16 September 2011

Pop star backtalk

Two things were missing: interpersonal interaction and sufficient authentic input. Also, engagement had been stretched a little thin, either by note-taking (although in a form not quite as dry as other methods) or a pretty solid week of writing and revising.

My Spanish 3 pack needed to be exposed to more artists to be able to choose a song for their favorite, and we had started off with a little Fonsi, so we needed someone female, less pop: Adassa, Colombian-American reggaetonera.

For Spanish 2, I cannibalized a powerpoint from two years back that I had used for starters back then, and I added a little more variety. Spanish 2 gets...
  • A Mexican pop group (Reik)
  • A Spanish pop group (La Oreja de Van Gogh)
  • A Mexican regional star (Marco Antonio Solis)
  • A Puerto Rican reggaetonero (Don Omar)
  • A Colombian rock god (Juanes)
  • A Mexican pop-rock star (Julieta Venegas)
  • A pair of Puerto Rican reggaetoneros (Rakim y Ken-Y)
And now also
  • A Cuban singer-songwriter (Amaury Gutiérrez)
  • A (fictional?) Mexican bubble gum pop star (Lola)
  • My boyfriend from Spain with a sort of dance tune (David Bisbal)
To refresh: 4 Mexican acts, 2 Spanish acts, 2 Puerto Rican acts, a Cuban, and a Colombian, 3 females, 2 Afrolatinos. (I am afraid now I sacrificed ethnic and gender diversity for genre diversity...)

Spanish 3 got the whole song, "No me compares," by Adassa, and Spanish 2 got snippets containing object pronouns from all of the artists listed above. Both classes, however, talked back to the songs.

First of all "No me compares" is a nice, juicy, accusatory break-up song. So Spanish 3 students first practiced responding to lines I'd picked out to be a bit inflammatory, but responding as an enamored beau trying to win the singer back. Then, they responded as cruelly as they could (which was still extremely genteel from a couple of the ladies). And then, they picked out lines to use to accuse someone else, and they went head to head with a classmate, who had to respond as the accused off the top of their heads.

It was sort of a semi-interpersonal experience, but I think a nice middle ground, an exercise with training wheels, perhaps, to capture a little of the ability to answer appropriately (although saying the accuser had "the hair of my grandmother" does not usually fall under the realm of "appropriate") under fire.

Similarly, Spanish 2 had to answer the singers, but with incredulity, questioning everything each singer said using an object pronoun. If Reik said "Me encanta la idea," then they said "Te encanta?" If Rakim y Ken-Y said "Me matas," they asked "Te mato?" It was not authentic conversation, of course, but I contend it was building up skills to be able to converse, that they were learning to confirm and clarify: key interpersonal skills.

Again, in the name of saving copies, I had them create their own worksheet, listing the artists' names and leaving the number of lines indicated by each name to indicate how many questions they would be asking in response to each.

In other words, I used input from authentic texts for inauthentic texts, which I hoped would engage them and build up to more authentic tasks. Now, I suppose I just have to see if they can hold their own when they actually need verification or when involved in real spats in Spanish.

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