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The nightmare of conjugate in Spanish

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by LAURACALDAS, Mar 16, 2016.


    LAURACALDAS New commenter

  2. Vladimir

    Vladimir Senior commenter

    Nice flowers!
  3. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    It's far less complicated, surely, to simply have lists with the pronouns already linked with the verb root, plus the correct ending?
    Lara mfl 05 and Vladimir like this.
  4. Vladimir

    Vladimir Senior commenter

    Obviously! I wonder how much lesson time is wasted on this rubbish! How long have pupils spent drawing flowers into their exercise books and colouring them in without learning anything from them?

    Just take it away and learn it by rote until you know it! Then you can conjugate like a diva can warble. It all comes down to low expectations of what pupils can do, which they exploit, and the urge to 'Sesame Street' everything in the belief it somehow takes the pain out of learning. No pain, no gain!
  5. steveglover

    steveglover New commenter

    Vladimir, if chanting lists of verbs were the the key to becoming a linguist we could all master a language in a week. You do yourself no credit by attacking these beautifully designed resources accompanied by a thoughtful blog which does contain your lists. I'm prepared to bet that Laura' classes will have a much more positive attitude towards language learning than your own; congratulations for going "analogue" Laura as I'm sure that using tactile resources is a plus in the world of PowerPoint-if very time consuming.
  6. Geoff Thomas

    Geoff Thomas Star commenter

    I would also suggest that chanting conjugations is no way to learn a new language.
    Landofla likes this.
  7. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    I noticed that the blogs contained the lists and wondered what the purpose of the colourful flowers were. They didn't help to match up the root and ending and didn't indicate which pronoun went with which ending. They only had the endings in order if the pupil knew to use the flowers like a clock and start at the 12 o.clock position of the petals.
    It's basic time wasting that keeps children on an unnecesary task. At the end of the day, pupils need to refer to the lists given (found in any MFL textbook) and learn/use them.
    Some things have to be rote learned to speed up progress and the flowers simply slow things down and disguise that rote learning is the next stage.
    I would find the flowers or something similar a way to introduce formal grammar to primary age children, however, but my information is that most MFL at KS1 and 2 is oral and that written, formal work is discouraged.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  8. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    I am from the generation that chanted lists of verbs (1965-1972). MFL was not studied by all pupils yet there was a bigger take-up at A level and at university than nowadays, where MFL university departments are closing down.
    My Grammar school had 450 pupils aged 11-16 and approx 70 in the sixth form. Out of 35 in my Lower Sixth, 7 of us took Spanish A level and 12 of us took French. (My other subject was Pure & Applied Maths, with only 2 of us taking that).
    As a proportion of those who started learning an MFL, far more pursued it to O level and beyond.
    Those who could not cope with the demands of the O level, studied CSE and that was a great vehicle for delivering cultural awareness and general knowledge as well as a smattering of useful (for holidays etc) language.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  9. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    I stand by my comments but I'm feeling bad about the effect they may have had on Lauracaldas.
    She probably did not learn English in Spain via the method she posted, just as I didn't learn Spanish that way years ago.
    She has arrived here and has been told that this is how we deliver education to British pupils and she's been required to follow suit, doing exactly what we all had to do to get QTS on PGCE courses in the last 20 years or so.
    I can remember having a completely blind boy in one of my mainstream Spanish classes on teaching practice. You wouldn't believe the hours I spent making tactile objects for him for my first lesson in charge! The idea was that his TA would pass him the required object every time I introduced a new word.
    I was called to see the woman in charge of the visually impaired and she told me that it was a ridiculous effort that would make complicate things for the boy. He had EARS and would immediately know what I meant if I simply told him in English instead of making him guess what my physical object was!
    I was grateful for that dressing-down as the scales fell from my eyes and I realised how daft it was that we were using so many flashcards etc with all the other pupils to introduce vocabulary, when saying the English word or phrase would be much more efficient.
    I actually challenged the Communicative methodology in one of my PGCE essays.
    I had been using the flashcards that were supplied with the French textbook and the one for station showed a train at a platform with passengers milling around. I had been calling out 'la gare' every time I showed the card, as the topic was Places In The Town, and the pupils were soon beating me to it when I showed the picture. I decided to test them in a more traditional way and gave them a written vocabulary test, where I supplied the French column.

