Club Charlamos more than chatter

By Meghan Doyle
Executive News Editor
Listening, reading, writing and speaking; according to Spanish teacher Michael Aldworth, those four skills are the necessities of learning a language and are typically acquired in that order. Though the first three skills are relatively simple to gain, it’s the last – speaking – that can be very difficult to build.
In order to expedite the process for Prospect Spanish students, Spanish teacher Ryan Schultz came up with Club Charlamos – a place where all levels of Spanish can feel comfortable speaking the language with others in the program.
“I feel like our younger students and our older students can benefit by speaking as much Spanish as they possibly can throughout a day,” Schultz said. “The more you speak [and] the more you practice, the better you get and the less uncomfortable you feel when you’re forced to speak Spanish in your class.”
Club Charlamos (Spanish for “we chat”) meets every other Wednesday during all lunch hours to play games like Scrabble and Pictionary, facilitate activities or just converse in Spanish. It is supervised by whatever Spanish teachers have lunch that particular period, however, the club is run by the AP Spanish and Spanish Four students that sign up to help.
So far, there have been around 12 to 15 students at each meeting, according to Aldworth, but Schultz said it doesn’t matter to him how many people show up.
“Any time you can get any student in a room speaking Spanish, I think it’s successful,” Schultz said. “It’s beneficial even if we only have a few people come in every session.” 
Attending Club Charlamos not only improves students’ Spanish, but it also earns them Spanish National Honors Society cultural hours and looks good on a college application. Two sessions of Club Charlamos also count for the one cultural event required of all Spanish students every semester.
Though it may seem structured, Club Charlamos is not meant to be like a class.
“I think the idea really is we want to get Spanish outside of just the classroom,” Aldworth said. “…We didn’t want it to feel like another class.”  
The class-like feeling is even more dispelled when English teachers, Social Studies teachers and others, including Principal Laakso, are thrown in the mix. The club is open to all faculty members that speak Spanish or want to practice their Spanish.
“Spanish is a language that’s fun to practice,” Schultz said. “Speaking Spanish should be incorporated more into each of our Spanish students’ lives.”