When you think of the all the components of teaching a new language, it may seem overwhelming at first. However, developing a clear curriculum is like having a map guiding you through the various layers of grammar rules and vocabulary that could frustrate any new teacher or student. In fact, with the combination of concise lesson plans and a one-on-one learning environment, you may find yourself with a satisfied student and a prosperous career teaching Spanish in the private sector.
Developing the Curriculum
Purchase the appropriate textbook and workbook to coincide with your lessons. The textbook should include a smooth transition from simple grammar and vocabulary to more advanced material. It is important that each unit or chapter have several drills for students to review the material learned.
Use the textbook as a guide to calculate the length of your private lessons. Each unit of the textbook will cover vocabulary and the grammar rules. A typical unit in a textbook could take a month to teach. Based on this, private lessons would each be approximately two hours long, twice a week. This schedule would allow for four or more units to be covered in four months, which may vary depending on the student's ability to comprehend the material.
Develop lesson plans in your notebook for each class. Each lesson should cover four components: reviewing homework assignments, introducing new vocabulary and grammar, practicing drills and reviewing the drills with student. The first meeting will cover the format of the lessons, materials and assessments.
Write lessons that cover these essential grammar rules in this order: feminine versus masculine words, the usage of definite and indefinite articles, the three verb conjugations, ar, er and ir, and sentence structure. The conjugation of the verbs should be three separate lessons.
Assign homework from the workbook after each lesson that will review the material learned. Students should be taught how to use the dictionary to assist them in completing the homework assignments. At the end of a unit, student should take a test that will cover the grammar and vocabulary learned in the unit. As part of the test, you should read aloud words, phrases or passages (depending on the level of instruction) in English and have the student translate them into Spanish. Use the tests to evaluate the student's strengths and weaknesses and develop future lesson plans accordingly.
- Michele Letteratis, M.A.; Bergen Community College; Paramus, NJ
- "Commonwealth of Learner;" Manual for the Tutors of Learning Centers in Open Schools; Sushmita Mitra; December 2008
- Look for textbooks that include a CD. This would be a great way for the student to practice pronunciation and have constant exposure to Spanish.
- Include in your lessons, information about Spanish culture, which will provide the student with a well-rounded education of the language.
Laurie Gallo has been working as an editor and writer since 2002. She is currently teaching English in middle school. Her editing and writing can be seen at Disney Publishing, where she worked on various successful titles such as "Finding Nemo," "Kim Possible," "Disney Princesses" and more. Laurie received a master's degree from Fordham University.