When using our phones in the classroom we often hide behind our peers or put the phone in the desk to check what’s new in our Instagram feed. But you would not have to do that in Yanat Monica Canavan’s Spanish class. She prefers student using their phones to browse Instagram and communicate in Spanish language with one another.
Canavan, an assistant academic specialist, presents the notion that students must create an Instagram profile of their own and communicate in Spanish to get a better grip on the language. She says that since most students spend their time on their phones, it will only be logical to help them acquire the lesson through their phones.
She believes in teaching differently and says that her students are learning how to communicate in the language and not just write essays to get grades. Canavan has been working on this since 2016 and has also collaborated with Women’s University of the Sacred Heart in Lima, Peru to contribute towards this initiative. She has created a network between students in Peru and the students in her class through Facebook and messaging apps to make them communicate with one another.
This collaboration was designed after an intercultural event created in MIT called Cultura. It was modelled to create a link between students coming from various cultural backgrounds which makes it easier to learn the foreign tongue and discuss culture in that particular language.
Canavan’s communication network enables students across maps to communicate in a common tongue and discuss a plethora of topics including Netflix and weekend plans. According to Debora Almeida of the Northeastern University, students while communicating in the same language have learnt a lot about each other.
For instance Kayla Collins says, “What I’ve found the most interesting in talking to my partner in Peru is that our lives really aren’t that different.”
According to Canavan, the idea of “flipping the classroom” has brought great success in the students learning as well as grades. The language has been provided to them in such a way that it will go far beyond the four walls of the classrooms.