Saludos a todos, and welcome to Spanish at Vanguard High School! We are going to have a great year.
I am your professor and cultural immersion coach, Dr. Osborn (Dra. Osborn to my students). I hold a Ph.D. in Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures from The University of Tennessee, an M.A. in Spanish Studies from Loyola University of Chicago, and a B.A. in Spanish Studies from Hanover College. Some of my passions include music, art, nature, reptiles, learning, studying, research, writing, and especially teaching. Before I joined the Vanguard family this year, I was teaching various levels of Spanish language and culture at University of Florida and College of Central Florida. I have also taught at The University of Tennessee, Loyola University, the primary school level and, more importantly, the high school level. I am enthusiastic about preparing students for success in college and/or the working world. My Spanish is a hodgepodge of accents influenced by my time living in Spain, my trips to Peru, Colombia, Puerto Rico, people within my professional and social Spanish-speaking networks, and my favorite musicians. While we will strive to be grammatically correct on all assignments in this class, we embrace all accents and ways of speaking and expressing ourselves. In other words, our top goal here is achieving comfortable, comprehensible communication in the target language: Spanish. Get ready to step out of your comfort zones and have fun while doing it.
- Aside from making the grade, why is learning Spanish essential for achieving your highest potential?
No matter what plans you have for after high school, learning Spanish is a must. According to Babbel magazine, there are more than 400 million native speakers of Spanish in the world, making it second only to Chinese in terms of the most spoken languages. English is just behind Spanish, with approximately 360 million native speakers. Spanish is the third most studied language in the world, after English and French. In addition to the 400 million native speakers, just shy of 9 million people around the world speak Spanish as a second language. In the United States, more than 41 million people speak Spanish as a first language (about 13% of the population), and that number continues to grow. Additionally, the U.S. is home to nearly 12 million bilingual Spanish speakers. This makes it the second-largest Spanish speaking country in the world (after Mexico), but one study predicts it will be the largest by 2050. People want to learn Spanish. Babbel says that it is the most studied language in the U.S., with 50% of American college students and more than 70% of K-12 students choosing it over the study of other languages. Source: https://www.babbel.com/en/magazine/how-many-people-speak-spanish-and-where-is-it-spoken/
How can we relate to these facts here in Ocala, Florida? According to www.datausa.io , there are a significant number of Spanish-speaking residents in our very own town— at least 7.7k people or 13.3% of the population. In addition, the site states that the most common foreign languages spoken in Ocala are Spanish or Spanish Creole (4,393 speakers), Chinese (271 speakers), and Other Indic Languages (249 speakers).
Studying language is much more than simply memorizing vocabulary, grammar structures, and syntactic rules. It is, more importantly, a study of diversity and cultures— people and their customs, mannerisms, accents, their local slang and colloquialisms, their histories, and the places in which they live or to which they have migrated over time. This is why studying Spanish at Vanguard will give you access to and acceptance in the globalizing communities that make up Florida, the United States, and the world. In addition, statistics show that mastering another language, especially Spanish, will make you a more desirable employee when you enter the real world after school. According to actfl.org, 9 out of 10 employers rely on employees with language skills other than English, and 56% of businesses say their foreign language demand will increase within the next 5 years. So let’s get prepared to make ourselves competitive candidates for employment!
- Are you a heritage Spanish speaker? You are a heritage speaker if you were raised in a home where Spanish is spoken and possess some proficiency in it. Even if you grew up speaking or hearing Spanish daily, there is still much to gain from taking formal Spanish classes. Not only can studying Spanish give you a better understanding of and appreciation for your own roots, with much practice, you can perfect spelling, writing, and presentational skills in the language, giving you a huge advantage over other candidates in the professional world! You will be a wonderful contribution to our group endeavor towards fluency and global literacy and can look forward to sharing your cultural experiences with us when called for, if you so desire.