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Monday, October 23, 2006 (read 860 times)
 

Meet Our Teachers: Lauris of Tenerife

by Erin

Today from Puerto de la Cruz on the Canary island of Tenerife, we introduce you to Lauris Rodríguez de la Calle. Lauris recommends a healthy list of first books for Spanish students and shares a bit of his own experience as a student of German. He also offers this wise bit of advice to Spanish students:

Remember that the most important enemy of effective communication isn't grammatical error -- but silence.

How long have you been teaching Spanish, Lauris?
Since 1983 ….a lot of years.

What do you like most about your profession?
What I like most (and the reason I continue to enjoy my work) is the lack of routine, and the challenge of serving as a bridge for my students' desires to communicate.

What do you do when you are not working?
I love cinema, cooking and handiwork/decorating projects round the house. I read as well, and listen to music. I am learning to play the guitar (at my age!) and I participate in my daughters' school, where I'm a member of the school council.

Have you ever studied a language abroad?
No. I studied German at the Escuela Oficial de Idiomas in Puerto de la Cruz and I liked it alot. The most important thing was discovering (from the other side of the desk) the importance of the teacher " as coordinator, author of materials and provider of ideas.

What makes Tenerife an ideal place to study Spanish?
In this globalised world Spanish is a continually more important point of contact with other people. In the Canaries the closeness of the Americas is apparent without that carrying with it any loss of the island's "spanishness ". We are a cultural and linguistic bridge between European Spanish and the Spanish of the Americas. Add to that the indisputable natural and cultural diversity of the Canaries. Could you ask for more?

Do you have a key piece of advice for people who want to learn Spanish?
Yes, that they remember that the most important enemy of effective communication isn't grammatical error ---- but silence. At the most basic level, the student's motivation to actively participate in conversations and his eagerness to talk, albeit with some mistake or another, are fundamental.

Will you tell us your favourite teacher's anecdote?
A little more than a year ago I had the luck to go to Utrecht, in the Netherlands, to participate in a workshop and present a manual of Spanish as Foreign Language. There I ran into Dutch Spanish teachers who had been my students 10, 12 …15 years ago, as beginners when I was teaching in Granada. It was a spectacular surprise. (And it made me feel a little old---ok, mature.)

What book do you recommend to students of Spanish who want to read their first novel (or book) in Spanish?
I usually recommend Cuentos para pensar by Bucay, also the books of short stories by Gabriel García Márquez and Historias de Cronopios y Famas by Cortázar. I also recommend works that have been made into movies, such as La lengua de las mariposas, Los Santos Inocentes and Como agua para chocolate …because they offer the student multimedia contact with the story.


Keywords: tenerife,teachers,spain,schools,books

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