In an era of fostering globalization, a versatile language profile is easily anyone’s key aspiration. According to a 2001 Gallup poll, 70% of Americans believe speaking more than one language in the United States is a valuable skill. The DELE Club members of Bonita Vista High School are no exception.
In the second semester of the 2017-18 school year, junior and International Baccalaureate candidate of Bonita Vista High School I created a unique tutoring club for students pursuing the Diplomas of Spanish as a Foreign Language, referred to as DELE due to its Spanish abbreviation.
Created in 1989 by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science, in cooperation with the University of Salamanca, DELE is a Spanish diploma program for foreign people whose first language is not Spanish. It is essentially a test for language proficiency which offers “official titles certifying degree of competence and mastery of the Spanish Language,” according to Instituto Cervantes of Madrid, which is the main headquarter administering the examinations around the world. Students wishing to take this Spanish language test can do so at many locations throughout the world, such as embassies, private schools, and universities. The exams are open to anybody, but it is mainly focused on people who are not native Spanish speakers.
The DELE program consists of six levels of tests which increase in difficulty: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2. Each level is comprised of four basic areas – Reading, Listening, Writing, and Speaking – of which candidates must surpass the minimum passing percentage of 60% in order to obtain the diploma for their desired level. In addition, the fee varies according to the level but is approximately from $100-250 USD. Students, teachers, business people, and others highly recognize the value of DELE as the only officially accredited and internationally acknowledged qualification for Spanish with permanent and guaranteed validity.
As a junior, I introduced the DELE program to the International Baccalaureate (IB) Higher Level class where I attracted many students to my tutoring club and the exam. The original motivation behind the creation of the DELE Club was to fulfill my Creativity Activity and Service (CAS), a component that IB students need to satisfy to receive their full diploma. Secondly, I initiated the DELE Club to seek a challenge that tested whether or not I was capable of effectively teaching aspiring fluent Spanish speakers.
Conducting the tutoring classes for DELE is not done alone; Junior Georgina David, who fluently speaks Spanish and is currently preparing for C1 exam this May assists in all logistics of the club.
David stated, “Jiteak mentioned to me previously that he was creating this program to help Spanish speaking students take an exam to get the diploma. I grew up speaking Spanish my entire life, I think it’s really important to know more than two languages especially for where we live in.”
Until the permanent establishment of the club, we received substantial help from our IB Spanish HL teacher, Marina Dillingham. She has been very supportive and encouraging of this tutoring program by letting DELE give a presentation during her class that got most of her students involved in the program.
Dilingham expressed, “it shows a lot of initiative on his part and creativity that he’s come up with this whole program for this exam that is a really foreign exam to Americans. I think it’s a great motivator for my students. Everyone seems really excited about it; he’s got most of the class to participate and signed up in his program for the test so I think it’s awesome.”
Spanish fluency is a rising powerhouse for global recognition in companies and universities. To excel in this area will be an apparent benefit for anyone. Although the DELE Club is a fairly new club in the after school activity roster of Bonita Vista High School, it is already gaining notable recognition, with 8 students permanently enrolled. Started this January 2018, the future of the DELE Club seems bright with the amount of support it receives.
Jiteak Kim, Grade 11
Bonita Vista High School