Spanish Language/Spanish

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Question
Hello, My name is Katherine and I'm homeschooling my son in Freshman Spanish. I took a few years of Spanish back in High School, so I'm able to teach it pretty well, but I'm having trouble remembering the correct uses of ser and estar. I tried searching for it online, but I couldn't get it straight.
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In one of his worksheets, it gives a few sentences and says to use the present form of ser or estar to fill in the blank. I was hoping you could show me what the answers are, as well as a (very) brief explanation as to why that's the answer (ie. The first one is "es" because it's showing where he/she is from)

Mi maestro de español ____ de Argentina.
Él también ____ estudiando en la universidad.
Él ____ contento de vivir en Estados Unidos ahora.
Siempre dice que ____ importante hacer lo que te gusta.
Nos gusta mucho su clase porque ____ un buen maestro.

I hope it isn't too much to ask, you would be helping me help him a bunch. Thanks, Kathy

Answer
Hi Katherine,

Thanks your background about the question!  If you hadn't explained that you are a teacher who is home schooling, I probably would have refused to answer this as a "homework" question.  I hope my answers and explanations (in parenthesis) help!

Mi maestro de  español (es) de Argentina.  (Always use "ser" for nationalities and to say where someone is originally from... this is considered an inherent or permanent characteristic of a person that is best expressed with "ser")

Él también (está) estudiando en la universidad (To express the English progressive tense, for an action that is ongoing or in progress (he is studying, she is sleeping, etc.) , use "estar" + gerund (ando o iendo))

Él(está) contento de vivir en Estados Unidos ahora. (For a temporary emotional state or a temporary state of being, use "estar"... He is momentarily/temporarily happy about living in the U.S.)

Siempre dice que (es) importante hacer lo que te gusta. (To discuss general characteristics or truths, use "ser"....  It is important to, It's necessary to, It's fun to... all of these would use "ser")

Nos gusta mucho su clase porque (es) un buen maestro. (This is a pretty permanent characteristic or description of the teacher, so use "ser."  He is always or generally a good teacher.... If it were something temporary, like "Today he is in a bad mood", then you would use "estar" instead).

Best of luck,

Brandee  

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Brandee Strickland

Expertise

I can answer questions about the Spanish language itself, as I studied Spanish academically and also spent a significant amount of time living in Chile (as a teacher of English). I can also help with issues of translation, and with interpreting slang or other cultural anecdotes. As an experienced teacher, of both EFL and Spanish, I can answer questions as well about teaching, classroom practice, and the use of technology.

Experience

I am a native speaker of English but have studied Spanish since a young age, as well as living in Chile for 5 years. I learned Spanish as a student myself, and have also taught introductory and intermediate level Spanish courses both privately and at the University level. At the graduate level, I have studied linguistics and sociolinguistics, as well as focusing on language teaching and the use of technology in the classroom.

Organizations
University of Calgary, Canada; Universidad de Concepcion, Chile

Publications
Strickland, B., & O'Brien, M. G. (2013). A Review of the Literature on Technology in Second and Foreign Language Learning. Calgary: University of Calgary. http://arts.ucalgary.ca/lrc/home/literature-review-technology-language-learning Strickland, B. (Summer 2012). Communities of practice in the language classroom: Theory and reality. ETAS Journal. Strickland, B. (2009). De Gardner a Bajtin: La comunicacion mediada por ordenador y su impacto en la clase de lenguas. University of Calgary (Canada), ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing. MR54572. Strickland, B. (2009). El mito de Narciso en la poesía española de los Siglos de Oro. Espéculos: Revista de estudios literarios, 40. http://www.ucm.es/info/especulo/numero40/narciso.html

Education/Credentials
I have an undergraduate degree in Spanish and Psychology from Bowdoin College in the U.S. I completed an M.A. in Spanish and Second Language Acquisition and a PhD dissertation in the same field, both at the University of Calgary in Canada and currently working as an Assistant Professor at the Universidad de Concepción in Concepción, Chile.

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