More shows like…
I remember after I finished the mandatory two years of high school Spanish thinking I would never use it. Keep in mind this was 1995 in Memphis, TN. I lived in the South side part of Memphis. At the time, there were not many Spanish speakers in the area. It wouldn’t be until close to my graduation that I would live to eat those thoughts that allowed me to think that I would never need Spanish. I started a job in a gift shop at the local zoo. Being that the zoo is a tourist spot, I met all sorts of places, including Spain, Mexico, and Honduras. I ended up using what little Spanish I remembered. Fast forward a year or two later, I saw this television show on the local cable access channel. It was a soap opera in Spanish, or so I thought! The name of the show was Destinos and it was a program designed for upper division students of Spanish. Viewers learned all about the various cultures in Latin America and Spain; they learned vocabulary and grammar. At the same time, there was an awesome plot that kept one captivated. An attorney is in search of lost relative on behalf of her gravely ill benefactor. Throughout her travels, she rekindles a romance, and meets interesting people. All the while, she checks viewer comprehension with short quizzes, gives tidbits on Spanish culture, and vocabulary.
So, I wonder if there are other programs with a similar format.
It was this show that inspired me to minor and then eventually major in Spanish. The format was perfect because it was easy to forget that this “soap opera” was a teaching tool for learners of Spanish. It also encouraged pure immersion in the language. Viewers are forced to think in the second language when they are watching the show. Creating a show with this format could prove to be beneficial for television developers in other languages and for teachers of other languages.