Breaking Down Foreign Stereotypes during the First Week in Spanish Class

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This is a fun first week of school activity for your World Language students.

  • Divide the students into small groups and ask them to make a list of all the stereotypes that they can think of for the countries that they are studying.

For example, for Mexicans, they may come up with: lazy, Speedy Gonzalez, talk really fast, short, long mustaches, wear large Mexican hats, eat spicy foods, etc.  Have each group present their list and have a class secretary write the stereotypes on the board.  Then discuss as a class which ones are based on the truth and which ones are completely off base.

This allows you, the teacher, a chance to tell a few stories about the countries and the people that you have met and it gets your students to start developing an interest in finding out more about the country and its people.

  • Collect some images/advertisements/newspaper articles pertaining to the country you are studying.  Variation:  Ask your students to find some as a homework assignment either for the discussion or as a follow-up to the discussion.
  • Use these to fuel the discussion with your students and to talk about perspectives and how media doesn’t always present the truth.  A great way to get your students engaged and using their brains right off the bat!

If you liked this idea and are looking for more ideas to teach your students culture, you may be interested in the following.  I’ve already developed engaging lesson plans about famous Hispanics and famous Francophones.

If you need authentic Mexican photos for discussions or decorations in your classroom or want to teach your Spanish students a unit about the real Mexico, you may like my Mexican PowerPoint.

So excited to collaborate with other foreign language teachers!  Would love to hear from you about great first week of school activities in your language classrooms!

Also, hope to see you in our World Language Cafe Facebook Group, it’s an online teachers’ lounge for sharing ideas, humor, and all things languages.

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