Music, poetry and the transiton to democracy
Begoña does her best to put us to sleep by beginning the class with a slow song by Rosanna, "si tú no estás aqui." She wakes us up with "no dudaría" by Antonio Flores. We grammar teachers really wake up when Begoña highlights the contrary-to-fact if clauses, contrasting them to the simple present / future tense clauses that make any sentimental romantic tear-up. Connecting grammar and music is not new, but we are able to swap ideas and resources with the common Facebook page, linking us for future collaboration.
The shortest short story in Spanish was written by Central American writer, Augusto Monterroso. It goes like this: "Upon awaking, the dinosaur was already there." My translation is probably as good as the next guy's, but it sounds a bit more clever and nuanced in Spanish, which is another reason to have students read the original. Today's topic in Francisco's class is how to select authentic literature in the L2 classroom. Allow me to mention just one: it should be at the students' level +1, enough to hook them while also challenging them. The examples, playful and thought-provoking, come from writers like Mario Benedetti and Gloria Fuentes.
Ana is our cultural attaché for today. She explains, in a very engaging way, the transition to democracy, starting in 1975 with Franco's death, a referendum approving a Constitution In 1978, elections in 1979 and a failed coup in 1981. There have been six national elections since, and either the PSOE or the PP wins. The most dramatic elections coincided with the March 11, 2004 terrorist train bombing in Madrid that was attributed to Al Qaida. Like all real democracies, like all real teachers, the transition toward our goals is always a work in progress. Connecting, once again, the arts with the academics of everday life, Ana plays a touching song, composed after the train bombing, and an homage to the victims. Called JUEVES, by the group, Oreja de Van Gough, it's hard not to cry. It's a love song about two young people who ride the same morning commute, notice each other, always too shy to talk to each other, yet building that part of the relationship that precedes words. The moment of finally finding the courage to exchange their first hello coincides with the terrible train explosion. Enough said.