NATIONAL STANDARDS: COMMUNICATION, CULTURES, COMPARISONS, AND COMMUNITIES
Hispanic traditions and customs cannot be defined in a paragraph or in a book but in volumes of books. Hispanics share Spanish as the main language of communication; however, some words vary in meaning in different countries. Indigenous languages are still spoken all over Latin America. Hispanic traditions, customs, celebrations are similar; yet, some may vary from country to country. Do all Hispanics in the United States practice these traditions? Some Hispanics have completely assimilated into American life and do not practice their traditions. For others, traditions, customs, and celebrations are part of their everyday lives. Let's take a glimpse of Hispanic traditions, customs, celebrations, and other areas that are practiced throughout the Spanish-speaking world.
Activity: Students select a topic of interest or review one assigned by the teacher to research and to prepare a presentation. (See examples) The presentation may be written (PPT), oral, visual, or a combination of all three depending on the topic.
NATIONAL STANDARDS: COMMUNICATION, CONNECTIONS, COMMUNITIES
One of the best ways to explore Hispanic Heritage Month is to learn about the past history of Hispanic peoples in order to obtain a better understanding of who Hispanics are today. Our Hispanic roots can be traced back centuries with roots both in the Iberian Peninsula and the Americas. It is important to study our roots from both perspectives in order to understand who Hispanics are today.
Activity: Students work in small groups to research information and from that research develop a PowerPoint, a collage with illustrations and written descriptions on a display board, or a pamphlet on one of the topics listed below or a topic of their choice with teacher approval.
I have a confession to make. I am a grammar nerd. I love grammar. I always have, and always will.
Now, before you get all aflutter or vote me off the island or anything, let me explain. It’s somewhat unpopular to be fond of participles nowadays. Even the word “grammar” is passé; we prefer to speak in euphemisms like “forms” or “structures.” The grammar movement seems to have passed out of fashion around the turn of the century, or at least when Latin was the “world language” in vogue. Those teachers who are passionate about “Communication” (as though it could happen without grammar) seem to scorn the affinity for grammar like the head cheerleader scorns the chess club in a bad teen movie. And like that chess club, some of us grammar geeks have felt the peer pressure to fit in, leave grammatical explanations aside, embrace the catch phrases of language pedagogy as though we truly ascribed to them and only them. “Cool! Rad! Spiffy!” we say. But we don’t really mean it.
Dr. Peter B. Swanson
Georgia State University
For years it has been noted that language teaching and learning are social processes and that the teaching of language is the teaching of culture. Thanasoulas (2001) suggests that culture and communication are inseparable because “culture not only dictates who talks to whom, about what, and how the communication proceeds, it also helps to determine how people encode messages, the meanings they have for messages, and the conditions and circumstances under which various messages may or may not be sent, noticed, or interpreted.”
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