As I waved off my AS students last week a few of them asked what they can do over the summer to improve their Spanish. As a student I can remember being given a couple of dusty old novels and being over the moon with them but we have to be realistic … times have changed and so have our students. Many of them are unlikely to read a novel in English, let alone in Spanish, and the same goes for looking at foreign language newspapers and magazines. So where can we direct them to keep their language skills up? Yes, good old TV! A number of my students say that they spend at least five hours per day watching TV so why not get them doing it in Spanish?
Whilst the quality of Spanish TV isn’t great, there are a number of spin offs of British shows which I know that a lot of students watch (such as Wife Swap) as well as numerous dubbed American Soaps which all students will be familiar with.
Here is a list of programmes which I put together for my students:
La Sexta; This channel has lots of American series which have been dubbed into Spanish such as Bones; How I met your Mother; Family Guy; The Office and The Sopranos. There is also a series called Princesas del Barrio which follows the life of a group of ‘chonis’ from Madrid – a bit like ‘The Only Way is Essex’ but with ‘chonis madrileñas’.
La Cuatro: This channel is a great place to find programmes similar to those you can see on the Channel 4 in the UK. A few programmes which students might like are Granjero busca esposa (Farmer seeks wife); Fama (Fame) and Me cambio de familia (Wife Swap).
Espanoles por el mundo: Each week, the programme visits a city and meets Spaniards who are living there to find out about the culture and lifestyle in that particular place. They visit a number of Latin American countries so it is a good way to find out about Spanish speaking communities outside of Spain.
Commando Actualidad: Weekly programme which deals with issues which are of interest to the general Spanish public such as unemployment, tourism, crime, etc. This is a useful programme for A2 students as it deals with many of the topics which we study.
Como hemos cambiado: This programme looks at how Spain and the attitude of Spaniards have changed over the years. It looks at issues such as tourism, the role of women, immigration etc.