International Text Messaging Offers Language Practice


Dianda Giles, Staff Writer

Students in Concha Martinez’s AP Spanish class have been communicating with students in Spain who are studying English via the messaging application WhatsApp since the start of the 2nd semester.

Martinez met José Noé,  a teacher of English at a private school in Valencia, Spain, 2 years ago, when he was visiting the Bay Area. According to Martinez, they decided to have their students message each other in an immersive way as a means of improving language skills.

Through WhatsApp, a messaging program that allows users to easily communicate via text across the globe, Martinez hopes that students will improve their colloquial speaking. “Us teachers were facing the same issue– we wanted our students to improve their language comprehension with people their own age,” said Martinez. “Now, it is like the students are teaching each other, which is very valuable.

Earlier in the school year, students from both side of the globe created short videos of themselves where they were able to speak about their interests.  The videos were viewed in the respective classrooms and students then chose their international partners for the ongoing correspondence.

Senior Julia Bond enjoys the opportunity to use conversational Spanish with a native speaker. “It’s been a really helpful experience so far. I have been able to work on my Spanish and it’s interesting to learn about the life of the student I message with.”

“The students are actually quite comparable to ourselves,” said senior Lindsay Torres, adding that she found it interesting “to learn about the similarities and differences [American students] have with the students in Spain.”

Martinez hopes to implement the activity into her curriculum for years to come.