New to Landon this year is Monday Mesa, a place where Upper School students, teachers, and staff members can relax with their lunch and practice their Spanish every Monday. Dr. Troy Prinkey, Language Department Chair and Upper School Spanish Teacher, brought the idea from concept to reality.
“Students can feel put on the spot in a classroom, and the need to respond spontaneously to the question of a teacher or classmate can be unnerving to some,” he said. “Everyone feels better when there's food involved – conversation flows over a bowl of soup or a sandwich. To encourage students and other school staff to come together and put to the test the grammar and vocabulary that they've been learning in the classroom or on their own, a setting like the dining hall can be the perfect setting."
Prinkey says the free-flowing conversation has already increased the boys’ confidence and proficiency in a short time.
“I love speaking with students in these settings because there are no stakes at all,” he added. “They share hilarious stories about their weekend capers and use Spanish to not just trot out a new piece of grammar or a new vocabulary term. They say, ‘I'm going to get some more food,’ or ‘There are no more French fries right now.’ This kind of operational language is what they would need every day in a Spanish-speaking country with a host family or new Spanish-speaking friends.”