Thursday, April 24, 2008

Started Language Training at the MTC

Today (Thursday, April 24) was my first day of language training at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah. I live only 10 minutes away, so I met in person with my tutor, Rodrigo from Mexico City. (Senior missionaries who don't live near the MTC get tutoring via telephone.) Rodrigo is a returned missionary and a BYU student currently studying business, but he has the goal of getting into the BYU accounting program. He works part time teaching Spanish at the MTC.

We speak only Spanish during our lessons. Today we chatted for a few minutes to get to know each other, and then we started our lesson. He gave a spiritual thought and offered a prayer. Then we went over my goals and assignments, which include the following:

  • Learn the five lessons. My homework assignment is to learn the first half of the first missionary lesson. As I understand it, he will present the lesson to me and then I will present it to him at our next class.
  • Speak only Spanish. Our hymn, spiritual thought, prayer, and lesson are all in Spanish.
  • Improve my Spanish vocabulary. We're doing a variety of activities to accomplish this goal, including assigned "tasks" (prepared lessons for a variety of different situations, such as interviews, introductions, and personal experiences), reading newspaper articles from Peru and other Spanish-speaking countries (which will force me to expand my vocabulary beyond the normal religious words), and studying the textbook on Spanish grammar.
  • Improve my pronunciation. Rodrigo will help me with pronunciation when I have a problem, and will assign me "shadow listening tasks," which are written texts with an accompanying CD of native speakers' readings of the texts.

I gave the closing prayer and then asked another teacher to take our picture. We parted with a traditional "abrazo" (hug) and the normal exchange of pleasantries.

I couldn't have asked for a better tutor than Rodrigo. He's bright and friendly, speaks educated Spanish, has clear enunciation (even in casual conversation), has good experience in tutoring Spanish, and takes a spiritual approach to our lessons.

1 comment:

Andrea said...

Well Dr. Zimmerman, how does it feel to have a BYU student be YOUR teacher? Looks like you enjoyed it and that your tutor is great. I hope he gets into the accounting program because accountants are pretty cool!