The Delightful Power of Music to Make Learning More Engaging

Meet Ben Ashby, a Spanish teacher at Zeeland Public Schools and an online Spanish instructor for Michigan Virtual. In this episode of BRIGHT, we talk about the role music plays in learning, how online teaching has influenced the way he runs his face-to-face classroom and vice versa, and his hopes for education as we look to the future.

. . .Or listen instead on Apple, Spotify, or a different platform.

This week on the BRIGHT podcast, I had the honor of interviewing Ben Ashby — or Señor Ashby as he’s known in his Spanish classroom at Zeeland Public Schools and to his online students at Michigan Virtual

The person who nominated Ben described him as an innovative teacher who is “YouTube famous in middle-school Spanish classrooms everywhere and [who] does a wonderful job of bridging his face-to-face and online teaching styles.”

Needless to say, I was intrigued.

During our conversation, Ben and I talked about:

  • The role music plays in learning,
  • How online teaching has influenced the way he runs his face-to-face classroom and vice versa, and 
  • His hopes for education as we look to the future.

Music plays a significant role in both Ben’s online and face-to-face classrooms. On his YouTube channel, Ben shares hilarious songs and immersive language-learning videos to nearly 5,000 subscribers worldwide.

Ben believes it offers a powerful way for students to engage with learning and cites research demonstrating its efficacy in aiding in language acquisition. 

Here’s a sneak peek of our conversation:

One of my favorite moments during this interview was when Ben advised teachers seeking to leverage online/blended learning to make more engaging classroom activities. He says:

“It’s about using your strengths. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You just have to kind of reinvent yourself a little bit.”

Check out Señor Ashby’s interview on the Mitch Albom Show

Videos from Señor Ashby

Channel Trailer

Levántense Music Video (Spanish Classroom Commands Rap)

Locura De Marzo Tik Tok Challenge!

Harry Potter Spanish Movie Talk (Comprehensible Input)

Additional resources

Picture of Nikki Herta

Nikki Herta

Nikki’s love for writing, editing and pedagogy brought her to Michigan Virtual as their Content Creator/Editor. A Michigan native, she studied writing at Grand Valley State University before continuing on to the University of Minnesota for her master’s degree. While there, she also taught first-year writing to college freshman. Outside of work, she enjoys hiking, playing table-top board games, and curling up in front of the fireplace with a good book and her sassy, ancient cat, Princess Eugene.

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