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What's Right With Our Schools: Discover Spanish

9:52 PM, May 23, 2012   |    comments
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During the past school year, a Knox County based company helped students here at home and across the country learn a second language, and it's not costing the schools one penny.

At Bearden High, students are learning in new ways, thanks to a different kind of curriculum and three well-traveled UT students.

An online Spanish tutorial is part of a top rated item on iTunes and, and now the interactive learning program is being used in classrooms at Bearden High School.

Teachers say the new kind of approach helps.

"Of course yes, we have to sit down and write things on paper sometimes, but this opens up and makes Spanish real - it makes it more than just something in a book, something in their school," said Spanish teacher Bonne Belden.

The Discover Spanish curriculum teaches the language through CDs, podcasts and blogs maintained by UT students who study abroad in Spanish-speaking countries.

Three students blogged this school year, and Bearden's students followed their travels day-by-day.

Once home, the older students shared their new cultural experiences with their younger counterparts.

"The students have really liked when they pass around objects - one of the students passed around a bracelet, that was, kinda, a little weird and the students had to guess what it was, and no one guessed that they were goats toenails, so that was special," said Beldon.

The idea is to give the younger students something to aim for, and for the most part, it seems to be working.

"I see their pictures, I hear their stories and like they make it so much more real and so much more fun and they have inspired me also to want to do that when I get into college," said sophomore Haley Foley.

Discover Spanish at Bearden High School is helping students learn a new language through stories of first-hand experience and interactive computer software.

It's just another example of what's right with our schools.

Discover Spanish is part of the Language Treks company.

In all, the program is being used by more than 100 schools across the country, including Bearden High and Grace Christian Academy, which is also in Knox County.

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