Whew! We just got back from taking an art tour of the National Gallery of Art in DC. It was great! They have guided tours open to the public that they conduct in Spanish. (They also have scheduled tours in French, Mandarin, Russian, German, Japanese and Italian!) I have a group of really dedicated and enthusiastic students in my Middle School Spanish II class. I decided that they were ready for a real tour. That didn’t mean that I was nervous- what if they tuned out because they didn’t understand any of it? What if they didn’t enjoy listening about the art?
I should have known better! They were all excited about what they could understand! They all reported that they understood a lot more than they thought they would. My students realized that they had to really focus to understand, but they could understand it. Many would ask me for clarification of words that they frequently heard but did not know. However, the students all felt like they learned either about art or more Spanish. After the first talk as we were walking to the next, the students were all chatting about what parts they understood. It was meaningful because it was authentic. They realized that they could take an art tour in another country and understand what was going on. Having the art there was also beneficial as students could see what the docent talked about. It can be nerve-wracking to go out of your comfort zone and do something like this- but you will never know until you do! As a teacher, sometimes you have to take on part of the risk for your students. You should look for art tours at the local museum to see if they are offered in Spanish. If you do not have a local art museum that gives tours in Spanish, here is a list of YouTube sites in Spanish:
- Museo del Prado
- Museo Thyssen
- Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Buenos Aires)
- Paraguay’s Cultural Ministry (with videos about their art museum)