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Senora MacLean’s Classroom: Where Culture and Technology Combine

When Cathy MacLean, best known by her students as Senora MacLean, was 13 years old, her family moved to Puerto Rico for her father’s job. In Puerto Rico, her love for Spanish was able to flourish to what it is today. Her love for the language and culture inspired her to major in Spanish at The College of Wooster in Ohio and earn her master’s degree from Walden University in Minnesota.

Currently, Senora MacLean teaches at Duluth Middle and faces the challenge of teaching students a new language while trying to get them engaged in the culture and traditions.

However, her years living in such a culturally diverse place as Puerto Rico has enhanced the experience that her students have in Spanish I. When I was in her Spanish I class, I distinctly remember enjoying her descriptions of Spanish style homes built around extravagant courtyards. Furthermore, she encourages her students to have first-hand experiences with Spanish culture; this has resulted in class trips to Spanish restaurants where everyone speaks in Spanish for the entire meal and class potlucks full of typical Spanish cuisine.

Recently, Duluth Middle School has become a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) school and has incorporated these subjects more heavily into their curriculum. Although, for some, it may seem difficult to combine language and technology, Senora MacLean has excelled at it!

She admits that “today’s middle school students love technology, and I like to plan lessons that let them use their devices to express themselves in Spanish.” She has created lessons plans where students can learn about clothes and descriptions in Spanish while having a photoshoot and creating their own photo albums with Google Slides.

Technology isn’t the only thing Senora MacLean uses to promote a passion for Spanish in her students; she believes that “teamwork and spirit are paramount when learning a new language.” Communication is key when learning the Spanish language; Senora MacLean encourages her students to speak Spanish as much as possible and to support each other in the process.

With the guidance of Senora MacLean, Spanish I students can’t wait to venture deeper into Spanish culture in Spanish II!