Ohio State University program immerses social workers in Spanish - Resources for your Spanish Classroom
To help, social workers need to know how their clients are doing. And with a growing Spanish-speaking population in central Ohio, more will need to ask, and understand a client’s response to, Como estas?
“Since I’ve come to this country, I’ve been a complainer,” said Dr. Rene Olate, a professor of social work at Ohio State University who says not enough social workers in Columbus speak Spanish. To fix that, during the university’s short May semester, he’s teaching a new social-work class that’s taught almost entirely in the language.
For six hours each week, 10 students at Ohio State videoconference with 20 students taking the course from a university in Nicaragua. Olate runs through PowerPoint slides in Spanish and sometimes shows videos in English from YouTube.
“It’s important in the work that we do that we’re able to connect on a pretty deep level ... it’s hard to do that when you’re relaying messages through a translator,” said Danielle Smith, executive director of the Ohio chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. “I’m really glad that Ohio State has this class.”
Smith said her research shows that more than 50,000 central Ohioans speak Spanish as a first language. The two-credit-hour course could fill a gap in social-work service to those people.
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