Halfway through the year, I found this tertulia idea on Facebook, and I thought this was the perfect idea for my level 5 class. (I think this could easily be adapted for a level 4 class as well!) Each class has 9 students, so we divided into 3 groups then each group took one Friday. Overall, I liked a lot of aspects about it. I liked the choice that my students had. It also covered some topics that we don’t have time to discuss in class. I have also found this year while teaching Spanish V, my students do well with more autonomy. They are mature students, so they can manage their time well and work independently.
While my first two groups were pretty good on the first Friday, the next two groups ended up being too much presentational speaking instead of interpersonal speaking. I don’t mind presentational speaking, but I was grading both the tertulia leaders and the participants. It was difficult at times to grade the participants if they only asked two questions. However, since that was most of the class, it seemed that my directions were not as clear as they should be.
This time, I am putting much more emphasis on the actual questions that they are asking. I told them to write more questions and questions that can be used for discussion. One group discussed Roberto Clemente and discussed the obligation of sports players to help their communities. (Also- they found a great video that is pretty comprehensible for intermediate-advanced learners!)
Next year, I want to start in the first trimester. In the first trimester, I will bring in people from our community to tell their story with my students. I also am switching books from Frida Kahlo to Vidas Impactantes. (Mainly because my class this year became too Mexico centered.) I also want to start with a small group of students bringing in a news articles to discuss from each country. Then in the second and third trimester, I will allow students to choose their topics. I believe that this will help because students will start with a narrow topic. Also, my students’ default idea was to use a video. However, it is easier for my students to reference an article when they are discussing it instead of a video that they cannot go back and rewatch.
Have you tried a tertulia? What are your take aways and reflections?