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Taking a Spanish Class Is Not Enough
  • Calendar Apr 06, 2018
  • User Jared Wells
  • Category In Uncategorized
  • Comments 0 Comments
Multi-ethnic group of students

It’s a tragedy that so many people go through years of foreign language instruction in high school and university without feeling confident enough in the language to have a simple conversation. What is required to get an A in a Spanish class is much different from what is required to be able to use the language. It’s unfortunate because being able to converse in a second language could be one of the most practical skills that a student learns in high school.

So if your child wants to get more than just a good grade out of a foreign language class, here are 3 things he or she should be doing.

Consume media in your target language

Do you “waste” time watching TV? Or “trashy” YA fiction? Think about the media you consume. Podcasts, music, articles online, magazines, movies, and on and on. What if, instead of time-wasters, these were valuable investments in your language learning process? Start consuming your media in your target language, and you’ll make reading and listening to your target language something that engages your interest and attention (as opposed to the artificial-sounding conversations we read in our language textbooks!).

Find partners you can practice speaking and listening with regularly

The key to learning any skill is to practice the skill regularly. If you want to improve your skill of memorizing definition, then notecards will probably work fine. But if you want to improve your skill at speaking, speaking is what you need to do. Here is a great article with different web services that can connect you to speaking partners online. But maybe there are one or two students in your class that are interested in going farther than just an A in a class. Schedule time to meet up with them regularly to practice speaking. Start a club at your school, dedicated to speaking the language.

You are going to be bad at it. Be OK with that!

I have a three year old daughter, and let me tell you, she is REALLY bad at English. In a few years, without systematic study, she is going to be REALLY good at it. How? Lots of practice, and no fear of failure. For example, when she hears a new word, she uses it all the time, mostly in incorrect ways. But she keeps at it. Over time, she learns how to use the word correctly. If she were embarrassed about being wrong, she’d probably stop the first time her mother or I corrected her. Instead, she says, “Oh!” and proceeds to improve.

Start using the language, and be ok with your imperfect use of it.

Looking to sharpen your Spanish skills this summer? Give us a call at 858.551.2650 or email to see how we can help!


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