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Posts Tagged ‘Foreign Language Pedagogy’

I was just reflecting on the lessons I have learned on foreign language pedagogy as I headed back from Des Moines today.

One of the things I was thinking about is how stories stick. I read that in Tools for Teaching, by Fred Jones – he suggested that when you are lecturing, make sure to tell stories with detail and imagery because those two things help us create more dynamic memories. I’m sure you’ve also heard of those memory tricks where you create an image – let’s say, a house – and create other things in that house to help remind you of certain things you want to remember. I’ve heard that certain cultures really rely on this type of memory device.

So, I was bemoaning the fact that I didn’t have a resource to introduce Spanish vocabulary in the context of a story. Wouldn’t it be great if there were some lively stories with Spanish vocabulary that were easily understandable? My sister uses a vocabulary series called VocabuLit – vocabulary, in this way, is learned in context with passages and short stories.

Our next chapter in Spanish II is celebrations – birthdays, weddings, parties, etc. As I was unpacking today, I glanced in my black plastic file holder and the yellow book caught my eye – El cumpleaños de Arturo – Arthur’s Birthday. It’s a book a purchased two years ago but never found a good chance to use. When I picked it up and glanced through, I realized it happened to use some of the vocabulary from our new unit, matched the theme perfectly, and used the past tense which my students wouldn’t have been able to understand until this year.

Now the challenge is to use this book in a way that’s actually helpful. We’ll see what happens!

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