Teach to Teach: Training Women to Teach Spanish

by Awamaki
Sep 10, 2013

Awamaki's Spanish teachers learn to teach Quechua!

Spanish class language exchange
Spanish class language exchange

Awamaki’s Spanish teacher cooperative has been up to awesome things! The Spanish classes taught by the women at the Awamaki office here in Ollantaytambo have been running smoothly. Recent volunteers and tourists have been enjoying their lessons, while the women are becoming adept teachers and earning a greater income to support their families. Many of the students have expressed satisfaction with the conversational-style classes. Yesterday, Sonya Beatriz, an Awamaki volunteer, made a Peruvian fusion pizza with her Spanish teacher, Jenny, giving her the chance to practice her newly learned conversational skills in a casual, real world setting!

A handful of women from the cooperative are also currently training to teach Quechua lessons. Not all of the women in our teaching cooperative know how to speak Quechua, but those that do have offered to teach classes to interested tourists and volunteers. Quechua is an eloquent indigenous language that, like indigenous languages across the world, is disappearing. While many of the communities that Awamaki works with still speak Quechua, they are converting more rapidly each year to speaking Spanish, so that they can communicate with a larger audience and have access to increased economic opportunities. By offering Quechua classes, Awamaki and the teachers cooperative hope to help keep the language alive and encourage speakers to place a higher value on speaking the language. Teaching foreign visitors the language helps preserve it and allows visitors to the Andes the opportunity to communicate at a basic level to the women of our cooperatives and other indigenous communities. 

Quechua is a language that has only recently standardized its orthography, and therefore there are not sufficient teaching materials or teaching aids to assist teachers. Awamaki’s Community Education team, comprising of staff and volunteers, got together to create their own course structure, as well as other teaching supplements such as worksheets and homework handouts. The women who will be teaching Quechua have been spending time with other members of the Ollantaytambo community who teach language classes, collecting ideas on how to better formalize the course. Classes will aim to teach only the basics of the language. Awamaki is currently seeking funding to further develop the course and invest in the teachers’ skills. For now, the teachers will start with a trial run of the basic course so that any revisions and improvements can be made.

The opportunity to teach Quechua opens up new customer markets for the teachers, giving them the chance to to teach more hours each week and earn more money for themselves and their families. The women are also extremely excited about the chance to help preserve their native language! Through teaching Quechua, they will get to connect visitors to their heritage in a way that is meaningful and lasting.

Your support makes it possible for Awamaki to provide ongoing training to the teachers and connect them to greater global markets so that they can earn an income to support their families and transform their communities. Thank you for your generosity in supporting this project. The women of Awamaki’s Spanish teachers cooperative are extremely grateful of your donations. We look forward to keeping you updated on the progress of the Quechua classes.


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Organization Information


Location: Ollantaytambo, Cusco - Peru
Website: http:/​/​www.awamaki.org/​
Project Leader:
Mary Kennedy Leavens
Ollantaytambo, Cusco Peru

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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