Here is a revealing quotation from a Spanish teacher’s recent blog post:
“I realized something important this week while going over our unit’s vocabulary. The vocabulary is “household chores” going along with the House Unit. After the initial vocab introduction, we started talking about what chores my students do. I quickly realized that most of my students don’t do any chores at all. So it’s difficult to “say what chores my siblings and I have to do” and “how often” as our objectives would require.
“During one oral activity … I made a comment that left me questioning the purpose of the unit. I said ‘Do you really care if Johnny washes the dishes and how often he does it? No, of course not. That’s not the point. The point is to be communicating.’
“But how can we expect children to want to speak in the target language if they are talking about something they have no interest in. Let’s be realistic; nobody cares about what chores their classmates do. How engaging is talking about chores? Why are we even teaching these words?! How often is Johnny going to encounter a Spanish speaker and tell them that he rarely vacuums the floor?”
Read the rest of her post and her plans and resources for making learning more relevant to her students’ lives at http://spanishplans.org/2012/11/19/connecting-vocabulary