As I noted last year, I used tertulia with mixed success during my Spanish V class. While I enjoyed that students could find a topic that interested them, it ended up being too presentation-y and not enough of a conversation. I think one of the problems was that most groups preferred to do videos, and then students couldn’t participate that easily because they didn’t know enough about the topic. Also, the group presenting worried too much about the presentation/slideshow that they were doing and not enough about the questions. The questions ended up being more comprehension questions and didn’t necessarily spur conversation. Interestingly enough, one of the best conversations that the students had revolved around music and their likes and dislikes.
I decided last year to have students find an article to bring in to share. I decided to expand this to including a video too. Since we are reading Vidas Impactantes, students can find a current event related to one of the people highlighted in the chapter or from the country. For example, I said that after reading about Roberto Clemente, some ideas could include: Puerto Rico, baseball or discrimination. I also decided that this year, I would model how I wanted students to prepare by preparing for the first one myself. I decided to choose this video about hurricane homes that two entrepreneurs developed in Puerto Rico. We can start out by discussing if students like them or not, and what they think they should include. We could also talk about what they would bring to these homes to escape a hurricane. Also, students can explain where they think these homes would be needed.
This is the current description for this year. I will continue to reflect on how this process is going. I think that these tertulias can really encourage some great conversation. Have you tried tertulias? How do you make them work in your class?