Language Learning Through the Arts

shutterstock_130517294A new academic school year is here!  As families gear up for school, parents are often looking for extracurricular activities after school to keep the kids engaged and having fun while also learning valuable skills.   Art based activities and programs that  foster language acquisition are a great way to go!

Traditional approaches to learning language instruction can be pretty boring with rote memorization and repetitive exercises.  However, by incorporating what we know about how language is naturally learned and processed, new and engaging approaches to language acquisition have begun making their way into the classroom and in after school programs.  One important development is the use of language immersion through project based learning – especially through the use of a variety of mediums in the arts.  By engaging in fun hands-on art-based projects in a rich language immersed setting, one is able to absorb new vocabulary through context by associating the vocabulary and phrases with tangible applications and key concepts.

Some great after-school programs and classes throughout the greater Austin community are doing just this.   Here are some of the many programs we have found that  incorporate language learning in fun project based learning.

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Visual Arts and Performing Arts Programs:

ArteStudio Taller/Workshop offers great art classes for all ages.  All instruction is done in Spanish with limited translation only when necessary.  Kids and adults can learn great vocabulary in context with the art supplies, types of art, actions for applying techniques and other related concepts.

Semillitas de Español offers art classes for 2-5 year olds and for 6-9 year olds.  These classes weave key vocabulary in Spanish as they craft and explore art from around the world.

Juventud: Coyuntura de Arte at EMMA S. BARRIENTOS MEXICAN AMERICAN CULTURAL CENTER (MACC) .  This is a new bilingual after school program that will run through this fall semester. It explores arts through a variety of mediums including,
painting, performance, puppetry, capoeira and is based on an inquiry-based
learning model.  To inquire about this and other youth educational programs at the MACC, click here.

shutterstock_231028723Proyecto Teatro Talleres/ Workshops offered a variety of art based workshops in Spanish for 8 – 12 year olds this past spring at the MACC.  These talleres included theater, dance, photography and costume making. Proyecto Teatro is a theatrical production in Spanish to promote Latin culture.   We will keep you updated on future talleres.

shutterstock_236753524Capoeira Luanda Austin offers children’s capoeira, (a Brazilian martial arts through dance) and music classes, both of which incorporate Portuguese language learning in the process in a fun interactive format.

Dance Another World incorporates English language learning through dance and story telling. Dance Another World is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit that offers an after school program for English Language Learners.  They also work with other non-profit organizations to better serve the needs of English Language Learners.

Creative Action is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that serves a variety of schools in the greater Austin area with in-school and after-school programming to help the emotional and social needs of children through visual and performing arts.  To serve the various segments of the population and in working closely with the dual-language programs in AISD, Creative Action is offering more art based programs in Spanish.

Know of other after-school art-based language programs or classes not mentioned?  Please let us know about them in the comments section below.