Dual Immersion Program returns to the stage and here's the skinny
N3 recently spoke with Nicolas Nelson who has been involved in the Spanish/English Dual Immersion program at Grant Public Schools since its inception a decade ago.
The program is putting on their latest theatrical performance a Spanish speaking stage doubleheader on Thursday April 28th at 6pm. The event will be held at the Grant Fine Arts Center.
Though he is likely knee deep in preparations for this innovative initiative we were able to corner Mr. Nelson and pose a few questions about the upcoming show as well as the S/E Immersion program itself.
How long has the Spanish Drama Club been in existence and how did it come about?
It started in 2018. We have a exchange teacher from Spain named Antonio Barroso. He came to us with some experience in theater (Madrid is the Broadway of Europe). We saw a need for students who finished our k-4 dual immersion program to continue practicing Spanish and the idea came up so he and I decided to try after school theater. We partnered with our after school program and FACF and it has grown every year since.
What other productions have been presented?
We have done the following plays:
El gigante egoísta
Señorita Nelson ha desaparecido
El país sin nombre
Buenas noches Señor Monstruo
Los ModernOZ (April 28th)
Who participates? How many actors? Who’s behind the scenes?
Bilingual students who were or are currently enrolled in our dual immersion program. We have incorporated 2nd - 9th grade students thus far as well as a few homeschooled students. The participants are divided into two teams: actors and tech crew. The production is done in Spanish with English “supertitles” appearing on the screen above the stage.
This time, we are taking advantage of help from our 4th grade music club (who will be playing ukuleles), the art club (who will be helping with some props) and involving kids from grades 2-8.
Who wrote the plays?
GPS staff members Marcelo Santana and Antonio Burroso However, the students give a LOT of input and the script evolves as we practice.
What do the participants gain from this?
The participants gain so much! They get to continue to practice Spanish language skills. They develop confidence in performing under pressure and in front of an audience. They measure, they draw, they paint, they use power tools (always popular) and they form a bond.
What should the audience expect? Why should people attend?
The audience should expect to laugh. Most people in our audience do not know much Spanish but they are able to follow along and we have received nothing but positive feedback.
You’ve been part of the S/E Immersion program since its beginning. How do you feel it has benefitted the students involved?
The benefits are pretty broad. Aside from being able to be linguistically and culturally competent within different groups of people, there is great value to learning a Latin language as much English vocabulary in subjects like sciences, medicine and law is based on Latin. Students in our dual immersion program learn to transfer language and to think about how languages work - this helps them to approach new words in any language and use what they know about roots and context to comprehend new words. There is also the whole bit about barriers between groups from very different backgrounds. Kids in our program tend to focus a very strong bond and so you see less self-segregation and cliques later on when that would otherwise be a typical behavior. On top of all of that, kids can earn HS foreign language credit in elementary school. That’s pretty cool too.
Grant Fine Arts Center, Thursday, April 28th at 6pm.
No te lo pierdas.
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