We thought we’d take the time to share some of our most provoking posts; ones that lead to some good discussions. We’d love for you to continue the discussions. We all learn when we share our perspectives. Click on each of the headlines below and add your own comments!
Why I don’t give my students Spanish names
I thought I was in the minority by not giving my students names in the target language. But looking at the comments, it pretty split down the middle. My biggest challenge to teachers that do give names is that they have a reason for doing so, and not because “it’s always been done”. I wonder where this tradition started because I don’t know any culture that assigns “English” names when learning English or any other language.
Cinco de Mayo
We’ve written about this so-called holiday in at least 5 posts. This is our oldest posts which explains why we think it is damaging to “celebrate” this holiday. Every year I have a discussion with my students about the history of what happened on May 5, 1862 at Puebla. If you are looking for a reason to bring chips and salsa to class, find another reason.
Effective WL Instructors…
We took some statements from evaluations of a spanish teacher and put together 6 habits that effective world language teachers demonstrate in their teaching. Much of the discussion here revolves around the use of the target language in class and the use of English. Take a look at the list. Which habits do you demonstrate? Which habits do you think are more important?
Confession: I didn’t study in Spain. Confession: I live in the United States. Confession: My best friend is Mexican. As a result of these, I do not use the vosotros form. Never have. Never will. And I won’t apologize for it. Am I being irresponsible? Have your say in the comments.
Silencing the Talking Taco
Perception is reality. And if we summarizes the richness of the culture of the Spanish speaking world with a taco or a maraca, we are doing a great disservice. If I never see a cactus or sombrero again, I would be happy.
Add your comments to the existing discussions.
I like to give my students Spanish names because the names flow better as we speak Spanish. I name my students instead of letting them pick their own name so I can remember them easier. It is either a translation of their own name or something very similar. Since I’m Hispanic my mom always translated our American friends names. Also think about how many immigrant names were changed when they came to this country because their names were hard to pronounce. I also have a hard time pronouncing some of my students names, but I don’t have to worry about that if I have renamed them in Spanish!
I assign Spanish names to my students because names are part of a culture. In my first year teaching Spanish to elementary students, I followed the previous teacher’s routine and did not assign Spanish names. When the 5th graders took their standardized tests, many of them did not recognize the Spanish names in the reading portion. They asked questions such as “What does Marisol mean?”. Of course, I couldn’t tell them. I assign names this way: If the student’s name has an equivalent in Spanish, then they receive the same name-e.g. Mary-Maria. If the first name has no equivalent, often the middle name does. Many children have a middle name honoring someone in the family such as a grandparent. Previous generations had more traditional names which are often translatable. Lastly, if there is no equivalent, I will suggest names from a list of male and female names I downloaded from the internet. We’ll go with a name with a similar sound or at least where the first letter is the same. Example: the Mongolian name “Anu” became “Anita”. Lastly, I don’t force kids who don’t want a Spanish name to have one-though I do highly encourage it! Since the majority of kids like having a Spanish name, kids on the fence usually go with the flow.