Teaching (Virtually) to Guatemala

Wednesday, August 19: 12 p.m.
Posted by Kathryn Metz
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

photo caption: Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Education Instructor, Kathryn Metz, talks about teaching the history of rock and roll to a Guatemalan school - from 2,000 miles away

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I never expected to be teaching the history of rock and roll to kids in Guatemala, but recently it became part of my job description. Now I can confidently say that I teach students from all over the world about the importance of rock and roll and how it impacts our lives, from listening technology to social consciousness. In fact, Guatemala was the fifth country (in addition to Mexico, Canada, England and Australia) outside of the United States that our videoconferencing program, On the Road, has reached. Yesterday, I taught one of the Rock Hall’s most popular distance learning classes, Great Moments in Rock and Roll: Popular Music Through the Decades, to the Instituto Experimental de la Asunción, an all girls private school in Guatemala City. The students were studying advanced English conversation and composition, and yesterday they put their skills to the test in the perfect setting of a survey class that gives a brief social and musical history of the 1950s through the 1980s. After students chose between two videos for each decade (between Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry, for example, or between Michael Jackson and Run-D.M.C.), we talked about why each moment was a great one in rock and roll history.

They were amazing. These young Guatemalan students were bright and articulate, and their English was outstanding. I’m fluent in Spanish and anticipated having to help them out with tough vocabulary words or verb conjugations, but they held their own. Their teacher, Angélica Rocha, followed our pre-connection lesson suggestions, and had them work in pairs to research other great moments in rock and how they tie to significant national and international events. Then they presented a power point-aided sing-along so that the class could practice English and learn new vocabulary. I was impressed with their great moments. One pair addressed the climate of post-World War II America through the example of RRHOF Inductee Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” (1954). Another discussed how Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry” described Jamaica’s survival in an increasingly globalizing world.

It was so exciting to see these young women make tremendous social and popular connections in another language about an art form that clearly resonates with them. I was thrilled and honored to be a part of their learning experience, and I look forward to our fall connection when I’ll be teaching Grandes momentos, which is the same class but taught in Spanish to a group of language arts students. I really can’t wait and I also can’t believe that I get to do this – that I get to teach such motivated students at home and abroad about the continual significance of this art form that I love to teach.

For more information on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s award-winning distance learning program, On the Road, visit rockhall.com/distancelearning.


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