Do you want to learn Spanish but not sure where to start? Or looking for a way to practice your existing Spanish language skills?
Every Wednesday at 6 p.m., Library volunteer Callie leads conversational Spanish language sessions at your Library! The first and third Wednesdays of each month are for beginners. Intermediate and advanced Spanish speakers meet on the second and fourth Wednesdays.
These sessions are held in the outdoor Children’s Amphitheater so participants can safely social distance. Masks are required when you’re inside the Library.
We recently talked with Callie about the sessions and what you can expect when you attend the Spanish Conversation group.
JCPL: How long have you been teaching Spanish at the Library?
Callie: I started this conversation group in 2016-2017. I had never done anything like this prior to starting the group, but I really enjoy it! I wouldn’t call it a class as much as a place to just practice speaking and getting to know others.
JCPL: The first and third weeks are for Spanish language beginners, and the second and fourth weeks are for intermediate and advanced speakers. What do you consider “basic” vs. “intermediate and advanced”?
Callie: I think of a beginner as someone who doesn’t know any Spanish or just knows some basic vocabulary, but can’t maintain a conversation. I consider an intermediate or advanced skill level one in which an individual can carry a basic conversation.
We used to do one combined group for all skill levels, but what I found is you either don’t give enough attention to those who need it or you aren’t able to challenge those who are more advanced. So now I’ve broken the two groups into separate sessions to best support participants. I think focusing on a specific skill level for the entire meeting makes the whole experience more meaningful.
JCPL: Are these sessions just for English speakers, or can native Spanish speakers also attend?
Callie: I really love having native Spanish speakers join the group! When you have someone who grew up speaking a language, they’re able to provide more context about how phrases are used, such as different idioms or slang phrases that help a conversation transition smoothly. Native language speakers can also explain how different words are used, and can help with pronunciation.
JCPL: Why do you think it’s beneficial for people to learn another language?
Callie: I think learning a second language is good because it opens up experiences and relationships that you wouldn’t otherwise have. By learning a second language, you have the opportunity to learn about other cultures and get to know people that live, speak, and believe differently than you. With these relationships, you start to see the world differently and learn to think about challenges in a different way.
Call Adult Services at (423) 434-4454 for more information about our Spanish Conversation group. You can find out about our other programs for adults here.
Visit jcpl.org, call (423) 434-4450, or drop by 100 West Millard Street to use your Library. Follow Johnson City Public Library on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to receive daily updates on Library collections, services, and programs.