Trip whets students’ appetites for learning, lunch

  • Friday, April 18, 2014

Eileen Keithly/For the Times Karina Kostova and the waiter are amused as another classmate orders lunch in Spanish.


Waccamaw High School’s 10th- and 11th-grade advanced Spanish classes used their critical thinking and social skills recently when they ventured outside their classroom to eat lunch at a local Mexican restaurant.

A student becomes more motivated in learning by applying his or her education to real-world experiences, according to the Nevada Natural Resource Education Council.

Field trips provide an opportunity for total immersion in the natural environment and social setting.

A real world experience was exactly what WHS Spanish teacher Leann Aguilar was looking for when she ventured off campus with 55 of her students.

“I want them to understand that they really can use their Spanish-speaking skills outside our classroom,” said Aguilar, as she smiled and gave her students a nod of confidence while walking from table to table, “I do see some of them brought their cheat sheets, but that’s OK, they are still learning.”

The wait staff responded in Spanish to the students, asking them questions about their orders. That gave the students an opportunity to engage in a true Spanish conversation.

According to the Nevada study, students participating in field trips become more motivated to learn in-depth when they return to the classroom. Field trips stimulate learning beyond what textbooks can provide to the learning environment; they provide students with an opportunity for “on the spot thinking.”

There were plenty of raised eyebrows as the wait staff asked students about their order. But one-by-one, and with a little help from classmates, the students made it through the ordering process.

“Making sure we have the translation correct is tough,” said Levi Almond.

Kate Green agreed.

“I think I said it right, because I don’t think there is a true translation for Sprite,” Green said. “So I just said el Sprite.”

Sitting nearby, their teacher applauded their efforts.

“She was right,” Aguilar said. “Anything that starts with a capital letter or a proper noun does not have to be translated.”

Other students seemed to find the proper pronunciation a bit more of a hurdle. Without them even realizing it, though, the Spanish conversation among students after ordering sparked an impromptu learning environment.

Parent chaperones were clearly pleased to be part of a field trip that promoted community connectivity. Pam Gaddy, speaking of her daughter, Ashley, commented, “Well, even though she ordered french fries, she did it perfectly in Spanish. … It’s so much fun to be a part of this and see the kids using what they learn in the classroom.”

Aguilar’s field trip was a big success. She met her goal of connecting her students with the Spanish language and enriching their lives by exposing them to a different culture.


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