Hernán Serruya’s Spanish Gameshow Brings Fun to Language Learning

Since his arrival at Poly, Hernán Serruya has made a splash as a Lower School Spanish Teacher. One of the highlights of his teaching is SERRUYARAMA (a combination of Hernán’s last name and the suffix “rama,” meaning an event or place that is remarkable), a Zoom-hosted game show during the after-school PEP programming that allows students and families to practice Spanish in an entertaining online environment.

SERRUYARAMA features original games that quiz players on vocabulary and grammar with prize incentives, captivating stories featuring “actors” from the Lower School, and secret guests such as John Bracker and Paula Martin. The game is hosted in the evening for families to play and practice the Spanish language together. Featuring a maximalist digital design and props like puppets, it’s easy to join as a player or fan.

“He introduces Spanish in a way that is not just Spanish,” said SERRUYARAMA player June M. ’33, “It’s a mixture of fun and a game, but you’re also learning at the same time.”

The game originated in 2020 when Hernán was a teacher in New York and looking for a way to engage students during the early pandemic. The game quickly caught on in popularity, similar to how it has taken off in the Lower School, with thousands of students from all over joining in. The group even hosted an in-person event at Poly this year complete with a potluck and prizes. 

“The most important idea of the class is community building,” said Hernán. “Whether they speak Spanish or not comes second. What’s important is that they are proud to share their language skills with their families and community through a mix of technology and art.”

Hernán has been praised by faculty and staff for the environment he creates for language learning. If you’ve ever attempted to learn a new language, you might remember the embarrassment and awkwardness that you have to push through in order to practice and gain fluency. With SERRUYARAMA and in Hernán’s classroom, there is a sense of safety and comfort with exploration and trying new things.

“Señor Serruya’s class is unlike any other Spanish class I’ve taken,” shared Lucy O. ’33. “When I walk into his class, I feel like I am part of a game, and at the same time, I am learning Spanish. The games help me get better and better.”

We are thrilled that SERRUYARAMA has brought together Lower School families for language learning and can’t wait to see what special guests pop in next year!