Throughout July, a project of intensive teaching of the Spanish language Curso de Verano (Summer Courses), initiated by the Centre for Languages and Social Education of the Faculty of Humanities and Education Sciences, took place in Klaipėda University. After the Dean of the Faculty had signed an agreement with the Camilo José Cela University of Madrid, its master‘s student Jesús Llamas Sevilla arrived in Klaipėda. Over 50 Klaipedians of different age spent a month learning Spanish. Some of them were learning elementary Spanish, while others improved the possessed skills.
Teaching Spanish in Spanish
J. L. Sevilla came to Lithuania for the second time; last summer, when travelling in the Baltic states, he visited Vilnius and Trakai. “I wanted to learn more about Lithuania, therefore I came to Klaipėda to do the practice of my graduate studies”, said Sevilla. He is taking Spanish as a foreign language in his master’s studies. That will be his third diploma: before that, he studied philosophy and psychology.
In Klaipėda University, Sevilla taught Spanish in a somewhat unusual way: lessons were given in Spanish even to elementary students. “At the beginning, it may seem difficult, but gradually learners start understanding. I am teaching through a variety of pictures, objects, colours, numbers, and a lot of games. That is a natural way of learning a language. When people learn singing, they start from singing, and later improve their skills, based on the theory. The same happens when you are learning a language: first you speak as you can, intuitively, and then improve your language skills through grammar rules”, commented teacher of Spanish Sevilla.
Although sometimes we hear that Lithuanians find Spanish an easy language to learn, Sevilla refuted the myth: “I heard the idea from my Lithuanian learners, however, I would doubt it. Although the Spanish pronunciation is easy for Lithuanians, the use of articles and prepositions is something new for them. Spanish has a number of the past tenses that are difficult to master.”
As stated by Sevilla, as a philosopher and psychologist, he is interested in the language learning process. “Philosophy is a science of asking questions; I am interested in what is happening when one is learning a foreign language. When you speak another language, you face a different perception of the world. I am wondering what is happening in our brain and how it works when we try to express our ideas in a different language “, said Sevilla.
Lithuanians are not as cold as they seem
Although Sevilla visited Lithuania for the second time, it was his first visit to Klaipėda. “I found the city small, yet beautiful. People have been very friendly. In Spain we believe that people from northern countries are cold, but having got acquainted with Lithuania, I would disagree with the idea”, shared his impressions Sevilla.
He thanked the head of the KU Centre for Languages and Social Education lecturer Jūratė Derukaitė who responded to his letter in which he expressed a wish to do his practice in Klaipėda University. For Jūratė Derukaitė, it was “a nice surprise”. “I wrote to him that we are looking forward to his visit. The learners of the summer courses were fascinated by the teacher’s personality, his competence, and professional lessons,” said she.