BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (WIVT/WBGH) – Learning a language can be difficult, which is why a Binghamton Spanish professor is connecting her students with native speakers.
The Lenguas Club is using technology to spread the Spanish language and culture across the globe.
Marisol Marcin is a language professor at Binghamton University and has been teaching Spanish for 20 years.
Throughout her teaching career, she’s found that learning a language comes easier when you’re not worried about a grade, but rather when you’re learning it to speak and use regularly.
Marisol Marcin says, “Everywhere you go to learn a language, you get stuck with grammar and you get stuck with conjugations and all of these things. But most people study a language to be able to use it.”
“I had an experience with some students from Binghamton University. I was able to connect them with students in Colombia, and the change in their interactions in the classroom was amazing. No longer did I feel like I had to tell them, so now we’re going to learn this topic, but rather they were coming to me to say hey can we learn how to say these things, I want to talk about these things,” said Marcin.
And so, the idea of the Lenguas Club was born.
Without any prior entrepreneurial experience, she wanted to turn her idea into a business, and was referred to the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator, a hub for start-up organizations across New York’s Southern Tier.
The Lenguas Club is a virtual classroom for people learning Spanish or English and connects them with native speakers.
“For any student that I have had in any of my classes, when I have them speak with somebody like them, who’s only difference is the language, it humanizes the entire learning experience, and it also makes them humble,” said Marcin.
Lenguas Club launched in December of 2020, and ran pilot programs in the states and Colombia. Schools can sign up and utilize the club’s lesson plans and welcome a native speaker into the classroom virtually to teach the language. Or, individuals can sign up for one-on-one learning.
“You advance at your own speed. So, you don’t have to go to Spanish one, and then Spanish two, and then Spanish three, you are in Spanish one if you are a basic learner, but if you speed up, maybe you jump to Spanish three because the course is for you,” said Marcin.
She says that Lenguas Club collaborates with teachers from Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
Last year, Lenguas Club was used by three local school districts, and Marcin says that it is expanding to New York City and across state lines.