Incorporating Voice, Choice, and Student Inquiry In Your Languages Class

Bryn Bonino
4 min readJan 8, 2019

Voice, choice, and student inquiry are some of the surest ways to get your students learning and retaining information more quickly. This isn’t only because they’ll have more fun doing so, like I wrote about in a previous post.

Research shows that when students can try things out on their own, and make their own decisions, their learning process is accelerated. Research also shows that students learn when they can reflect on their own mistakes, as I’ve written about elsewhere.

This article looks at two ongoing projects that can be used in a World Languages classroom to let student voice, choice, and inquiry shine. Once project focuses on culture, and the other project focuses on language.

Audiovisual Research

For my beginning level students, I had them research an aspect of culture, and deliver the finished product in as much Spanish as they could. This project has students turn in an audiovisual presentation (most would do short films) that is researched akin to what a research paper would be.

I told students that they could research a topic of their choosing within a designated broader theme. According to the marking period, students could research:

  1. A tourist attraction
  2. The arts (including film or theater)
  3. History (including literature)
  4. Influential people
  5. A style of music or dance
  6. Influential political and religious movements

Once students identified someone or something they wanted to learn more about, they needed to write a research question that they wanted to answer, and turn it in to me for approval before they continued with their research. I evaluated each question for if it could be answered, and if the question was too broad or too specific.

The students then needed to research a situation using at least one primary source. They then needed to use photos, film, and minimal text to present their:

If you’ve gone to graduate school, you will probably recognize this research process. This will help your students get prepared for college. If they aren’t…

Bryn Bonino

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