Beginner-level video: This is a second-semester Spanish class of 10 students that I taught on Apirl 18, 2014. In this class, students are discussing the movie Al otro lado. I structured the class around a comparison of the 3 main characters in the film. I ask students to share their ideas in a Venn diagram, to help them elevate the analytic level of their observations. In addition to requiring advanced language skills, making comparisons is a skill that they will use in their work in any field. Working in groups, the students then write dialogues based on the film using the future and present perfect, tenses. As they had studied these tenses previously, I workshop the grammar with students in small groups, and bring common errors to the attention of the whole class.
I was happy to see that every student participated in the class discussion and activities. As I was teaching I saw that the Venn Diagram activity was a difficult task for the students. In order to give them more time to work with it, I would return to this activity the following day, asking students to use the diagrams to write comparative sentences. In my coursesI often return to topics over the course of several lessons in order to build deeper skills over time.
Upper-intermediate-level video: This is a fourth-semester Spanish class that I taught on Nov 21, 2013. The topic for the day was to discuss the novel Las batallas en el desierto, by José Emilio Pacheco, through the 8th chapter. The lesson plan, class activity, and slides that I used are available in my class materials. This is also the same lesson that was observed by a colleague when I taught SPAN140 in the spring of 2012. In this segment, students are discussing their perceptions of a series of artists that I display on PowerPoint slides. They explain who the person is, what they are famous for, and how society perceives them. I help to structure the conversation by asking leading questions and pausing to workshop major grammatical structures (the conditional, the pluperfect subjunctive, gender agreement, etc.).
This class impressed me with their verbal skills and enthusiasm for class discussion. I adapted my lesson plan by replacing an activity about the novel’s chronology with an open-ended activity comparing students perceptions about cultural icons in Mexico and the United States. I then returned to the topic of the day, which was to express opinions about society’s perception of mental health and fine-tune how students use the subjunctive.
Observations of me teaching:
SPAN140, fall 2013 – Substitute class of fourth-semester Spanish language
Observation by Dr. Ame Cividanes, Spanish Language Program Director, Yale U.
SPAN 140, spring 2013 – Fourth-semester Spanish language
Observation by Annie de Saussure, Ph. D. Candidate in French, Yale U.
SPAN 110, fall 2011 – First-semester Spanish language
Observation by Dr. Maria de la Paz Garcia, Spanish 110 Course Coordinator, Yale U.
Me observing others:
SPAN 324, fall 2013 – Advanced seminar in contemporary Spanish literature
RUSS 110, fall 2012 – First-semester Russian language class