    Just over half the Year 7 pupils, mindful of the topic under study, put 'the station' next to 'la gare'. The rest had understood 'the train' or 'the platform'.
    All that time and effort and the 'fun' games with the flashcards (I did a version of noughts and crosses in teams with the pictures) and too many had been learning the wrong information. All they had needed was a French English list at the start of the topic and lots of practice copying the pronunciation.
    -myrtille- likes this.

    LAURACALDAS New commenter

    Hello everyone! I didn't expect so many comments to be honest!
    I used this technique also with adults it's just a visual and different way to introduce the concept of conjugate that's it they don't spend hours drawing flowers this is just a resource and you have to know how to use it not just judge just the photos.
    I didn't feel ofended in any moment by any of the comments, but I think that you may imagine my lessons just drawing flowers over and over again. The students that work with this method vs the ones who learned it by the "boring" tradicional way is quite a big difference.
    Landofla likes this.
  11. Vladimir

    Vladimir Senior commenter

    Hi Laura!
    You're a good sport and thanks for sharing your ideas. I'm glad you didn't take offence, but there's still time! I have yet to add my detailed comments to this thread.
    What I will say in your favour is that you are making as point of teaching the grammar, and grammar is key to language learning, in my opinion, even if I don't agree with how you are teaching it. I see where your ideas are coming from. The boring way makes better linguists, by the way.
    Would you be offended if I offered you a slight correction? The noun is 'conjugation' or 'conjugating' as a verbal noun, so you'd say 'the concept/nightmare of conjugation/conjugating in Spanish'.
  12. veverett

    veverett Occasional commenter

    That's an excellent way to respond to the comments on the ideas you shared.
  13. Vladimir

    Vladimir Senior commenter

    Thank you.

    LAURACALDAS New commenter

    Thanks! I still having some problems in English every little helps
  15. Malaguena

    Malaguena New commenter

    I love the flowers too Laura but I agree it looks very time consuming. As far as planning and resources go, I have stopped spending hours making pretty things. We use a book that all students have a copy of and that comes with Active Teach. I use all flash cards, worksheets and activities that comes with it. Job done - the pros do the work for you. It comes down to the old "why have a dog and bark yourself?".
  16. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    During my long teaching career I conducted many lines of small-scale research and created plenty of resources to support my classroom practice. I never did so just for the sake of it, however. My starting point was always an irritant, usually an annoyance that the course materials I was expected to follow tended to exercerbate, rather than mitigate, the learning difficulties of the students with special educational needs in my French and German classes. These young people needed suitably differentiated tasks to work on and such activities were hard to find anywhere, particularly for languages other than French. Sometimes I found there was really no alternative but to write my own material to plug the gaps.

    I don't know whether anybody else has been on to Laura's TES Resource area to see what's there. Her Spanish conjugation game has been downloaded 100 times, so there must be some interest in trying it out. I see that she has created another resource using the same dice format. This is the key to efficiency in resource creation: never start with a blank page, load a successful resource into the computer and begin editing it to serve a different teaching purpose. This saves time and effort. I often used a tried and tested file format when I made resources for my French, German and literacy development classes. The resources I've uploaded to my own TES resource area and shared with all comers have helped me do my job better in reaching every child in my classes, not just the able and average students that commercial courses seem to target. I don't regret for a moment spending the time it took to make them, as they've seen plenty of use over recent years and I've learned a great deal myself about the subject matter and methodology of MFL while designing them. I expect Laura has the same experience.
    LAURACALDAS likes this.

    LAURACALDAS New commenter

    Thank you for such lovely answer! It looks that we still facing teaching techniques that are based in the past. Spending time doing different resources is not a waste a time is also creating resources that you can use for many years.
    Dodros likes this.
  18. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    ... but once you get past the bit where you distribute the stem and endings of verbs to a flower stems and petals, your charts are exactly what we all used in the past! It's the charts that facilitate the learning of the verbs as you need the consistent order of the pronouns, linked to the verb endings, to have a correct reference point. All the rest is just decoration.
  19. Vladimir

    Vladimir Senior commenter

    Yep. It's a WOFTAM. At least she is trying to teach the grammar. I think it's about time we exterminated this ridiculous phobia towards grammar. You won't get far in science without knowing the periodic table, yet no-one pisses and whines about that.

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