This week we have had the privilege to lead Spanish students from the prestigious Godolphin & Latymer school on a guided art visit in Spanish to the National Gallery.
It was a fulfilling visit in which the Year 8 students impressed the guide with their motivation, drive to learn, and their observations of visual symbols in the works.
The focus of the tour were the works of the Spanish painter Diego Velazquez. Prompted by questions in Spanish, the young learners were encouraged to express their ideas whilst putting their Spanish into gear.
The use of places other than the classroom for teaching make the most memorable learning experiences. Research suggests the need to re-engage learners with the world as they actually experience it, in what is often called “experiential” or “authentic” learning.
London offers a fantastic field to learn about art “in situ”, thanks to its numerous galleries and museums. Discussing a work of art as we stand in front of it builds bridges between theory and reality. It makes art inspiring and engaging to young people.
With the visual aid of the paintings, language can be used and taught in a context of immersion and with a real communicative purpose. When asked to discuss their thoughts in Spanish, learners find themselves using the language in a useful and relevant way, as an actual tool for communication.