Teaching Life Skills and Culture Through a Second Language

Spanish IV students use language skills to explore the working world
Dr. Erin Montero’s Spanish IV classes recently explored the question, What do you want to do when you grow up? Most students ditched their uniforms in favor of more traditional business attire as they sat for mock job interviews conducted entirely in Spanish.

Dr. Montero explains, “This unit built on girls’ existing skills in interpersonal and presentational speaking, presentational writing, and interpretive listening and reading. It also taught them about some cultural differences between the interview process in Spanish-speaking communities and their own communities.”

Following a career readiness survey, students reviewed authentic Spanish résumés from which they then modeled their own. They also watched interview scenes from the telenovela La fea más bella (México) and the short film Recursos Humanos (Spain) and compared them to their own interview experiences in the past.

From there, students formed companies and created websites on Google sites that provided the history of their company, a mission statement, and a description of the service or product they offered. They also created job descriptions and compiled appropriate interview questions to ask their peers.

On the day of the simulated job fair, half of the students performed the role of interviewer and the other half interviewee, before switching roles. After all interviews were completed, companies made job offers, which the girls could choose to accept, negotiate, or refuse. The process allowed students to use new concepts such as subjunctive in adverbial and adjective clauses and review preterite/imperfect, present perfect, and past perfect tenses.

Of the experience, Dr. Montero says, “It never gets old for me to hear the girls have a 75-minute conversation in Spanish! I have known most of these girls since 2019, when they were either my Spanish III students or in the Spanish Honor Society with me. It amazes me to see the work they have put into improving their proficiency in Spanish. Having an unpracticed and unrehearsed conversation in one's second or third language is no easy feat, and as I passed by the different groups in our mock job fair, I could hear each girl promoting herself in Spanish as the ideal candidate for the job for which they were interviewing.”