Entering the classroom with Tiffany Karow

Entering the classroom with Tiffany Karow


This is the third post in a series about using Radio Ambulante in the classroom. Read the first post here and the second one here

We talked to Tiffany Karrow to learn more about how she uses Radio Ambulante with her students.

1.Tell us a little bit about the class you teach

I am a public high school teacher and teach at Los Altos High in the Silicon Valley of Northern California.  We are in the second year of a school wide initiative in which ALL of the students have a laptop and are expected to bring it to class every day.   I have been a teacher for 22 years, and this initiative has enriched my teaching.   It is now possible to connect my students with important online resources like  Radio Ambulante.  What was once difficult to do, thanks to technology, is now easy and interesting for both me and for my language students.

I teach the 2nd year class as well as AP Language and Culture.  The majority of my classes are between 23 and 30 students who are between 15 and 18 years old.  My AP class is a mix of Heritage speakers and English speakers.  The Heritage speakers are often the first generation in their family to complete the necessary requirements to attend college.  90% of our students go on  to college.

2. When was the last time you used Radio Ambulante in the classroom? How did you use Radio Ambulante with your students?

I am currently using Radio Ambulante with my AP Language and Culture class.  We use Radio Ambulante 1 or 2 times per chapter or theme.  In an AP course there are six thematic units: Personal and Public Identity; Families and Communities; Science and Technology; Beauty and Aesthetics; Contemporary Life; and Global Challenges.  For the Contemporary Life theme I decided to focus on heroes and superheroes. Since we were covering this unit in January, we discussed the importance of Martin Luther King Jr, I assigned a text for them to read on José Martí and I also incorporated the RA episode”El Superhéroe.”  It was great practice to hear the Argentine accent and my students enjoyed the episode.  

I also created a lesson plan around the episode N.N. for the unit on Families and Community which I am sharing here.

N.N porTiffany Karow y Dyana Swank

Download the file in slideshare

Download the file in slideshare

3.  Based upon your experience, what benefit do these stories provide in your curriculum? 

I believe the Radio Ambulante stories are important teaching tools for sharing real life language and culture with my students. The stories are well crafted and the use of authentic Spanish speakers  from a variety of countries and dialects is a great opportunity for my students. The audio gives them a glimpse of how the language is spoken in other countries and how that is different from the academic Spanish of the classroom.

4. What has been the reaction of your students to using Radio Ambulante in the classroom?

The majority of my students like RA a lot.  In fact I asked them: What do you think about Radio Ambulante as a way of practicing your listening?  Here are their responses!

“I love it, It’s interesting and is very different from the usual materials we use in Spanish class.  It is very helpful to hear accents from different countries”

“I like them because they are interesting and they are something you don’t usually encounter in a (text)book”

“The episodes are interesting and aren’t too long.  I like the fact that the transcript is included [in case I need it]. I think it is good practice [ to listen to RA] but sometimes it is difficult because they speak quickly and have different accents”

I like Radio Ambulante a lot because they are about actual situations [in the Spanish speaking world].  Also, there are lots of different episodes to choose from.  It’s easy to access and just start listening.  I like the fact that there is a transcript in case I don’t understand.  I don’t do that all the time but the option is there”


Tiffany Karow

Estados Unidos