Today I am going to speak about my experience with the past tense in Spanish especially about the reaction of the students before they study them. Before starting, I have to say that every school has its rules at the time of introducing the students to the Past Tense. In Interigual the first tense that we begin with is the Pretérito Perfect ( it is easier for students who have a level of A1). Then we continue with Pretérito Indefinido, the Pretérito Imperfecto and Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto ( I love the latter name, because it scares the students, and it is very amusing for me to see their faces, which are very different depending on their nationalities), clearly, they are already in level A2.
I am going to focus on PRETÉRITO PERFECTO, normally We study it at the end of the level A1, students who work at this level always want to be able to speak in the past, it is logical, since we know the regular and irregular present, also the future with structures like “IR A + INFINITIVO”or “TENGO QUE+ INFINITIVO”, it is good that we end with a past verb, to do a catharsis of the course, and that the student has the sensation and the possibility of communicating using a simple form in case of making a trip or of speaking with someone in different daily circumstances. I love the enthusiasm and the desire with which we begin this topic. The first problem that appears is the verb HABER, that until now we have only studied in the form of HAY to refer to the existence of something, for example, we all know the structures ” En mi habitación HAY…” or “En mi frigorífico hay…”; we have to say that there exists another combined form that serves to assist with the perfect , tense. I always remind them that all the perfect tenses need the verb HABER brought together with the tense that needs it , that is to say FUTURO PERFECTO the verb will conjugate to have in the future tense like that with all the tenses.
As soon as the tense is presented on the slate I like to continue with the questions using the verbs that I know that the students will be familiar with normally I use the question SOS: ¿ QUÉ HAS HECHO HOY?, the first irregular verb appears already, ¡ Olé!, I already got myself into a foul-up, but this phrase helps me to introduce the first irregular verb HACER, and I believe that it is the verb that is most used and the one that is most difficult to learn in the beginning. I was given advice at the beginning of my career that I always take literally, you have to make sure that all the students in the class take part in the conversation, it is very important that the students feel comfortable and they are self confident.
Finally, I present the irregular verbs and we play a little game to be able to memorize it in an easy way, for example we play a word game and the students have to fill the gaps with words that they know. Every student works within a suitable grupo. But the important thing is that when the class is finished the student is capable of speaking about what he has done today.
We are going to work with communicative activities within the class, in the Prima A1 for young people, there is a brilliant exercise, it is a horrible song (which I love) that goes like this what Claudia has done today and what she does normally, my last hour ended with this activity and we laughed so much, because of course we end up by taking part in the song, we all have an infantile side, so it works with children and adults- and older people.