We all want our students to improve in their ability to speak Spanish and participate in conversations. However, I was noticing that my students really struggled with conversing. Assuming that you’ve built a good class culture and students feel willing to take risks with their classmates, what they need next is some scaffolding to increase their chances for success! One of the best speaking activities in Spanish class is Guided Conversations!
What is a Guided Conversation?
The guided conversations that I use with my students are simply a document with shaded boxes for “Person A and Person B”. In the boxes, suggestions are given for how the student can continue the conversation. These suggestions guide them and ensure that the conversation doesn’t completely stop because a student doesn’t know what to say next.
When you think about it, when we ask our high school students to converse in their new language, it’s a BIG ask! They need to find the vocabulary they need to express themselves, listen carefully to understand their partner, and then develop an answer/follow up. And then the process repeats. It’s no wonder that our students find this so difficult!
How To Use Guided Conversations for Speaking Activities
As with anything new, students need a lot of guidance and practice with a new kind of activity. The first time we try a guided conversation, I have the following things in mind:
- Students have learned a good amount of vocab related to the theme of the guided conversation (the topic is NOT unfamiliar).
- Each student gets a copy of the conversation. (You can print these or assign them digitally!)
- I model a guided conversation: either with myself playing 2 roles, or if I have a student who can handle the task, I ask them!
- I let students try! (It usually goes badly!)
- I ask them to try again- keeping the same roles. (This time goes a little more smoothly!)
- Now I ask them to keep their same partner but switch roles!
- When there is time, or when students are already used to this kind of activity. I ask them to switch partners! If you have 2 different guided conversations ready, you can do this for the entire period! Each time, students gain confidence and creativity with their speaking!
Next Steps For Speaking Activities For Spanish Class: After Guided Conversations
Are your students getting really good at their speaking activities with guided conversations? When my students need a bigger challenge, I give them a simulated conversation. These mimic both a task on the AP Spanish test and on tests for the Seal of Biliteracy. They can be adapted to the right proficiency level for your students!