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Spanish: Politics of Art
Analyze the Video

As you reflect on these questions, write down your responses or discuss them as a group.

Before You Watch
Respond to the following questions:

  • What kinds of real events can inspire classroom debate?
  • What are some steps to prepare students for a debate?
  • How can students gain background knowledge on a particular subject in order to have a meaningful debate?

Watch the Video
As you watch "Politics of Art," take notes on Ms. Langer de Ramirez's instructional strategies, particularly how she organizes the activities around the debate and how she assesses student work. Write down what you find interesting, surprising, or especially important about the teaching and learning in this lesson.

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Reflect on the Video
Review your notes, and then respond to the following questions:

  • What prior knowledge do Ms. Langer de Ramirez's students bring to this lesson?
  • How does Ms. Langer de Ramirez structure the activities within this lesson?
  • How does Ms. Langer de Ramirez use a real artifact -- the protest letter from prominent artists and intellectuals -- as a stimulus for the lesson? What other real events does she incorporate into the lesson?
  • What are the benefits of having students research living Latin American artists? What are the benefits of having students communicate by email with the artists?
  • What do you observe about the quality and quantity of student language during 1) interpersonal exchanges, 2) argument presentations, and 3) counterarguments in the debate?

Look Closer
Take a second look at Ms. Langer de Ramirez's class to focus on specific teaching strategies and on the kind of language that students are producing. Use the video images below to locate where to begin viewing.

Video Segment: Role-Playing a Real Artist

You'll find this segment approximately 7 minutes and 30 seconds after the video starts. Watch for about 2 minutes.

Students share their opinions on the visa issue from the perspective of their chosen artist.

  • How do students' role-playing performances reflect the research they have done?
  • As you listen to students, what subject pronouns do you notice them using? Does I predominate or do they move beyond "self"?
  • Are students speaking primarily in short or incomplete sentences, or are they linking sentences and ideas?
  • Do students respond with personal opinions or with facts?

Video Segment: Presenting an Argument

You'll find this segment approximately 12 minutes after the video starts. Watch for about 4 minutes and 30 seconds.

Students begin the debate by presenting their arguments for or against traveling to Spain.

  • What are the rules of the debate outlined by Ms. Langer de Ramirez?
  • What subject pronouns dominate student talk? Does the discourse consist of a series of unrelated sentences, or are sentences connected meaningfully?
  • Do students respond with personal opinions or with facts?
  • Compare and contrast the performance level of students in the role-playing segment with that of students in the debate segment.
  • As students debate, what are their team members doing? What are the members of the opposing team doing?

Video Segment: Writing a Formal Response

You'll find this segment approximately 24 minutes and 30 seconds after the video starts. Watch for about 2 minutes.

Ms. Langer de Ramirez helps students write letters of response to the Spanish prime minister.

  • What kinds of assistance (for example, with structure, vocabulary, content, or style) does Ms. Langer de Ramirez give each group as they draft their letter?
  • What kind of "recycling" occurs with the last group of students?



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