Grade level:8th grade or Novice High Spanish Classroom setting
Approximate Lesson Duration:58-minute block
Unit/Lesson New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS):
Recognize some common gestures and cultural practices associated with target culture(s).
Identify people, places, objects, and activities in daily life based on oral or written descriptions.
Identify some unique linguistic elements in English and the target language.
Give and follow a series of oral and written directions, commands, and requests for participating in age- and level- appropriate classroom and cultural activities.
Imitate appropriate gestures, intonation, and common idiomatic expressions of the target culture(s)/language during daily interactions.
Ask and respond to questions, make requests, and express preferences in various social situations.
Converse on a variety of familiar topics and/or topics studied in other content areas.
Recombine basic information at the word and sentence level related to self and targeted themes to create a multimedia-rich presentation to be shared virtually with a target language audience.
Create and present brief messages, poems, rhymes, songs, short plays, or role-plays using familiar vocabulary orally or in writing.
Brief Summary of Cultural Competencies Related to the Unit/Lesson:
Unlike English, which has adopted gender neutral terms into its lexicon, Spanish is a language that functions in a binary way. Every object and animate thing is assigned a gender that helps the Spanish language user follows the language’s rules on adjective agreement. While there is one neutral term that exists in the language, the RAE (the Royal Academy of Spanish – the institution charged with safeguarding the correct use of the Spanish language) has stated that the language already presents itself in an inclusionary way and that new terms that would be the equivalents of the English “They/Them” or “Latinx” are not part of the language (read more here in English or here in Spanish).
With this in mind, there are ways to speak and write that are more sensitive to inclusion and these lessons will serve as an introduction to novice users of the language.
What is the difference between language and speech? Do the words we use when we express ourselves affect people’s perception of what we are saying?
Making a conscious effort to use words that already exist in the lexicon we can be more inclusive of our audience when we speak or write.
As speakers of English, where the grammar has changed and become more neutral, it will be hard for instructors and students to not impose gender on everything they say. The key here is to be conscious about addressing people and not worrying about objects.
Learning plan, experiences, intstruction and learning activities:
What is Expected?
- List the intentional learning objectives on the board.
Students will be able to:
- Distinguish between exclusionary and inclusionary language
- Distinguish between grammatical and lexical rules and the rules of speech
- Substitute exclusionary language in conversations thanks to learned inclusionary terminology
- Will be able to apply inclusionary language in a variety of situations.
Today we will be working on…
What is expected?
How will we hook (Introduce this to) the students?
- Activate thinking
- Consider the language you will use to introduce the lesson (See example in the table)
Link to Engagement
This set of lessons would come after learning the basics of talking about oneself and family members or friends. These lessons best fit when students are just starting to talk about themselves and others and have a rudimentary knowledge of subjects, adjectives and description.
What equipment, resources, or materials are needed?
For these lessons an instructor would need a smart board to present the lessons and handouts for students to practice.
How will we rethink or revise our thinking throughout the lesson?
- What learning is confirmed?
- What misconceptions are uncovered?
- What is your new thinking?
Students may find some of these inclusionary strategies confusing because for the most part Spanish and other romance languages always categorize things into two distinct genders. Adding neutral or inclusionary speech may be confusing in the short run.
Some teachers may also find these inclusionary expressions as unnecessary at first, as the male has always defaulted to be the inclusionary form. However, it is important for us to model this reframing of speech even if we may not find the occasion to use it with great frequence in our own lives. Ultimately we are trying to teach the students that they have this option if it applies to the situation in which they find themselves.
How will students self-evaluate and reflect on their learning?
Students will self evaluate and reflect by explaining why they would use on expression or phrase versus another. The goal of these lessons is to provide alternative speech that doesn’t break grammatical rules.
How will we tailor learning to varied needs, interests, and learning styles?
Below I have included a few videos that can be used to explain the debate behind this idea. While the lesson will be presented without the use of the videos, I am including them here so that if someone would like to use them either as an initial presentation or as an edpuzzle to reinforce the ideas presented in the lesson, they don’t have to search for them.
How will we organize the sequence of learning during the lesson?
Scaffold the Instruction
- Model – The instructor will start the lesson with this or a similar Kahoot activity that review the basic rules of the gender of words in Spanish. This activity serves as the perfect point of departure for this conversation. This would be followed by a slide presentation that explains what inclusive language is and isn’t. This activity would wrap up with a presentation of a series of sentences that followed these grammatical rules in traditional ways. And then these phrases would be presented with alternative methods of expression – words or phrases that are inclusive of everyone that don’t necessarily default to the traditional male form to refer to everyone.
- Guided Practice – The lesson would move on to a series of words to be presented as alternatives. First as a Quizlet to be reviewed in class in a quizlet live activity and then to be applied to phrases.
- Independent Practice – Students would be asked to write phrases of their own using these expressions. Students will also be asked to find phrases that use these provided terms and to copy and paste them into a comunal google doc to be shared the next day in class.
Check for understanding:
The Kahoot and Quizlets would serve as formative assessments of the students’ understanding of the concepts presented.
(attach copy of assessment)
An assessment in the form of a small quiz would be incorporated into the second lesson.
For this set of lessons a more traditional quiz will be used as an assessment as these would be newly acquired terms that I would feel more comfortable assessing using formulaic speech or writing. I would seriously consider a performance based assessment at the end of the unit in which these lessons would be used and would incorporate this kind of expression into future rubrics used in subsequent units.
- Guide to Inclusive Language published by the Peruvian government
- Guide to Inclusive Language published by the government of the Autonomous Community of Andalucia (Spain)
- Video that explains an attempt at inclusive language that adds “e”s to traditionally gendered words
- Another video that explains inclusive language
- The director of the RAE explaining his point of view
- GLSEN Guide for Best Practices