Students in a Spanish course, or simply for fun, can improve their speaking skills through the Spanish Table.
Held every Tuesday in the Muenster University Center, students can meet with a Spanish professor, and they answer questions and simply speak in Spanish conversely.
Students can receive extra credit by going, but also develop better skills in their studying of Spanish. It is offered to students of any level – from the
100 level classes to the upper-level, 400 classes.
“The Spanish Table is very important because it provides not only students, but also staff, faculty and the public an opportunity to speak Spanish in an open environment,” said Laura Vidler, head of the department of modern languages & linguistics. “So there’s no grades, we talk about whatever we want to.”
Sophomore and Spanish major Emily Vidler filled in for the instructors Oct. 13 to help lead the conversation among students.
“It’s really important to keep up with my Spanish,” Emily Vidler said.
Because of the bigger group – there were nine students in attendance last week – Emily Vidler went around one-by-one and asked them questions, and also had them ask her questions.
Laura Vidler said the Spanish Table is strictly to allow students to be immersed in Spanish and converse in a more authentic manner.
“The point is that it’s not a class,” Laura Vidler said. “I try to keep it as organic as possible because we want it to be an authentic, conversational environment and not sort of a contrived classroom.”
Junior Bailey Quanbeck is currently in Spanish 202, and goes to the table to keep up with her Spanish so that she will not only do better in school, but eventually become fluent enough to speak with her grandmother.
“I’m hoping to come here consistently,” Quanbeck said. “My grandma speaks Spanish fluently.”
Quanbeck said she likes how the Spanish Table is able to help her work on her conversation skills and be more engrossed in the language.
“It’s a great way to study outside of class,” Quanbeck said. “I enjoy it. It’s a unique experience and the only place to be immersed in Spanish considering our location in the Midwest.”
Emily Vidler usually attends the conversation table, and enjoys how students can go there to learn and speak without feeling judged.
“It’s a fun, supportive environment to practice Spanish,” Emily Vidler said.
Quanbeck said that she would like to enhance her Spanish speaking skills and eventually be fluent enough to help with the table in the future.
“I would like to speak Spanish well to help in my possible careers,” she said. “(It would) open more opportunities for the future.”
The Spanish Table was designed so that students don’t have to worry about their grades, which Laura Vidler said is the essential and most imperative part about learning a new language.
“It’s not designed for tutoring,” Laura Vidler said.
Laura Vidler said the most rewarding part about students attending the table is easily seeing that they have learned to converse better, and have developed in their skills.
“The more time on task you have and the more practice you put in, the more effort you put in, the better,” Laura Vidler said. “I strongly encourage everyone to continue to learn and study as much as you can. Everyone is welcome and it doesn’t matter your level of proficiency … learning a language is a courageous act.”