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Thursday, November 13, 2014 (read 1849 times)
A Questionnaire in Spanishby Lauris
The other day I was poking around on the internet, an activity I often partake in and one which sometimes provides rewarding surprises, when I stumbled upon a questionnaire that seems to have similar questions that foreigners hoping to obtain Spanish citizenship must answer as a final step in the bureaucratic process that involves.
After taking the test myself I discovered that I’d gotten one of the questions wrong. That made me think that this material, regardless of who it was designed for, offers us an excellent opportunity to create a classroom exercise that could help us touch on the topic of multi-culturalism and reading comprehension.
Given the format of the online questionnaire, which makes it difficult to show here, I took the liberty of compiling the 77 questions that make up the document and I’ve put it in the format of a text, with the answers at the bottom.
There are a few trick questions here, where you have to pay special attention to small details to get the right answer. Look at questions 21 and 27 for example; the first one asks about the longest river in Spain and the second one about the longest in the Iberian Peninsula. That detail is essential.
Exercises for Our Spanish Students
I was talking about all this with Bernd, a student-friend of mine. Although he’s a microbiologist, he also teaches Spanish at a high school in Germany. We got the idea that this type of material could make for an engaging and useful exercise for our students.
The first step is to spark a conversation in class about the requisites involved in obtaining Spanish citizenship, which include passing an exam on Spanish language and culture. Exam takers need a pretty high level of Spanish, questions like number 31 wouldn’t be easy to understand for an A2 level speaker for example.
This activity is mainly for groups of between 20 and 30 students who will be in the same class together for at least a term, any less time would clearly not be enough. This exercise would be tough to pull off with a group of students who are only together for one week. You could do it though by making a few changes however and focusing on just a few of the questions.
Let’s suppose that you’re working with a group of, say, 25 high school students who have 3 hours of Spanish per week. Okay, the first thing to do is, once you’ve had the initial discussion we talked about, divide the class into 5 groups of 5. Assign each group a number of questions (15 or 16) and ask them to look for the answers wherever and whenever they want.
Once they’ve found the answers, each group must present their questions and explain them to the rest of the class, going on to talk about the answers they found and the trouble they may have had trying to find them.
It’s very important that you ask students to listen to the explanations of their classmates and that they do NOT take notes, they just have to pay attention to the presentations.
Once the “round of explanations” is complete, allow a few days to pass so students can forget a little bit about the information they’ve heard. Then show them the entire questionnaire, asking them to complete it within 35 minutes.
Once they’ve finished the test, students must correct the test of the person sitting to their right. Then with the class you can make up a statistical survey of the most incorrectly answered questions. Establish another discussion on why these questions were so hard. Try to get students to make conclusions in which the whole group can see that questions on history, current social and political matters, etc. are particularly difficult, especially for someone who isn’t culturally and linguistically immersed in the situation.
Answering questionnaires of this type can be a humbling experience for teachers too, and they may serve as a reminder of just how important it is for everyone who works in the education field to constantly keep themselves up to date on current information.
Keywords: classroom activities,spanish citizenship,spanish reading comprehension,questionnaire in spanish,activities for spanish class