Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, Grammar and Culture

Tricky grammar details and more film:

Begoña continues to throw challenging grammar our way.  Today's topic is the past tense, specifically the difference between "el indefinido" and the "imperfecto."  Her examples are confusing and nuanced.  We all seemed interested in digging deep here to pull accurate meaning, and we realize what our students must feel like.  Among all of us we have well over 100 years of experience, and it is nice to see how the old timers know some things and how the young teachers are up to date in other areas.  Begoña herself has a wealth of strategies for teaching the finer points of grammar.  Thanks to Emiley, we all will probably use the example of an egg white surrounding its yolk when we teach the past tense next year.  What a great visual! 

We continue our discussion of the differences between the educational systems of the US and Spain while making our way through page 19 of the wokbook.  Our homework on this page is thought provoking.

Francisco recommends we read the book that inspired last night's movie, "los girasoles ciegos" from 2004.  We learn the word "topos" (moles) to refer to those Republican resisters who hid inside their own homes during the 40 years of the Franco Dictatorship.  The topos were the ones who could not afford or simply chose not to leave the country despite the persecution.  What this meant was that they lived underground for forty years, and in many cases went crazy in the process.  Francisco also gives us a long list of the best movies and books that have been published in the last 30 years to help us understand modern day Spain.  Our discussions lead us to asking about Opus Dei, and his personal experience with this religious group gives us a first hand account of Opus Dei's presence in modern Spanish society.  I wish I could say more, but my paraphrasing cannot adequately capture the story he told us.  Ask me about it in person if you actually read this far. 

Tonight's movie is called "Un franco, 14 pesetas" (One Franc, 14 pesetas).  I actually clapped at the end of this film.  Again, it deals with the post-Civil War Spain, around 1960 and one family's struggle to make ends meet.  It is funny, sad and poignant in a very charming way.  The problem with all of these Spanish films so far is that we probably cannot use them in our classrooms because of nudity, despite the fact that the nudity is more natural and less sensational than in American cinema.  Tomorrow Francisco promises to teach us strategies for using just fragments of movies in the classroom.  This we can do in some of our classrooms.  You decide.  Does this blog now have a new rating?

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