Why use a continuing series or a telenovela in your classes of all levels of Spanish for an entire academic year? Our programs are flexible and fit a variety of schedules and configurations for in class work, student work out of the classroom, blended learning, or purely online use.
When the prototype was first created for Elementary college Spanish, it was imperative to find a show that had a range of characters of all ages and types along with compare and contrast amongst the characters. Typical telenovelas certainly have opposing characters but many storylines can be bad and very formulaic. We are so excited to have these new, more modern series and novelas for your students. (Our first projects for High School and College 1 both just ended their broadcast in 2017!) They have been picked with great care to reflect the Spanish-speaking world in a more positive light than found in older telenovelas (extremely poor vs. extremely rich and the like), or the more violent narco series and shows that are popular with native audiences. This is not to say any fun is lost from what a typical telenovela might offer, but you will be pleasantly surprised to see that some Spanish TV now favors more a continuing series format than a telenovela such as our parents’ generation enjoyed.
In August of 2017, I interviewed Prof. Sue Pechter of Northwestern University, and Senior Editor of EduNovela.com. We discussed the use of the prototype project developed by a colleague of Sue's, a year-long authentic telenovela, in her Spanish 101 classes for many years. Here are her responses:
When using the prototype program for EduNovela.com, why was it so successful for so many years? Sue replied, “The continuing storyline really engaged the students. “The show included interesting multigenerational characters with scenes of daily life (eating, celebrations, shopping, school, etc.) which effectively worked to both tie in and broaden our text topics.”
Why is a continuing series or telenovela more engaging than something made for the classroom? Sue replied " The show was exciting and edited to leave cliffhangers at the end of many episodes. The students actually looked forward to doing their Spanish homework! They came in to class chatting about the previous episode and speculating about what was going to happen. They were very relieved to discover a Spanish telenovela has a conclusion. After the year long course, many students in second year Spanish mentioned that they missed using the novela.”
Was your teaching made easier with a continuing series for an entire academic year? Sue replied, "In class, it gave us a topic to use for discussion along with activities that interested everyone. I normally find it challenging to find topics that engage the whole class-– not everyone cares about the weekend sports events, music, etc. It greatly enhanced student participation during class."
Thank you, Sue for your insights!