Bailando en Español: Dancing into Spanish by Jocelyn Kazmierski

Bailando en Español: Dancing into Spanish by Jocelyn Kazmierski

Spanish teacher Señor Casado, dances and does Zumba with his students to enhance their language learning skills. 

When passing through the halls, you may hear loud Spanish music blasting from Sr. Casados' room. If you take a peek inside his classroom, you will see him front and center dancing with his students, but why does he do this? 

“It's part of our culture; dancing is part of any Spanish-speaking country. Music sets a good tone for students to listen to Spanish, and third, it’s just plain fun!” Casado told me. 

When I took Sr. Casado's class, I remember having so much fun ending the class with a dance. Every student seems to enjoy dancing, whether they are in the front taking it seriously or if they are dancing shyly in the back. When I asked an AP Spanish student if she enjoys dancing in class, she said, “I do; it allows us to listen to music from a different culture, see how people in other countries dance, and learn songs we may never have found otherwise.” 

Curious to learn more about why Señor Casado does this, I asked if this kind of physical activity is beneficial in any other way other than just being fun. “Physical activity definitely helps the brain to process languages better. It's proven that when your brain is oxygenated and has been stimulated by exercise, you can think you can make decisions quicker and better.” The New York Times even said that the process of learning a second language “may be eased if you exercise while learning. A new study reports that working out during a language class amplifies people's ability to memorize, retain, and understand new vocabulary.”

While other teachers may connect culture through food, singing, and movies, Sr. Casado teaches language and culture through dance and Zumba. “So instead of having food in the classroom, I have Zumba in the classroom, which is equally as gratifying, I think, but this one has the pros of being exercise; Zumba is exercise.”