ever, it is important to tear down linguistic barriers between people of different ethnicities. With the help of the new Spanish language courses being offered next school year, more students will be able to learn and grow their Spanish-speaking skills in a more specific way than before.
Spanish teachers Ellen Rainey and Michael Spencer hope to be able to strengthen their students’ skills through the new Spanish for Healthcare and Spanish for Business courses. These are specific and career oriented courses that will provide students with the ability to focus their Spanish learning on medical and business topics
“We want to provide classes that promote the valuable life skill of bilingualism and prepare students for careers and real-world experience after high school,” Spencer said.
Whereas regular Spanish classes focus on learning language skills, these new courses challenge students to apply their knowledge to real-world situations. The new courses will center around the terminology involved with both medical and business subjects. Although primarily focused on the medical and business field, the new courses are not limited to other students who may not be interested in those career fields.
“A lot of my students have to interpret for their families, they don’t want to be a doctor or anything in the business field but when a family member has to go to the doctor, they have to interpret,” Rainey said.
In a traditional Spanish class, students learn about general subjects. The new courses prepare students for both a professional career as well as developing stronger presentation skills. Being bilingual can mean a leg up when applying for jobs.
“As someone who worked as an interpreter in the past with people in hospitals and doctor offices, I know how big the learning curve can be just knowing how to talk about medical issues in Spanish. Same goes for business,” Spencer said.
Spanish for Healthcare I and II and Spanish for Business I and II will not be counted as a health or business elective. The courses will all be a semester long and students are able to take a course each semester if their schedule permits.
“Our recommendation is that kids are at least through level three of a traditional Spanish class, Spanish for natives two, or recommended by a teacher,” Rainey said.
The advantages that come from learning a second language are significant and can greatly impact a students future career. Students like junior Elle Reed have seen how beneficial it has been for them to take a Spanish course.
“I’m very glad that I decided to take Spanish these last two years,” Reed said. “Learning Spanish and learning how to communicate has come in handy both in my personal life and while at work.”