Educators are always on the search for ways to stimulate learning and interaction in foreign language classes. Immersion experiences are ideal for Americans attempting to speak Spanish, but in the absence of that kind of opportunity teachers should encourage and spur conversation between students through open activities. Once students feel comfortable conversing, their comprehension will increase. In "Imaginate: Managing Conversations in Spanish," Kenneth Chastain suggests that, "listening to Spanish language conversations will help students learn grammar and sentence construction."
This is the most basic of approaches but sets the stage for more extensive learning and language acquisition. Students will need to grasp basic conversational skills before moving onto anything more challenging. Have the students pair off and converse about what they did that morning or on a typical day at work or school. Provide them prompts to get them started with simple greetings and then challenge them to use their knowledge to have conversations that branch off.
Have the students tell about their families in small groups or in front of the class. Each student should talk about her parent's and sibling's names. Students should be capable of saying who they live with and how old members of the family are. Extended families can be covered once students know the words for grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts. Have the students explain how they feel about different relatives and how often they see them.
Aspirations and Goals in Life
Challenge the students to talk about their goals in life, using the Spanish language. Instruct them to explain what their career, family and work goals are. The only limits with this conversation should be their language skills. Younger students will probably keep it pretty standard while more advanced Spanish speakers should be able to go into detail. Direct the students to talk about what they believe the future of their relationships will be and the possibilities for career advancement.
Personal Interests and Hobbies
This is a perfect conversation for both advanced and novice Spanish speakers. Give the class an example of your own interests and hobbies to give them an example to follow. Students should cover sports or activities they are involved in. Other ideas to cover could include movies and television shows each individual enjoys and traveling they've done recently or would like to do in the near future. Students should go beyond just listing off examples and explain their feelings in the anecdotes.
- "Imaginate: Managing Conversations in Spanish"; Kenneth Chastain; 2003
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