There are still 3 or 4 kids in my English class who don't finish reading the assigned chapters, but they have all begun to connect literature and life and to distinguish between human nature and cultural mores.
Some of the same kids who were saying they couldn't ever learn Spanish even a couple of weeks ago are able to follow along on a transcript while the aforementioned pop star--with one of the chilango-est accents I have heard in a long time--and even fill in blanks.
Spanish I has even been debating the relative merits of male versus female siblings and prejudices based on height or athleticism.
Other accomplishments in Spanish II include...
- singing along with Cri-Cri involuntarily
- volunteering to write & sing a parody IN SPANISH of one of the pop star's hits, commenting on his recent accusations.
- making parents listen to their new favorite Mexican song
- spontaneously breaking into choruses from ChocQuibTown's Oro
- connecting Mexican mestizo experiences to Afrodominican antihaitianismo
- connecting Dominican antihaitianismo with U.S. treatment of Mexican immigrants
- comparing & contrasting experiences of Afrolatinos in Mexico & Colombia
- analyzing reasons for media bias
Other accomplishments in English I include...
- questioning their own comfort levels and reasons for them
- connecting legends, foreshadowing, & human nature
- contrasting Achebe's Umuofia with current post-colonial society problems
- supporting definitions with quotes from the novel
- connecting current events to literary reading
- questioning the validity of gender roles in different societies
- evaluating parenting techniques in life & literature
- forming personal definitions of success & comparing them to another culture
These are not things that a standardized test can really evaluate, much less appreciate.
But I appreciate them.