18 November 2015

#Authres in PBL Groups: Market Research Jigsaw

The goal is not interpretation. The goal is not writing or speaking or interpersonal communication.

The goal is to convince a Spanish-speaking audience that they need this new invention.

Each group of 4-5 has already come up with a new product, but to convince the Spanish-speaking audience, they need some perspective. So I dug up some a good, solid authentic resource: a report the Nielsen Company put out in 2012 called "El Imperativo del Mercado Hispano: El Estado del Consumidor Hispano", but then I had to make it accessible to my baby parrots.

So I broke the report down from 20 pages to three separate 3 or 4 page sections that
  1. my novices and budding intermediates (and heritage speakers) could understand and
  2. the marketing teams could use to their advantage as they planned to pitch their brand new inventions.
"Sección uno" is mostly about WHY  we need to focus on el mercado hispano, so every group gets to interact with that one and get used to the analysis procedure.

"Sección dos" and "Sección tres", however, are more like HOW and WHAT to do to attract that market. So since everyone has a different product to peddle, I'm going to let each group choose which of those secciones could help them most. I'm thinking a text rendering protocol will help students get the gist of each and then negotiate which section will actually help them sell that product.

After the decision, the procedure goes like this:
  1. Vocabulary focus
  2. Information analysis
  3. Strategy discussion

Vocabulary focus

First, everyone from the group chooses a different page that they will interpret. Then they highlight everything they can understand on their page--cognates, verbs, conjunctions--even if it's repeated. Ideally, this establishes how much they already know and helps shift focus away from the unknown and perhaps lower the affective filter a smidge. It also makes the searches to follow a little more targeted.

To that end, I also made a little visual glossary for a few key words I knew were going to come in handy, and they copied it into their interactive notebooks.

Highlighting and glossing complete, we open the Doc and begin the real work.


  1. Everyone picks out ALL of the cognates they think they can find and lists them on their analysis page.
  2. Individuals may then choose up to SEVEN words they want to look up--but CANNOT look them up yet (everyone should jot down at least two).
  3. They must add their best guess for EVERY possible meaning/definition for the look-up words on their partners' Docs (or comment with "de acuerdo" if they think their partner's right.
  4. THEN after ALL the commenting, THEN they can look up the words on WordReference to confirm and fill in the definición correcta for each.


  1. Use the little folder next to the Doc title to organize and add their results Doc to the group folder within the shared class folder.
  2. Review each other's vocabulary and comment on partners' definition guesses (agree OR other suggestions)
  3. Comment on patterns observed in cognates.
  4. Return to your own Doc and look up words and add them to the Doc.

Information Analysis

Remember, the text here is not just a sample for interpreting: it is a source of ideas to improve their product marketing to appeal to el mercado hispano. And so, because I am not using the task to evaluate distinct skills like I would in an IPA, the young ones keep their graphic and textual analysis in Spanish, and they will start processing the information to extract what they can USE for their products and HOW.

Though the young ones did just spend roughly half a class carefully picking out what they can understand, scaffolding is still the name of the game. So break down graphics, THEN text.

Graphics & text interpretation

  1. Review the graphic(s) on your own page and summarize the information they represent in one sentence in Spanish.
  2. Explain why the group needs the information
  3. Explain how the group can use the information
  4. Copy at least 3 key phrases from the non-graphic text into the chart.
  5. Explain why the group needs the information in each key phrase.
  6. Explain how the group can use the information in each phrase.
  7. Review your group members' Docs and add a comment on at least one fact from each member's interpretation with another idea on how the group can use it.

The last step where they read each other's information is designed to set them up for a productive conversation about what they got from their respective pages. Honestly, I got tired of watching conversation videos where they copied off of each other's page instead of probing and answering. This way the conversation can serve as more of an inspiration gap than information gap, and they'll feel prepared to have it. 

Strategy Discussion

I need a set-up that requires asking questions at least as much as answering them, since the inability to come up with questions on the fly has been one of the culprits trapping some of my parrot babies at Novice Mid. So rather than feed them questions, each person gets a topic that needs to be addressed to connect the product to the audience, and they'll take down their partner's responses.

This means they have to ask the right questions, first!

To help prompt them, I provide little half-sheet recording boxes for each group, and they divvy up the topics, hopefully so everyone gets a topic they're comfortable with in an order they're comfortable with.  There are also a few hints that could help them come up with questions that will actually stimulate responses from their partners, descriptions like divertido and atractivo under Elementos del producto that questioners could turn into ¿Cómo es el producto divertido? or ¿Por qué es el producto atractivo? 

After groups have broken down two sections of this report accordingly, they should be well-prepared for their "executive" tasks. Each group member has selected a role for the whole product project, and with this information

  • The CEO should be ready to collect interview results and prepare their market research summary.
  • The Advertising Executive should be ready to coordinate a commercial that appeals to the Latino market.
  • The Manufacturing Executive should be able to design a prototype that would capture their demographic's eye.
  • And thee Technology Executive should be ready to set up a social media campaign that will take the mercado hispano by storm!

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