Jenn Rogers
Jenn Rogers

To master course concepts, additional remediation beyond the course is a must. For students learning a foreign language, this outside-the-classroom skills practice is critical. As an instructor, how do you encourage student participation in and out of class?

Incorporating engaging activities in your curriculum can help. Read on to discover the activity one instructor uses to encourage students to practice language skills on their own time—and therefore come to class more prepared and ready to participate.

Jenn Rogers is a foreign language coordinator and instructor of Spanish at Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City, Missouri. She shared her multi-step activity she uses in her Spanish 102 courses as a final project at the end of the semester.

Activity Duration: Over the course of 1-2 weeks 

Timing of Activity: Jenn uses this project as a lead up to students presenting their work on the last day of class, though the activity could be adapted for any time during the semester

Step 1: Each student selects a particular city from a Spanish-speaking country.

Step 2: Students then do online research and create a description of that city, including interesting cultural activities and practices.

Step 3: Then, through their online research, students must find a hotel in that city they’re describing and present information about the amenities of the hotel, what tourists can do in that area and the preferred mode of transportation to arrive at the destination. This part of the assignment ensures students incorporate concepts and vocabulary from the chapters covering travel, hotel and directions.

Step 4: Finally, each student must use commands to share what a celebrity has said about the hotel when they’ve visited—this information is fictional, but Jenn says students really enjoy this part of the assignment.

Step 5: After combining all of the research into a presentation format, each student then presents their city, description and more to the rest of the class. The other students can then ask questions and the presenter must answer in the moment—all in Spanish, of course. This is another tactic Jenn uses to encourage students to practice engaged listening and forming questions.

In the end, Jenn says her students loved this assignment, and the results were positive in terms of engagement both in and out of the classroom.

Want more ways to amplify student success beyond your course? Check out these additional teaching tips, methods and more.