Just what is our goal?

I found this on a listserv:
I’ve been teaching Spanish for the past several months to 1st – 6th
graders. I only meet with them twice a week, but the idea is to give
them exposure to the spoken language and we work A LOT with
vocabulary. To use the vocabulary I present them with simple phrases
such as, “me gusta comer…” or “ella tiene…” then they are able to
complete the sentence depending on what we are discussing and/or
vocabulary we’ve learned.

My concern doesn’t necessarily lay with verb conjugations because I
know once they get to Middle School or High School, they will start in
on that, but at least with me they are introduced to the essential verbs
such as ser, estar, and tener. I don’t really expect my students
to “conjugate that verb now”, but rather I expect my students to
understand me when I ask questions; they are surprisingly intuitive and
many of them love to respond in Spanish.

ME: so why can’t we just continue with this? Why will they “start in on that” [verb conjugations] in middle and high school?
The the writer goes on to say:


Additionally, we don’t have to think about teaching a FL as… okay now,
we are going to “do present” or now we are going to “do the
imperfect”… don’t forget lots of reading (poems, stories, etc) listening
to music and having students write about themselves can be fun
interesting ways to learn about our students, meanwhile they are
getting practice in the TL.
ME: so why do it then?
Now here’s the writer’s list of item to learn for first and second years (middle and high school, I presume):
Spanish 1:
Meeting and greeting other people
Talking about the calendar and dates
Responding to classroom instructions
Talking about yourself and others
Talking about what you like to do
Asking for and giving
Performing simple math problems
Identifying colors and talking about your favorite color
Talking about how you feel and how others feel
Expressing desires
Planning activities
Extending invitations

With that said, the structures they should be learning are:
The alphabet
Numbers 0-3,000,000
Days of the week, months, seasons
Present tense of ser, tener, estar, hacer, poner, salir, traer, saber,
Telling time

Spanish 2:

Describing daily routines
Expressing needs related to personal care
Talking about what you do around the house
Discussing food and eating preferences
Expressing likes and dislikes
Discussing cooking and recipes
Talking about events in the past
Talking about activities you like to do in your free time
Reporting past events and activities
Talking about what used to happen and what you used to do in the past
Contrasting what happened in the past with something else that was
going on

With that said, the structures they should be learning are:
Reflexive constructions: pronouns and verbs
Comparisons of equality and inequality
The present progressive
The verbs decir and dar
Gustar and similar verbs
Indirect objects and indirect objective pronouns
The preterit of regular verbs and verbs with irregular forms in the
Indefinite and negative

ME: the “with that said” stuff can be looked at as either, “This is what will be used to talk about these topics” or “This is what they must learn ABOUT, i.e. that verbs in Sp fall into categories called conjugations, which have certain endings……… etc., the whole grammar spiel that most students don’t grasp. So if they are talking about all those topics the writer lists, what exactly is our goal in teacher a fl? I don’t get it.

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