An interesting audio source for AP or native speakers classes
Have you ever listened to This American Life on an NPR radio station and wondered if there were a version for Latin America? In all of the aimless surfing that I do online I cannot believe that I never found this before! Radio Ambulante is a selection of interesting crónicas about life in Latin America. The radio programs are in Spanish, of course. You can stream any of the episodes online and some of them can be downloaded… it looks like they all can be downloaded for free via the iTunes store, but iTunes does not function on my computer at work so I´ll remain at the mercy of streaming.
Today with my native speakers class we listened to this crónica about two orphans who were stranded in Tijuana without even knowing how to speak Spanish. My students were captivated and, thankfully, there is a happy ending. During my AP class (with a mix of native and non-native speakers) I started by previewing what they were about to hear and familiarizing them with some of the unexpected words. We recently finished reading and discussing the short story Un señor muy viejo con unas alas enormes by García Márquez, so the themes of compassion and generosity were hanging in the air. Hearing the names of the countries Belize and Nigeria spoken in Spanish threw off nearly all of my students, even the native-speakers. I had to stop the audio midstream to explain what tráfico humano referred to, placing it in the context of narco-trafficking so that they would not confuse the subject with illegal immigration. It may have been better for the non-native speakers if I had stopped and discussed what was happening more frequently. Afterwards they wrote a short summary and reaction before we outlined the radio program together on the whiteboard. I thought it was quite an enjoyable way to spend the class period.