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Hogback Community College                                           


Spanish is the fastest growing language in the United States, and Vermont is part of this trend. An estimated 1,500 migrant Mexican farm workers live and work in Vermont, many of them in Addison County. In this course, participants will both learn Spanish and have unique opportunities to meet and talk with migrant workers.

Spanish Through Stories is designed for people who have never studied Spanish before or who have forgotten the basic Spanish skills they learned years ago. Participants will learn Spanish using the Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS) method. This innovative method uses stories and storytelling to build vocabulary and grammatical structures in a way that mirrors natural language acquisition.

Participants will read and co-create stories in Spanish, many of which will chronicle the lives of migrant farm workers. We will use patterned questioning and answering to foster a deep memory understanding. No dictionaries or textbooks will be needed!

In addition to learning the language through stories about migrant farm workers, participants will also meet and talk with local migrant Mexican farm workers, both in the classroom and at a farm. These interactions will create engaging opportunities to practice Spanish, learn about other cultures, and to reflect on immigration issues. Additional opportunities to get involved with this population will be available for interested participants.

About the Instructor

Chris Urban is a grade 7-12 Spanish teacher at Harwood Union High School. For three years he worked for the Vermont Migrant Education Program as an English teacher for migrant Mexican farm workers in Addison County (pictured here with his former student and Vermont migrant worker Pablo Contreras in his hometown of Atlixtac, Guerrero, in southern Mexico.) Chris is the co-creator of the Golden Cage Project exhibit and website,, which promotes understanding of the lives of Mexican migrant workers on Vermont’s dairy farms.

Course Details

This course will be held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6-8pm, beginning July 2 and running through July 25 (no class July 4). Students will also participate in one Saturday morning dairy farm visit, date TBD. (Course dates: July 2, 9,11,16,18,23,25 plus one two-hour Saturday field trip, date TBD).

Location: Howden Hall, Bristol, VT


Minimum/maximum student enrollment:

Minimum: 8    Maximum: 15

Fee: $160

Credit hours: 1 credit hour* (16.5 hours of instruction)

*While our courses offer the structure and content of college courses, we are not seeking accreditation for Hogback Community College, nor do we currently offer credits for transfer to other educational institutions. Many teachers have taken Hogback Community College courses as part of their Professional Development requirements.

How to Apply: Download a registration form here. On it you’ll find detailed information about the registration process, including fees, cancellation policies, directions to course meeting sites, etc. Please complete the registration form and mail with payment to VERMONT FAMILY FORESTS to the address indicated on the form. We will hold your payment until we reach the minimum number of students required for offering the course. If we have already reached the course’s maximum student capacity by the time you submit your registration, we will place you on a waiting list.