Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum
Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum
1: Meaningful Interpretation
Examine the Topic
Now that you have read the research and viewed the video discussion on interpretive communication, you will examine the topic further by analyzing a sample interpretive task.
For this task, you will put yourself in the role of a student and interpret a Web page titled "Carnaval en la calle" (see Resources), or "Carnival in the street." This task might be part of a unit on holidays, a cultural unit on festivals, or a February activity. The Web page has been selected for high school students at an intermediate proficiency level. The same theme could be done with novice learners and younger learners, but a Web page with more visuals may be more suitable.
A. PreviewingPreviewing activities can serve several purposes: to motivate students, to tap into their background knowledge, to create anticipation for the information to come, and more. They are designed based on students' ages, interests, prior knowledge, and proficiency level. The following are two examples of previewing activities for this interpretive task:
Parades: floats, music, spectators
Costumes: colors, masks
Traditions: ties to Lent, fasting, religion
Practices: eating, drinking, partying
If the teacher and students live in a region where Carnaval, Mardi gras, or Fasching is celebrated, the activity could then be tied to local lore.
B. Skimming, Scanning, and InterpretingDuring skimming and scanning, students begin to work with the text itself. Skimming involves glancing through the text quickly to get the gist or main idea. Scanning involves searching the text for specific information. Some texts lend themselves to both processes, for example, a lengthy document or one with multiple sections. Other texts may be suitable for just one of these processes. For example, students don't need to skim an entire brochure to understand what it's about (publicizing an event or attraction), but students can scan it for specific information like time and place. In this Interactive Activity, skimming and scanning are combined into one phase of the process.
Students then move on to interpreting and reacting to the text. To comprehend the author's message, they use contextual guessing, inferencing, background information, and associations with the language and content. After comprehending the text (i.e., reading/listening to the lines), they can begin to react to it (i.e., reading/listening between the lines) by considering the message in the context of their learning and experience.
Note: The Web page is written in Spanish. Although you should be able to follow along with this activity regardless of your knowledge of Spanish, an English-language translation (PDF, 82 K) is available for reference.
Next > Put It Into Practice
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Introduction | Before You Watch | Analyze the Video
Examine the Topic | Put It Into Practice | Action Research Project | Reflect on Your Learning
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