By Maria J. Treviño
To set the stage for this topic, let’s do a quick assessment. Think back when you studied Spanish (or other language) in high school and/or college. What types of activities did you do in class?
_____ 1. Oral pronunciation – Repeated words/phrases after the teacher.
_____ 2. Handouts – Filled-in-the-blanks with the correct conjugated verb.
_____ 3. Group work – Translated English to Spanish.
_____ 4. Pair work – Practiced memorized dialogues.
_____ 5. Pair work – Interviewed each other given a topic such as “talk about your family.”
_____ 6. Completed written paragraphs with appropriate grammar and punctuation.
_____ 7. Watched videos and answered given questions about the content.
_____ 8. Presented short presentations to the class such as speaking about you likes and dislikes.
_____ 9. Read short paragraphs and answered predetermined questions.
_____ 10. Listened to short recordings and summarized in Spanish verbally or in writing.
All persons learn in a different manner whether they are auditory, visual, or kinesthetic learners. Some persons grasp information through many means. In reviewing the above activities, do you think any of these tasks contributed to your acquisition of Spanish (or other language)? Why or why not?
We always hear the phrase “practice makes perfect.” Keeping this statement in mind, what do you think are the three numbers correlating to the above statements that you perceive would be tasks that develop language proficiency:
The responses might differ; however, the bottom line is student performance. How well do any of the above tasks help students use Spanish to express themselves? How does a teacher develop student proficiency so that the students can use Spanish to communicate easily and effectively?
María J. Fierro-Treviño
Instructional Specialist, Northside Independent School District, San Antonio, TX. (Retired)
Director for Languages other than English, Texas Education Agency (Retired)