Problematic Grammar for Learners of Spanish:

A Teacher Survey

This questionnaire is intended to help us in identifying grammatical structures that continue to cause your students to make errors even as they progress in their Spanish. We wish to construct a website that will provide strategies for helping your students learn or gain better control over these grammar structures than they have at present. We envision it having video-clip testimonials from learners about strategies for successfully learning problematic grammar forms and for producing them in speaking or writing.

Grammar strategies are thoughts and actions that the learners consciously employ to facilitate the initial learning and continued use of language structures. Here is an example of what a grammar strategy might be, as described by a learner:

"I wanted to learn whether to use ser or estar with adjectives to describe how people feel or what they are like (feliz, emocionado, contento, alegre, optimista, satisfecho, triste, and deprimido). The problem is that in Spanish, some of these adjectives can be used with both ser and estar and others tend to be used mostly with estar. So I created two lists in my mind: one with the adjectives that can be used with both (e.g., feliz, alegre, and optimista ), and one with the adjectives that tend to be used mostly with estar estar (e.g., contento, satisfecho, triste, emocionado, and deprimido). To help fix these in my mind, I created a mnemonic using the initials of the verbs in the second group: CSTED. Then I thought of something silly: I am Triste because I am C(A)STED (e.g., put in a caste). I have to remember that there isn't a word represented by the letter 'A'".

Notice that this project is not focused on teaching strategies but on the strategies employed by learners to gain control of these forms.

At this stage, we are collecting ideas both from instructors, like yourself, and from students. The goal is to produce a CARLA website that will feature testimonials from learners (including nonnatives who are teachers of Spanish). The website is not intended primarily as a source of information on Spanish grammar rules. Such sites already exist. Its purpose will be to focus on how learners have managed to successfully deal with and even master such forms.

Since the focus is on grammar forms and not on the respondents, and not for research purposes but rather for curricular development, we will store your name and e-mail only until we have collected the information needed for constructing the website. After that, we will just be storing information on the responses.

Please read the instructions on the next page carefully before you answer.
Thank you very much in advance for your time.

Teachers - Version A of Survey

Teachers - Version B of Survey


Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) • 140 University International Center • 331 - 17th Ave SE • Minneapolis, MN 55414