We are getting quite a number of questions about our methodology. Thank you for asking, and yes, we are excited to give more details about it as a framework for your class. Whether using one of the new EduNovela TV programs as a supplement to your existing materials, or whether tossing out those expensive text books and websites, you will find our products applicable. Please also read our earlier blog posts about how to fit EduNovela.com into your own school, on your schedule.
We are excited to share with you the dynamic classroom you can create using a continuing online story, and even more exciting, one that is authentic and fresh. If you saw our presentation at ACTFL, you heard about our previous success using this methodology for 15 years at Northwestern University starting in 2000.
If you ever used the great 1993 made-for-classroom series Destinos, you know the value of a continuing storyline. We loved Destinos. (Check out our earlier blog posts.) If you teach high school, you'll likely remember the 1996 La Catrina or the lesser known Cuarto misterioso. Though those are all made for the classroom, surely your students still enjoyed the break from the monotony of the text.
In my own classes, my students generally watch one episode of Silvana sin lana (the EduNovela.com version of the NBCUniversal Telemundo production) in class on their own devices with earbuds and one episode for homework, alternating as we go. This is great for high school classes that meet frequently. Though, I've lately been selfish and I've been wanting them to watch more in class. It is simply too much fun for me to teach. As we get more into grammar, I find that I can pause everyone after they watch each scene and work in my grammar lessons with easily crafted questions and activities (think possessive adjectives, por vs. para, comparatives, and the like).
For college classes, we definitely recommend, as we have done at Northwestern University, out-of-class as the best time to watch. Your class periods will be full of conversation covering what they watched in their dorms or at home!
How is it that students can start speaking the L2 in the first week of class, even in Spanish 1? If you don’t need to teach Spanish in the order that most traditional textbooks tend to present it, because it is not mandated for you, why not try the EudNovela.com teaching methodology? It can fit any textbook but you may wish to give this a try...
We immerse your students immediately into vocabulary that they need to support conversation from the first day of classes, talking about the tv show and about themselves. Why do most beginning textbooks start with a list of 30 words for classroom objects like ruler, pencil sharpener, pencil, pen, and map? Those are words your students will learn from hearing you say them every day in your classroom; no need to memorize them.
Try starting with our vocabulary lists. (See the "Reading Help" section of our samples.) Imagine a textbook or even sections of your current textbook where you start as we do with the subject pronouns, the family words, the verb ser and the adjectives of physical appearance and personality.
That way your students can start speaking about their real world right from the first day. After all how much conversation can you have about a pencil sharpener or a ruler? Classroom words do not provoke conversation. With EduNovela.com, the students are speaking about the storyline, but of course, you will lead them into conversation about themselves and their lives.
Imagine that your next few lessons were estar plus emotions and feelings and tener with a few expressions including tener que and deber plus infinitive. You will continue to grow their vocabulary about people (friends, relationships, professionals) and ir plus add frequently visited places such as home, the rooms, school, some of the various rooms of your school, and the like.
Start using regular ar/er/ir verbs to state what is happening and daily activities. Add the negative and you've doubled their speaking ability.
You will also throw in some verbal expressions like ir + a + infinitive, creer, pensar, that give us an option to talk about events. You’ve just increased their ability now to speak in the present tense and the future and to describe what’s going on along with what’s not happening.
Then instead of moving immediately through the textbook from regular ar/er/ir verbs through stem changing verbs, and more irregular verbs they will rarely ever use (think caber!), give them only the high frequency verbs for mastery.
Continue adding words such as household words, again things that are very real to them such as furniture, clothing, cleaning, food, meals, and shopping.
Little by little go back to your textbook and explain some of that grammar.
This way by the end of your first semester in Spanish 1 along with watching a continuing storyline about family and including people their age, parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, principals, you will find your students have maximum vocabulary to talk not only about the TV show but also about themselves.
In Spanish 1, high school or college, with this methodology as the framework, my students can go the entire class without breaking into English, and in most cases without even asking questions.
You can go back to the book frequently to fill in gaps like adjectives of nationality, pronunciation of countries, and other such items.
Give us a try! See our 3 sample episodes, posted under "products."
EduNovela.com authors offer their insights!