How to boost student engagement with authentic culture

 Dreams of the Beyond

All of us find ourselves cooped up in our homes, with dreams and fantasies of vacations and trips, even if it’s just to the nearest Starbucks (which is no longer an option for many of us).  But we find ourselves in a #COVID19 environment, climbing the walls, students and teachers alike. What a perfect opportunity to venture out into the world–virtually–on a virtual field trip?

Virtual Field Trips 

A virtual field trip, if done right, can leave an indelible impact and impression on a student, sparking their interest and engagement.  It is also a great way to incorporate authentic culture and the target language in the classroom.

I recently took my students on a field trip to Semana Santa in Spain and they loved it! I wrote a blog post about it and shared my presentation here on The Cultural Classroom. They retained a lot of information! I was so inspired that I planned another trip–last week, I took my kids to the Museo de la Moda in Chile. Again, they loved it and even had favorite exhibits!  (I can share my activity that I did with them–just let me know in the comments if you’re interested).

Virtual Field Trips Templates

All this inspiration culminated in me wanting to share my tactics with other teachers in a offering a virtual field trip template [click here].  Essentially, this is my “flow”:

  • A personal connection
  • History
  • Art
  • Modern connection

Also, you may want to ask yourself these questions:

  1. What do I want my students to learn? Do I want to focus on art? On nature? What is it exactly that I want to teach them about another country? My template offers a plethora of links & resources to choose from to aid in your journey.
  2. Do I have a personal connection with the place that we’ll be visiting? If so, add pics & video to the PowerPoint! Kids love seeing that!
  3. Current images/videos are crucial to show that what students are learning about is not from the distant past or from an old textbook, but lives and breaths in 2020! Use YouTube & Wikipedia for resources.

And be sure to check out my jazzy template, which offers little work on your part! You can check out my Semana Santa PowerPoint for a sample of my work. This Virtual Field Trip Template is different because it includes:

  • 20+ slide deck
  • 14+ virtual museum recommendations from Spanish speaking countries around the world
  • Recommendations on using Google Maps for a virtual field trip
  • 3D Tour recommendations of Spanish speaking countries with 3 examples given
  • Prompts/sections for you to fill out to plan your trip

Where might you go on your class field trip? Let me know in the comments below!

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