Welcome to my project!
My name is Saordha Mulcahy and I am a final year student in University College Cork. When I graduate from college I would like to be secondary school teacher so I decided to use this project to discover about myself what I would like to teach to a class as well as researching a topic that I am passionate about and that I think in 2019 and years to come will be a huge topic inside the classroom, especially when learning another language and that topic is Feminism.
For my user profile at the beginning of this project, I decided to make a user profile on a student called Niamh McCarthy. She is a leaving certificate student who is extremely bright and friendly, and enjoys learning at school surrounded by her peers. She is studying Spanish as part of her leaving certificate course, however she finds it frustrating how she cannot pick up Spanish as quick as others in the class. She does not find the Spanish books she is currently using to prepare for her exams useful as she finds they are too difficult as there are no English translations of the passages in the book to help her understand or to memorise new words in the text. Niamh has said she would also like to learn about Spain and the people of Spain while learning the Spanish language, as well as the others in her class.
The user profile I created was most definitely how I would describe myself when I was in secondary school. I would consider myself friendly and I like to learn new things, such as new Spanish words and facts about Spain. However, in a classroom setting I struggle to be confident and to participate, and I was always unsure why. I would also like to read the material myself in class and to go home and learn things off in case I would be asked a question in class the next day and would not know the answer. Since I have come to college, I have realised that firstly that is not how you learn a language, and second that the amount of effort I used to put into not participating was more than I was putting into my actual school work. Studying languages in college has most definitely changed my perspective on learning as well teaching and I would like to integrate these into my teaching methods when I finish my degree and become a secondary school teacher.
Of course, when learning the language Spanish, you must sit down and study the grammatical rules etc, but it is also extremely important to try and speak the language as often as you can. As I said, I was never comfortable speaking in front of others in the classroom, however every summer I go to Spain, I make new Spanish friends and I can speak to them without hesitation because I feel like I am not being judged. I also feel like in college I am never judged when I speak Spanish and I think the conversation classes have improved my confidence and my learning immensely because all the lecturers in the Spanish department in University College Cork are encouraging and are not trying to get as much material as possible covered in a specific time frame. I understand that teachers must cover a certain amount of material before it is time for students to sit exams, but the students who find it difficult to learn off material struggle going into exams.
When I become a teacher, I want my students to interact and talk about topics they have interest in, much like we do in college as there is a sense of excitement when you talk about different topics that you like. . I have always had an interest in feminist Spain, and I think this topic is perfect for my project as Spain is currently going through a generational change amongst feminist movements.