Narrative-based Foreign Language Teaching

LA VIRGEN DE GUADALUPE: A Culture Changed by a Work of Art

  The day of the Virgin of Guadalupe is December 12. Spanish students deserve to know about this holiday and it's deep religious and cultural symbolism. Students need to know that this image sparked one of he greatest sociological and cultural shifts in history and changed the mental landscape of Latin America forever. Here is the story of La Virgen de Guadalupe in two novice-level Spanish versions. Your Spanish 1 and 2 students will be able to read them and your upper level students will benefit greatly from the deeper historical and cultural understanding. LA VIRGEN DE GUADALUPE SIMPLIFIED LA [...]


When I was beginning to learn TPRS I remember Susan Gross saying, "Shelter the vocabulary but not the grammar." Why? Because that's how we actually use language. When adults speak to children they use less advanced words but they do not shelter the grammar. They do not use only what we language teachers think of as simple grammar. They use any tense or mood that is suitable, but they unconsciously bring down the level of the vocabulary. Here is an example of why we need to teach multiple tenses. It is not a message for a child, but it is [...]


When I started doing “Special Person” student interviews I had an interviewing model in mind. It was Oprah. Having that model in my head helped me to keep me on track in rambling interviews with kids that didn’t even know what they wanted to share. And Oprah was a good example. She could show that she cared and that she wanted to listen. I would imagine Oprah and use her body language and earnest questioning style with students in my classroom. Having a current model is even more necessary now as I try to explain the technique to teachers from [...] LADY OF GUADALUPE

Our Lady of Guadalupe, or Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, is a major holiday in Mexico. Not an official state holiday, but one of the people. So much so that streets, squares and many public services are shut down due to the large number of people in the streets. Here is a short reading in level 2-4 Spanish about this holiday and sociological phenomenon in Latin America LA VIRGEN DE GUADALUPE I had a great time drawing this picture based upon the original tilma as I listened to articles about the Virgen.


“I don’t know how one develops imagination without reading fiction”—Diane Ravitch I buy all the novels for my students that our school budget allows because our students need to be reading fiction more than non-fiction. Here are some reasons reading novels will help our students both as language learners and as well-rounded human beings: 1. Readers learn more vocabulary from novels. In a novel the vocabulary repeats itself more than that in non-fiction texts because the setting and the situations tend to be revisited and referred to over and over. This helps a reader to pick up both high frequency [...]


 THE GIRL AND THE CAT This is a whimsical story for novice language classes that uses high frequency vocabulary. It deals with coming-of-age issues and also has elements of other disciplines, including numbers, built in to it. The nature of the story requires repetition in order for students to get the final question. The story and questions are in both Spanish and English and in the present and past tenses.