Classroom Spanish Is Not Spoken In The Street
I think this difference between the language you learn in the classroom and what “normal” people use is what makes learning a language so challenging but also so rewarding.
Language Is First and Foremost Oral Communication
This is what it started out as before mass literacy but unfortunately we have lost touch with this and have tried to make language something that we can only get from a book. Books are a great learning aid but nothing beats oral communication with real speakers. You need to find the balance, it is essential that you feel that you can start getting your point across quite quickly into the language learning process and that you don’t get too bogged down with concerns about accuracy.
It Takes Ages
You will see “Learn Spanish in 30 Days” claims everywhere online, sometimes even more far fetched claims. In fact, there should be a law against it because you will not achieve fluency level in a month. You could do an intensive course of eight hours a day for a month which would bring you to a simple conversation level if you have an aptitude for languages, but the truth is it takes a long time.
Learning a language is like losing weight. Claims such as “lose four stones in 28 days” are parallel to learn Spanish in 28 days. We all know that weight loss and maintaining that weight goal is hard work; well learning Spanish requires a similar level of dedication.
Constance Is What Counts
It takes time and effort and there will be stretches of time when progress feels nil. Learning a language is all about the highs and the lows. One cannot exist with out the other.
Your Preferred Learning Style Is So Important
There are three principal learning styles auditory, kinesthetic and visual. An auditory learner depends on hearing and speaking as a main way of learning. Auditory learners must be able to hear what is being said in order to understand and may have difficulty with instructions that are written.
Kinesthetic learners are commonly known as do-ers. Learning takes place by the student actually carrying out a physical activity.
Visual learning is a teaching and learning style in which ideas, concepts, data and other information are associated with images and techniques e.g., graphs, mind maps etc..
You need to become aware of how you learn, what works for you and what doesn’t. You can only find this out by trying a variety of materials and lessons. Give everything a chance and keep trying until it feels right. It is essential that you understand the purpose of how you are learning.
If you go to lessons feel free to be curious and ask the teacher why you are studying this in a certain way. This will help you with your own private study.
Be willing to experiment and take risks. For example don’t feel stuck with one method of learning vocabulary, e.g., from lists if the new words don’t click. Find a method that suits you but don’t expect it to come from your teacher, it may require you doing a search online for “ways to learn new vocabulary”.
You Will Make Mistakes
It’s great to make mistakes, you learn so much as it is part of the process and it’s a great way of discovering your learning style. So don’t be put off by it.
Everyone Gets Bored
Accepting this is key. There is an initial honeymoon period to learning languages when everything is fresh and new; colours, names of fruit, numbers, etc. It is all so new and exciting then… bam… it all gets a bit monotonous and that’s when we feel bored and distracted.
Boredom is usually a sign that we need to shake it up a little!
Mike James has been studying Spanish for many years whilst living in Spain. His interest in the Spanish language and Spain has led him create various resources online on the subjects with the latest being about Malaga airport on the Costa del Sol and Malaga car hire. Mike is continuing his current tour of Southern Spain and will soon be writing about many other destinations.