Conceptualizing La Clase Mágica as a bilingualism and biodiversity program
Paper in a Symposium (Symp)
4:20 PM, Wednesday 30 Aug 2017 (30 minutes)
Convention Center - 205 B
La Clase Mágica in Colombia has worked on three different fronts with the common goal of designing environments for the learning of English as a second language through the study of local biodiversity as a strategy of cultural appropriation, at Los Llanos Orientales in Colombia. Known as “The Bilingualism and Biodiversity Program” (BB), this variation focuses on reducing the gap between language and knowledge of biodiversity that exists both locally and on a scientific level. Two strategies arise from this perspective: first, the viewing of program participants as holders of tacit knowledge (empirical) capable of transmitting their knowledge to others and second the acquisition of new knowledge that benefits and contributes to local and regional development through documentation processes that ensure sustainability beyond the spoken word. Through the incorporation of these strategies, we will exploit the innate curiosity of students and their intrinsic motivation to acquire learning new skills, develop scientific thinking, observe and interact with others and the environment, and rescue the spontaneity of oral and written expression. The Program aims to examine innovative strategies for managing the learning of foreign language from three angles: a) positing error as an opportunity and as a natural part of learning b) incorporating Spanglish as a transitional element in the learning of English; and c) closely linking language and culture, understanding that learning the language of another does not mean forgetting one’s own culture, but sharing it. Thus BB has developed a three-prong approach: Offering a practicum Teacher-training Education course on pedagogical strategies, an English program for kids that allows learning English as a foreign language and an English program for non-English teachers (that must teach English).