As is known, the main function of the conversation assistants is to promote the oral skills of the students, in addition to bringing their culture closer to the entire educational community.
A total of 1,373 native speaking assistants will join the network of bilingual public centers in Andalusia this 2020/21 academic year . These people, who come mostly from the United States and other countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Norway, Switzerland, Morocco, India, Singapore, Tonga, Vanuatu and China, in addition to countries of the European Union (United Kingdom , Ireland, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Portugal) will join the centers from October and will remain until May 31. As a novelty in this course, conversation assistants from Brazil, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Tunisia and the Netherlands will be added.
The importance of the conversation helper
The presence of the conversation assistant in educational centers further stimulates the natural approach of the language and represents a greater increase in motivation for the knowledge and learning of other languages.
It is a professional , whose profile is specified in a person who has recently obtained his university degree or in a final year student. Its specific functions, always under the direction and supervision of the regular teaching staff, are designed to strengthen the oral skills of the students, the concrete practice of conversation and the teaching of the culture and civilization of the country that is the object of study.
What do conversation aids bring?
The experience that the presence of these conversation assistants has contributed in recent years has made their presence multiply in Spanish language classes. Even though the foreign languages taught within the regulated teachings continue under the guidelines mainly of Spanish teachers, the educational authorities place special emphasis on their being complemented and strengthened by the presence of native speaking assistants.
In this way, the Ministry of Education has announced a series of places open to final year students or graduates of foreign universities. However, native speakers from different countries can also access these places. Despite this, the reality is that in English classes, American assistants are the most common. Subsequently, the distribution of the different assistants among the schools is carried out by each autonomous community according to its own vision of the subject.
What are the functions of the conversation assistant?
As its functions are defined, they are the following:
- Enable the practice of oral conversation in the foreign language that is the object of the students’ study.
- Bringing students and teachers closer to the culture of the country where the foreign language is spoken, by presenting current affairs and recreational activities. To provide a model of phonetic and grammatical correction in the corresponding foreign language.
- Collaborate with the teaching staff in the preparation of teaching materials in the corresponding foreign language.
- Collaborate in international activities and projects in which the center participates.
- Support students with the computer or audiovisual means necessary to improve oral language.
- Any other related to the foreign language being studied, which is entrusted to it by the Department of Education and University Planning.
What are the obligations?
- Accept the schedule that is set at the destination centers.
- Justify absences from the center in the manner established for all teachers . In case of unjustified non-compliance with their activity, they will have a proportional deduction from their salary. In the event of an unexcused absence or repeated non-compliance with their obligations will be grounds for canceling the planned monthly allowance.
- Attend the reception and training sessions held on the dates and in the place determined for this purpose.
- Prepare or contribute with your coordinator , to a proposal of good practices as a sample of your work at the center.
- Prepare , fifteen days before the end of the period of presence in the educational center, a report. In which they contain the activities carried out in the aforementioned center and their impact on the process of teaching and learning the foreign language that is the object of study.
Of course, the management team and the coordinating teacher are also assigned their specific functions. All of them are oriented so that the assistant can be comfortable in the center and so that their presence also influences the linguistic improvement of the students with whom they interact.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Aide’s Stay
The success of an assistant’s stay in a center depends on a series of factors that can be summarized as follows:
Begin the relationship as soon as there is notification of the assistant who has been assigned to the center. Write to him, show him all the help and information regarding his task. So that you can and solve all the doubts that you may raise, in relation to your mission. Provide him, if possible, contact with previous auxiliaries. With Facebook groups of other assistants, etc. to get an idea of what to expect and resolve your doubts.
Trust environment between assistant and coordinator (and teachers) . Both of you should feel comfortable to be able to express your respective opinions, suggestions or activities. Having a third person in the classroom can be uncomfortable for many teachers. Our educational system does not view observation as a form of enrichment.
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