If you haven’t guessed it yet by some of my recent posts, I am working on a unit about Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo. And, if you can believe it, it is for students in Spanish 1!! Usually, heavier topics like this are not tackled until upper-level courses when students have the vocabulary to support it. However, I decided that I would attempt to create ’embedded’ units for my courses this year by covering topics several times throughout the year, each time going deeper as the students’ vocabulary acquisition allows. If you have covered a family/people unit that includes “madre”, “mujer”, and “hijo”, you can talk about Las Madres, too! (You would also need to teach important verbs like puede and encuentra, maybe busca but that isn’t necessary (although if you’ve sung ‘Los pollitos dicen”, you’re good to go)….here is a script to teach those verbs).

ANYWAY, this is a listening activity. Students watch an interview from 1978 with several of the mothers and fill in the blanks on the transcript. It includes a short introduction to the video and the assignment–all in Spanish and comprehensible–and a summarizing activity to complete afterward.

After watching this video and going over the transcript, explain to your students the general idea of what each woman says. I’ve written here what I will say to my classes, and you can modify it as necessary so that it is comprehensible to your students. Remember to write any new words on the board with translations, and point to them as you say them. I’ve marked the words that I needed to put on the board with asterisks*.

  1. La primera mujer (Mujer #1) no comprende por qué el gobierno no les dice dónde están sus hijos. Ella dice que sólo quieren información: ¿dónde están sus hijos?
  2. La segunda mujer (Mujer #2) dice que el gobierno no dice la verdad*. Ella piensa que el gobierno tiene información, pero el gobierno dice que no tiene información.
  3. La tercera mujer (Mujer #3) dice que su hija desapareció. Cuando ella desapareció, estaba embarazada*. Esta mujer quiere ver al bebé de su hija.
  4. La cuarta mujer (Mujer #4) repite que sólo quieren información sobre sus hijos. Ella está desesperada porque nadie las ayuda*. Por eso, ella quiere la ayuda del público.

Discuss the students’ reactions to this clip. What are their impressions about the women? About the disappearances? About the government? Remember, they won’t be able to say much because they’re just beginning their language study and don’t have the vocabulary or ability to put together elaborate responses. Keep it simple, and be content to let this just lay a foundation for a more in-depth study of the topic later in the year.

7 replies on “Madres de la Plaza de Mayo Interview

  1. I studied la guerra sucia for weeks in Argentina! It is a passion of mine. I was able to complete a whole unit with my Spanish 4 class (high school) last year. Now I am working with 6th, 7th, and 8th graders all at very low levels, and hadn’t even thought about approaching the same topic because of the complexity of it. This is a great idea! Thank you!

    1. I am teaching Spanish 4 for the first time and I was wondering if you would be able to share any of your activities/research? I would greatly appreciate it.

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