Image from the Codex Magliabecchiano
FAQs: Here we answer your burning questions!
Why is your organization called 'Caracola'?
A caracola is a conch shell. The conch is an ancient musical instrument and was used as an object of art in the Americas. It symbolizes community, music, and is a source of beauty.
The Museum of the Templo Mayor, in Mexico City, tells us, “In the Mesoamerican world, conches were very important as food, as material for beautiful and delicate objects, as musical instruments (particularly the Strombus, used to make trumpets), and also as religious symbols of fertility and life.”
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian says, “These ancient shells remind us that conch trumpets were used across the Americas to summon people and spirits. This tradition continues today with contemporary 'calls to the people'." (Jolene Rickard, guest curator, and Gabrielle Tayac, NMAI, 2004).
So you're offering classes for heritage Spanish speakers and second language learners of Spanish? And also English as a Second Language classes?
Yes! We have years of experience and academic credentials in all three of those areas. Each of those groups of learners has specific characteristics that we are familiar with through experience and formal study.
Furthermore, our knowledge and training allows us to tailor our programs to the specific interests and needs of each group we work with. Every class is different, just as every human being is different.
Additionally, we have been developing an innovative arts-based model for learning and teaching that brings second language learners and native speakers together in the same classroom.
Who are heritage speakers of a language?
Heritage speakers of Spanish have learned Spanish as one of their first languages, at home. This is one of the most commonly-accepted definitions of a heritage speaker, but not the only one.
Bilingual and multilingual speakers bring unique and powerfully flexible cognitive skills to learning environments. Their knowledge of more than one culture enriches the teaching-learning experience. Yet their skills and experiences in a language other than English often go unacknowledged in traditional classrooms in the U.S., and are allowed to languish. To remedy this and strengthen heritage speakers’ cultural and linguistic identities and skills, creative workshops conducted in Spanish and led by knowledgeable language instructors can respond to heritage speakers’ unique linguistic and cultural strengths.
Research shows that strengthening language skills in a student's heritage language improves his or her language skills in English and other academic subjects.
The U.S. still has a long way to go toward valuing the importance of speaking multiple languages. Bilingualism and biculturalism, in fact, offer indisputable benefits for individuals, families, and our society.
Museo del Templo Mayor, Mexico City
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven CT
Copyright @ 2015 Caracola Creative Languages, Inc.