Whether you are a communicative language teacher à la Jack Richards or a freestyling libertarian pedagogue à la Ivan Illich, you probably think that nothing is more important (and complicated) than language production. Arguably, nothing is harder than getting your students to speak or write creatively. That is why conversation starters can be a great ally in the Spanish MFL class.
No matter how much you drill and instill in your students a growth mindset based on Carol S. Dweck’s Mindset: the New Psychology of Success and defend the uses of getting it wrong following Alina Tugend’s Better by Mistake: The Unexpected Benefits of Being Wrong, there is a chance your students will resist it with every fiber of their body—and hide behind their books, their classmates, or even their tables.
However, language teachers embrace failure… because failure can be productive, as Dr. Manu Kapur has amply demonstrated in the realm of STEM learning, and as any MFL teacher will tell you without feeling the slightest urge to reach out to a research-based study.
About this resource
ÍNSULA BARATARIA brings you (under the watchful eye of Sancho Panza, our sapiente y comiente Gobernador) these conversation starter questions, based on the 5 different color-coded modules of the second edition of Pearson’s Spanish Viva 3 Rojo Pupil Book for KS3 (Y8). This resource corresponds to Module 1, «Somos así».
All 10 questions in each module are formulated in Spanish and English, and accompanied by a daily breakdown of 3-4 questions with their corresponding response sentence starters in Spanish. Depending on the level of your students, chances are that you will use them for 2 or 3 classes. You will begin every single class with students speaking and give a little boost of confidence to anyone struggling in the room.
You can download the conversation starters right here, or clicking on the images.
It could get sweeter, but probably would not be ready-made and dirty cheap. Go ahead, do your thing, go teach.