Spanish Grammar in Context provides students with grammar explanations in English with written examples in Spanish. The site also illustrates similarities and differences between the two languages. Video clips of speakers from the Spanish in Texas corpus show the grammar used in authentic, contextualized ways. Unlike traditional reference grammars, each topic is explained using authentic video examples from the Spanish in Texas project. Accompanying practice quizzes are available on an open Canvas course site.(taken from website)
Type of Material:
drill and practice
The brief videos are an excellent resource for instructors to use in class. Since the grammar explanations are in English, instructors may wish to provide this website as a resource to support students outside of class.This site can be used for students of all language levels to review grammatical terms and rules in English, such as parts of speech, and see how the Spanish grammar examples are applied in real-life speech.
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Identify Major Learning Goals:
Reading the grammar explanations and taking the practice quizzes will strengthen students' knowledge and application of the rules of the Spanish language. Watching the videos will also aid in listening comprehension, particularly of Spanish speakers in Texas. The site includes comparisons between English and Spanish grammar, which will allow students to learn more about English grammar as they study the target language.
Although they are brief, students can gain awareness of issues related to the immigrant experience in the U.S. in general and Texas in particular through many of the video clips.
Target Student Population:
High School, College
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Since the explanations are in English, no prior knowledge of Spanish is necessary, although it would be helpful to better understand the video clips.
Nine general categories of grammar, from "adjectives" to "verbs," are organized by tabs across the top of the home page. The drop boxes for each tab include an introduction, other subheadings and a practice section. The "pronouns" and "verbs" tabs are the most extensive with eleven and twenty-one subheadings, respectively.
The grammar rules and terms are defined and described in English. Terms referred to elsewhere are hyper linked to their definition for easy reference and review.
Pointing out common errors in informal spoken English, such as the use of the adjective "good" for the adverb "well" is very helpful for students trying to transfer what they hear in their native language to the target language.
The speakers featured in the videos represent a variety of ages, origins and education levels. "Variation boxes" highlight and explain common regional differences, such as the addition of "s" to second person singular preterit verbs.
Lower level language learners may not be able to understand the grammar points demonstrated within the spoken context, since the speakers are operating at native speaker speed. There is a transcript of the audio provided, however. Explanations of regional differences are limited to Latin American Spanish. Peninsular Spanish variations, such as "leísmo," are not included.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The use of video clips allows students to hear how an adverb, for example, fits into everyday speech, and how a Spanish speaker may use it in a sentence. Although the grammatical explanations are integral to the site, the video clips keep it from being dry and dull. It provides and interesting and refreshing way to review grammar.The self-graded activities at the end of each of the nine sections are engaging and fun. Students can re-take these quizzes to improve their score.
Students are prompted to re-take the quiz if they wish to after completing it. However, if they return to a quiz after leaving it, it does not reset. They may re-take it but the corrected answers from the previous attempt appear at the end of each group of questions. They may be easily ignored if the student wishes to do so.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Colorful word clouds emphasize frequently used parts of speech in each section while adding a decorative element to the site.
Each of the nine grammar sections are similarly designed using the same order and icons for video clips. The "About" page provides an overview of the format.
Having the practice quizzes grouped together in an open Canvas course allows for easy access by students and instructors.
It would be helpful to have the quizzes open in a new window in order to easily return to the home page. After taking a quiz, it can be difficult at first to know how to return to the home page. The student may do so by using the back button and clicking a link.
Users do not have to register for Canvas in order to make full use of the grammar exercises. Within hours of registering an account for Canvas to test this site, I received an email asking if I had any questions and a telephone message requesting to know why I had registered. These were in addition to confirmation of my account and a message about helpful tips.
Other Issues and Comments:
I received an error message for the "conjunctions" quiz indicating that I was unauthorized to use it even thought I was logged in with a Canvas account.
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