2019 also marked an exciting overhaul of our Spanish program at the Community Center. Working with Mark Kolat, an instructor in Ohio State’s Department of Spanish, as well as our team of incarcerated facilitators, we revamped our curriculum to get on board with contemporary pedagogical theory. In short, that means we converted even our beginner classes to be taught almost completely in Spanish. This change scared all of us at first: how could we teach Spanish in Spanish to non-Spanish speakers?
But after working closely over the course of two months with Marl and our key incarcerated facilitators, we unveiled the new curriculum this Spring semester to a test class of 12 students. Every metric indicates the change has been a huge success, and we’re eager to roll out the new curriculum on a larger scale, just as soon as we return. We’re extremely grateful to Mark and to our incarcerated Spanish program aides and facilitators, who worked tirelessly on the upgrade.
Mark offered his reflection on developing brand new curriculum and implementing training for Spanish facilitators at HBC's Community Center.
"Working on educational programming in a prison really highlighted to me the distinct motivators and goals which pushed people to get involved. Pressures to achieve certain grades were not of concern, so students and facilitators were truly focused on expanding their knowledge and skill sets for the sake of self- and community-betterment. Our approach to designing the new Spanish language program was one revolving around substantial exposure to and meaningful practice with real-world uses of the language." - Mark Kolat, August 2020