Monday, February 14, 2011

More Funny Stuff from Midterms

I told you I will finally be able to blog a lot now that I got my new computer. So here are some more funny statements from student midterms:

"La Celestina is the story of people all of whom are complete idiots." (This is a great way of defining this work of literature, in my opinion.)

"The name of Don Quijote's sidekick is Pancho Sanchez." (This is so cute I don't think I can even lower the grade for this.)

"The name of Don Quijote's servant is Pancho Villa."

"Don Quijote likes reading fantasy novels."

The rest of the exams were really good. It's especially curious that students who took a literature course with me last semester have improved their language skills dramatically. The use the kind of sophisticated vocabulary that makes me feel extremely proud. I wish I knew how to make more students realize that yet another advanced grammar course will never be able to take their language skills to the same heights as a simple literature course. The word "literature" in the course description terrifies them for some incomprehensible reason, and they just want to take language courses in perpetuity. When I was an undergrad, I was forced to take an advanced literature course right after Intermediate Spanish, and that proved to be a fantastic idea.

I believe that advanced language courses should be cancelled altogether and substituted by literature and culture courses in the target language.


NancyP said...

Why learn a language if you don't USE it and enjoy it? Whether you read newspapers or detective stories or literature, watch telenovelas or French CBC TV shows, watch classic movies with and without subtitles - if you use the language you will become more fluent than if you spend all day memorizing vocabulary lists and grammar charts.

WV: otiesse

Liese4 said...

Please tell me you will mark off for the Pancho Villa comment, they should at least know the difference between a fictional sidekick and a Mexican revolutionary general.

Literature is a great way to learn the subtleties of a language along with culture, and time it's just fun.

In worship dance my girls and I are going through old hymns and finding fabulous language that has not stood the test of time. God as a bulwark (fortress), from the Middle Dutch bolwerc. Interesting word.

And Happy Valentine's day. The kids and I are off to Taco Bell - a V-Day institution since I met my husband 21 years ago. They tore down the Taco Bell in Balad that he went to, so he'll be with us in spirit. I can't see passing up a tradition just because he's not here, so a taco toast to Valentine's day!

Anonymous said...

"I believe that advanced language courses should be cancelled altogether and substituted by literature and culture courses in the target language."

You're quite right! I may add a couple of grammar-focused activities once in a while.

"La Celestina is the story of people all of whom are complete idiots."
Automatic A+!


Angie Harms. said...

Pancho Sanchez! Love it!

Anonymous said...

The Pancho Villa is hilarious!

Of course my favorite ID answer ever was
"Miguel de Unamuno is the big, black spider we see crawling slowly up the eastern wall of this classroom right now. He thinks very seriously about every step he takes."

Clarissa said...

The Pancho Villa comment came from the student who was very impressed with my lecture on Pancho Villa last semester and probably just can't get him off her mind. :-)

Rachelle said...

Coming to this a little late but re: no advanced language courses, in my undergrad once you took the second required class of the major, Advanced Grammar, the rest of the department was completely literature courses. I haven't had a grammar class in four years.

And now I'm supposed to be teaching Spanish as a grad student.

I know nothing about linguistics, barely remember the nitty-gritty and nuances of certain grammar concepts, etc., and a lot of the people I was in college with weren't studying Spanish to go on to grad school but instead to later teach it or use it as part of a political/business career.

Literature classes should definitely be required, and probably even the majority of the major, but it IS extremely beneficial to have more formalized experience with the grammar of the language.