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Two students observe one of the projects carried in the temporary adaptation classrooms. J. R. C.
This is the Costa del Sol school in which 32 different nationalities co-exist
Education

This is the Costa del Sol school in which 32 different nationalities co-exist

The Playamar secondary school has grown from just 700 to 1,260 pupils, now offering a diverse mix of languages spoken, cultural and religious beliefs

José Rodríguez Cámara

Torremolinos

Sunday, 10 March 2024, 10:24

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Ryan Annassik is one of the 1,260 pupils at Playamar secondary school in Torremolinos, which has just become a municipality with more than 70,000 inhabitants from more than 120 nationalities. "In the classes I can integrate, I can improve my language. We also do work, projects, and conversations about culture and everything related to Spain and Andalucía. We share our opinions and we also work on other subjects. The truth is that I love it," said this Moroccan student.

In less than a decade the school has doubled its enrolment, its head Miguel Lozano, explained. This fact gives rise to classrooms in which 32 different nationalities co-exist, almost as many as the number of languages that can be found in the corridors of this school.

"We have been growing a lot in recent years and we have gone from having just 700 to almost 1,300 students. The good climate in Malaga and the possibilities offered by the province for many people and the 'good life', make many foreign families take the step of moving here to live and telework," Lozano said.

"This means that we have many pupils who are foreigners, combined with many others who, although they have Spanish nationality because their parents were born here, also come from other countries. This means that, on occasions, they need temporary help with the language, while at the same time offering many possibilities for cultural enrichment," added Lozano.

Cultural and language enrichment

Teacher Jesús Relinque, from the temporary adaptation linguistic class (ATAL), said: "Playamar in Torremolinos is a very diverse school that currently has 32 different nationalities. Imagine what this means for cultural and language enrichment. It is a myriad of possibilities, traditions, religious beliefs, thoughts that the very diverse students who are studying and enrolled in our school have."

Enrolment can take place at any time during the academic year. "When a student arrives here, he or she is welcomed, enrolled, provided with materials for them to work with and, in addition, helped with linguistic adaptation," Relinque said.

How is this achieved? The key is educational projects, for example, on something as basic as Spanish gastronomy or on holidays, to see how Christmas or All Saints' Day is celebrated in each house; there are also important issues, Relinque said, which may seem irrelevant, but which have a great impact on learning or integration, such as naming the furniture in the house in Spanish. "We usually do bilingual work projects, which are then exhibited at the entrance of the school, so that the rest of the students can share this work, which has been done by the foreign students and the teachers," he explained.

This way of working means that there is constant contact with those in charge of teaching the classes, in order to resolve the many doubts that arise for pupils whose main challenge is to achieve a sufficient command of Spanish.

"The key is to ensure that the adaptation is temporary, that they are incorporated into their classrooms as soon as possible. We have to bear in mind that these boys and girls arrive in a new country, where everything is strange to them, and what we do in a centre like this, where there are dozens of nationalities, is to integrate them from the very first moment. In this process, it is essential to encourage them to meet other classmates who are in the same circumstances as they are, as well as empathising with the rest," Lozano said.

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