Here are my pronoun posters. I leave them up on the wall all year, even when there’s a pronoun quiz. Here are the reasons I use these.
- Because of the way I interact with these posters, the students get the idea that there are distinct sets of pronouns, that they’re not all just random mix-and-match like buttons in a box. So when someone pulls out an *Él se gusta frijoles or *Yo doy tú una flor I don’t have to clear the board and launch into a huge pronoun tangent which they will ignore; I can just write their sentence on the board, circle the wrong pronoun, and walk to the four posters and ask which role (perpetrador, víctima, beneficiario, etc.)
- My students couldn’t identify a complemento directo to save their lives; they don’t ever bother to learn what it is even when I teach it explicitly. Forget it! They know what a victim is; so if I give them a sample sentence like “Juan se comió toda una pizza,” they can identify that pizza is the victim of eating, the pizza got eaten. That’s good enough. Plenty of people speak Spanish without ever thinking about complementos directos e indirectos; if I can get them to know them implicitly I can skip teaching them explicitly.
- The color coding helps students remember; a trick I learned from teaching Prof. Dummit’s tone colors in Chinese. Red is the color for victim, as it’s the color of blood. Green is the color of money, and the beneficiary gets the money. They can remember that /g/ for green corresponds with /g/ for gustar. Mirror gray symbolizes the color of a mirror, which symbolizes reflexives/reciprocals.
- Won’t students just look at the wall instead of learning their damn pronouns? That’s the fear of keeping content on the walls, right? Well, I’m currently working in a culture where:
- students would rather guess wrong than make an effort to be right; I think they’re used to their teachers just giving them the right answer so it’s more efficient for them to guess wrong and await correction, than actually learn the content. I know it’s bleak; it’s the culture of where I’m teaching.
- my students literally do not believe in the whole process of using a reference to find the right answer. I’m TEACHING them this skill. They need this skill in college: keep using reference until the information is internalized.
- I can always just pull the poster off the wall during an exam. I’ve found it unnecessary, however, since my exams are not usually about pronouns.
Please let the record show that I am HORRIFIED by my students’ habit of just guessing wrong. It’s bad. When they guess right, they’re so surprised by it that it becomes a nervous distraction. It’s BAD.
Anyway, that’s why the pronouns are on my wall. If you’d like to use my posters, find them here and print them out yourself! The only thing I ask is that you send me a picture of them on your wall, and you let me know how it’s going. If these don’t work for you, I’d love to hear suggestions.
If you’re looking for interrogatives and immediate needs posters in Spanish and Chinese, find them on this post.