Thursday, April 21, 2011

Interview with Jesús Saez Avila, Elementary Physical Education teacher in Castilla-La Mancha

Many skeptics of the push for bilingual education in Spain question the availability of resources and qualified teachers necessary to implement such changes.  Since 2008, Spanish teachers have been receiving training in the English language, along with American and British teaching techniques.  They also work with an English-language assistant one on one in their respective schools throughout the year.  
Jesús is a Physical Education teacher in a bilingual elementary school in the Castilla-La Mancha region of Spain.  He and I recently took part in an English-language teaching program in which he was required to think, speak and read only in English for eight [long] days in a remote town of Spain called La Alberca.  He and I sat down to speak about Physical Education, and our respective theories and practices in the classroom.  He did a great job keeping up with my New York accent, and was able to accurately articulate his thoughts and feelings.
Below, some thoughts from Jesús:
"We don't have a pool in our school, but we use the community pool in front of town hall."
"Futbol (soccer), basketball and volleyball are most important for gross motor skill development in older children.  It is important to expose children to baseball and badminton, sports that are not normally followed in Spain."
"We haven't got a project altogether, where you prepare in advance, what is the main content in every subject all connected; no.  We should do it [team teaching and interdisciplinary lessons], but it's so difficult because the Spanish system is different."
"Physical Education class in the morning runs for 55 minutes.  In the afternoon, 50 minutes."
"I tried to look for information [lesson plans] in the internet, but I only found youtube videos. The resources for alternative activities at the primary levels are non-existant.  Workshops are only held in Spanish, but I would like to learn how to teach in English, because that is what I am doing in the school."
What I got out of our conversation was:
PE in Spain needs:
lacrosse
field hockey
interdisciplinary and intercultural lessons
team teaching
accountability in the classroom
director supervision and observation 
respect and support from school and community--> PE is not just recess!
professional development--> websites for lesson plans
conferences and workshops for Spanish teachers instructing in English.


1 comment:

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