Puntos de partida 7 is an interactive book helpful for learning the Spanish language. While looking at chapter 12 I found that the book included much vocabulary to learn and memorize. Then I remembered how in class we often discussed the use of vocabulary lists and how ineffective they were in teaching the full meaning of a language and ultimately culture. The vocabulary is presented in a paragraph that is very general and common to most speakers in an industrialized nation. I can understand how many students learning a 2nd language would relate to a setting like this where they could fully understand a text by translating a few words. In this respect, the book is effective in that it communicates a message in the target language and presents the students with a useful way for grading. However, it doesn’t seem to be text-based oriented in that most of the activities do not show or is focused on an authentic text. However, I give it some credit in respect to providing some examples of culture and outside of the classroom resources.
Culture as we have discussed in class many times, is an important aspect of language teaching necessary during class to fully teach and acquire a language. The textbook is effective in some respect as far as culture; it includes some cultural activities at the end of chapter and on the online aid that focus specifically on the cultural aspect of Spanish as it applies in a native setting. It includes a section of “Conozca” which provides the student with general information about the country being studied, some media and a bit of culture, and some links that a student can use to look up a bit more about the country and vocabulary being studied. This relates back to the use of technology, the online course help provides the student with videos, flashcards, interviews, and grammar exercises that go beyond an atlas setting teaching. However, I still believe the book focuses too much on grammar and vocabulary exercises. Although they seem to be effective for memorizing and “learning” Spanish, many students keep forgetting the language after school. Perhaps it would useful to implement some of Lee and VanPatten’s ideas on cultural teaching and advancing from there to grammar and vocab, as opposed to doing the other opposite.