A long-distance connection


Harlan County High School sophomore Sophia Sergent talked a resident of Venezuela during a Skype session held at the school.

Harlan County High School students enjoyed an international experience from the comforts of their own classroom earlier this month.

Students in Spanish II classes led by Emmanuel Anama and Benjamin Duncan talked to Julio Rojas, a teacher in Venezuela, and his family during Skype sessions held at the school during class. The HCHS teachers wanted to let their students practice speaking Spanish in a real-world context

“Each of the students in Spanish II had to ask a couple questions in Spanish to the Venezuelan teacher and his family about the life, culture and the current historical events occurring in Venezuela,” Anama said. “Questions ranged in nature from sociocultural queries, to questions relative to the geographical and political state of Venezuela.”

“Having the chance to personally interact with someone from Venezuela was very interesting and insightful,” said sophomore Sophia Sergent.”

The new KDE World Languages and Global Competency Program Review document requires schools to engage in connections with outside entities with a focus on global competency.

“Our school has done this in a number of ways, from conducting inquiry-based research with hotels and restaurants using Google Maps and Skype, to the Skype session we just conducted with the educator in Venezuela,” said Anama.

The HCHS teachers said the experience helped bring to life what had been discussed in class.

“Overall, I truly believe that the sessions with the Venezuelan teacher and his family were very successful,” Anama said.

Anama said he learned about Rojas through the Global School Project, which he found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/globalschoolproject

“In essence, our students were able to use their Spanish language skills to actually ‘feel’ a part of South American history from a distance,” Anama said.