Conversacion y controversia: Topicos de hoy y de siempre (5th Edition)

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9780131838215: Conversacion y controversia: Topicos de hoy y de siempre (5th Edition)

This book contains writings in Spanish about universal topics of importance and interest, such as abortion, capital punishment, and euthanasia. It can provide thought-provoking and interesting reading, as well as helping the Spanish-as-a-second-language readers learn to think in Spanish, not mentally translate to and from English. Completely written in Spanish, this book covers such universally interesting topics as marriage, abortion, euthanasia, suicide, smoking, capital punishment, and more. It also contains vocabulary explanations in Spanish. Designed to promote readers to not only read Spanish, but to think in Spanish, this book is useful for employees in companies where a working knowledge of conversational Spanish is necessary.

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From the Back Cover:

Encouraging the exploration of "free expression" in Spanish on universal topics of importance and interest, Conversacion y controversia stimulates creative, critical thinking for students in conversation courses at the intermediate level and higher. The topics covered are lively, controversial, and interesting and were specifically selected because they deal with ideas that almost everyone has an opinion on. As in previous editions, Conversacion y controversia, Fifth Edition fosters progress in oral communication, and challenges students to present arguments, to persuade, and to analyze and interpret the opinions of others.

Features
  • Includes particularly timely and up-to-date topics such as terrorism, Spanglish, immigration, and the UN.
  • Written completely in Spanish without translations, encouraging students to "think" in Spanish and break away from mentally translating to or from English.
  • Pro/Con debates give students a springboard to engage in challenging and exciting verbal exchanges, improving their use of the language.
  • Exchanges of ideas allow students to develop their oral conversation and confidence in an atmosphere of friendly controversy, rather than by having the "right answer" or reviewing grammatical concepts.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Conversation is the fabric of our everyday lives. Whenever and wherever human beings are inclined to communicate, they exchange ideas, opinions, and sentiments with each other. The range of topics of conversation is extremely wide, from the superficial discussion of weather to the most profound philosophical or scientific themes.

The fifth edition of Conversacion y controversia continues the strong tradition of previous editions: to create opportunities for natural conversation to occur among learners of Spanish on conventional topics that are relevant, interesting, and provocative. Over the years, we have discovered a series of topics that are common enough to evoke an opinion from everyone, and we have kept those that work the best. Most mature, informed students should have an opinion to contribute. Based on our many years of teaching this course, we chose the atmosphere of controversy or debate to create the opportunity for conversation, because it is challenging and exciting to exchange ideas with someone with a different viewpoint.

The "Temas candentes" of the fifth edition may stir up particular passions—immigration, terrorism, Spanglish, the United Nations. The topics are "hot-button" issues that have an impact on our daily lives.

We do not claim to be factually correct or accurate in the opinions expressed in these themes. Sometimes we deliberately exaggerate and distort perceptions, just as anyone in the street (or in the classroom) might. Nor do we claim to have exhausted all arguments pro or con; rather, we have attempted to maintain a balance in the presentation of the various sides of each issue. Our purpose is not to propagandize; we strive to challenge all opinions. While the style and language are as correct as humanly possible, there are no literary pretensions. We have tried to make the level of language appropriate to students with more than a good grasp of basic Spanish.

To the Instructor

We believe that success from using this book depends heavily on the small-group format. From the very first day, you should consider dividing the class into groups of four or five so that as many students as possible are talking and expressing their ideas. For each chapter you should assign a "director(a)," whose role should be to stimulate and maintain a lively conversation, completely in Spanish. Another student in the group should be assigned the role of "secretario(a)," and this person should take notes during the conversation and then give a resume of the group's opinions in the next class meeting.

Grades should be based on the oral performances of the "directores" and "secretarios:" The "directores" should prepare questions and comments to elicit reactions and responses from the rest of the group. If a group is too quiet and apathetic, the "director(a)" should bear responsibility. The oral report of the "secretario(a)" must also be interesting and lively, showing evidence of good preparation.

Prior to the small-group discussions, you may wish to have the class read these divergent and often contradictory opinions from "Opiones de la gente de la calle" for their spontaneous reactions. This introduction can be your opportunity to update and personalize the statements of this section by making reference to your own experiences and recent or past events.

If time permits, the structure-review sections can be completed in small groups or in a one-on-one format, allowing your students time to communicate with each other on a more personal basis. You will notice that these activities are based on the vocabulary and ideas of the main theme. If time is limited, these review sections could be handed in as written assignments; however, we strongly recommend that the overall grade in this "conversation" class be based on the oral performances of the "directores" and "secretarios." By the end of the term, each student should have had several chances to lead a topic of discussion or to give an oral report to the class on the particulars of the group discussion.

We have found that, in our experience, at least 20 minutes should be set aside for the small-group discussion. By simple observation, you should be able to decide if more time is needed.

For variety, more formal debates could be organized for some of the topics. Review sound debate strategies with the class in Spanish and make appropriate suggestions for success. If possible, you could also recommend colleagues as resources who could help the debaters in their preparation.

The vocabulary sections are meant to help your students break away from translating and thinking in English. We hope that you can find time to do them very quickly, either before or right after the small-group discussions.

A logical final exam could be a conversation with each student in which he/she could talk about the theme that interested him/her most or a discussion of one of the themes that could not be covered during the term. If the class is too large for such a personal-type exam, perhaps an essay could serve this purpose as a last resort.

To the Student

The objective of this book and class is to give you a chance to improve your fluency and conversational skills in the Spanish language. Improvement in fluency comes with practice, which in this case demands oral preparation. We encourage you to read the essays aloud and, if possible, tape your practice so that you can hear how you sound. By the end of the term, you should be able to hear an improvement in your pronunciation. It should be clearer and faster; in other words, more native-like.

Try to relate the opinions expressed in the "Opiniones de la genre de la calle" section to your own opinions or to those of your family and friends. Analyze the opinions expressed and decide with which one you most agree. In your group discussions, don't hesitate to make reference to the opinions in the "Opiniones de la genre de la cane" section.

The structure-review sections can be helpful in developing your opinions about the theme. You should do them as part of your preparation for the group discussions. You can consider the discussions as a form of debate. Think of the strong points of your argument and anticipate the response of the other side. Back up your opinions with facts or a relevant anecdotal reference. Listen and react to the opinions of your classmates and try to refute them, if you are not in agreement, or support them with your own observations.

Each class should be an opportunity for you to contribute and improve your use of the language. Avoid thinking in English at all and try to express yourself in simple but clear terms. If you don't agree with an individual, say so in a polite and respectful way. Make friends and have fun in the discussion. You may alienate the group by trying too hard to win the argument. To make the discussion more interesting, you could bring up your own experiences, whether real or imagined.

If you are chosen to actually debate a certain topic, prepare your arguments point by point in Spanish. Win over your audience with your understanding, compassion, preparation, and a sense of humor.

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