Maximizing Your Learning: Calling Home Tips from Clara Hoellerbauer (SMC)

June 30, 2017

The following is a guest post from Spanish LD Clara Hoellerbauer:



During the first three days, students will be going through the Spanish Academy Crash Course. During this time, they will learn about the Language Pledge, Communication Strategies and how to maximize their learning while at the Academy. In the Language Pledge segment, the students will discuss the importance and the significance of taking the Language in order to form and support a full-immersion setting. The communication strategies portion will teach students the skills they need to uphold the Language Pledge. The Maximizing Your Learning session will inform the students of Middlebury’s pedagogy and how the concepts of grammar and vocabulary are taught at the Academy.


If your child is having difficulties adjusting to the way that grammar and vocabulary are taught here at the Academy, when speaking to them consider asking the following questions.


  • Are you paying attention and noting new words from the authentic materials (videos, songs, articles, etc.) in order to look them up later?
  • Do you keep a list of new words you hear throughout the day and try to use them as often as possible?
  • Are you listening for different grammar structures in authentic materials or in conversations then asking a teacher or RE for clarification?
  • Are you being observant during clubs, activities, free time and meal time? Think about all all the new vocabulary you have and will continue to learn during these times outside of the classroom. Remind the students that the Academy is the Everywhere Classroom and that they’re always learning.
  • Are you self-correcting your errors in order to improve up your areas of weakness? (The more a word is used correctly, the quicker the correct form will be learned.)
  • Are you listening to how your peers use the language? (Peers can be excellent teachers as well!)
  • Are you paying attention to your teachers’ and RE’s corrections and feedback? (After ensuring the students’ safety and happiness, their number one job is to help students learn and improve their Spanish! They will offer both formal and informal feedback on a daily basis.)

Check out the slideshow above for more tips and an in-depth explanation of our teaching philosophy. 

Welcome Message from Clara Hoellerbauer, Saint Michael's College Spanish Academy Director