Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spanish and the Quest for a Decent Textbook

On Wednesdays I teach a Spanish class to ten homeschoolers, three of whom belong to me.  It is a highlight of my week.

I started this class because so many of the private language classes around here are prohibitively expensive.  Furthermore, Spanish is one of those more specialized topics.  It helps to have a teacher who knows the language.

When I entered into this, I assumed that I would find a plethora of helpful textbooks.  I was wrong.  I am not sure if I simply have a more jaded eye towards textbooks (although there are some that we use and enjoy) or if there really isn't much out there -- but every textbook I found seems to assume that its readers are idiots.  One textbook spent about 20 pages on the numbers one through ten.  My class learned those in ten minutes.  Is it any wonder that we don't do languages well in this country?

So I am creating my own textbook.  It is a laborious task, but I am hoping it helps the students follow a more logical path to learning a language.  It has me curious about a few things: can teachers in schools create their own curricula or do they have to follow a pre-approved plan?  How much say does a teacher have in choosing a textbook for their class?  What does a teacher do if they do not like the textbook assigned?

Anyone?  Hello?   Bueller?

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