I propose an educational experiment: Make a Spanish class watch cartoons in Spanish for the entire class period, all school year. Compare that to a class that used a textbook and traditional teaching methods. See which class can repeat a random sentence said by a native speaker at normal speed? Which class has better pronunciation? Which class can translate Spanish dialogue into English? Which class can participate in real discussions (not memorized dialogues) in Spanish? Which class can read a paragraph of very easy children’s literature or nonfiction aloud? Which class can look at a picture and say something to about it in Spanish? Which class could write a few original sentences about the picture?
I think you know which class would be superior.
In order to make the most of the class that watches cartoons, the cartoons need to be selected for having a lot of speech, and being appealing to the students. Students who watch the videos should be rewarded with As on their report cards. Students who refuse to watch the videos, or cause distractions, should get tedious written grammar exercises to do instead. A week or two before evaluation, both classes should get a chance to work with a teacher to prepare for the evaluation. A native speaker who was not working with either class should lead the evaluation. The readings, dialogues, discussion topics and pictures used for evaluation should not be known to the teachers ahead of time, to prevent “teaching to the test.’ The evaluation is not meant to test and rank individual students, but is meant to assess which method of education works better.
Understaffed schools don’t have much to lose by trying this experiment. The results would be very telling.