Vamos A Aprender Español — 3 Effective Tactics For Learning The Language

I find that the way Spanish is taught in school lacks essential elements that can make classes thoroughly successful. It’s such a shame, really, because Spanish is such a beautiful language and it’s a great foundation for learning other languages. However, most Spanish elective classes fail at being creative and relevant beyond the context of school; this is basically the reason why only a quarter of my class passed the subject at the end of the term. Luckily for me, I didn’t really flunk it; my professor said my grades were okay enough (it’s great having a sister who speaks fluent Spanish). I just failed to submit some requirements for the class. Honestly, I didn’t really learn much in class because I was always bored to the bone just reading the lists of vocabulary words and conjugations.

Anyway, after that “epic fail” of a Spanish class, I decided to try to learn the language a bit more for while I didn’t get good grades, that wasn’t enough to kill my interest in the language. To help me “absorb” the language better, mi hermana, the Spanish teacher, suggested some tactics that could help.

First one was to learn Spanish songs, and translate the parts that I can before checking the official English version. Very effective. I started with Aventura’s song, “Obsesion” which was a particularly good exercise because it had dialogues, told a very familiar story, and was really funny in its cheesiness. I followed that up with “Sin Miedo a Nada” and then “Sabes” by Alex Ubago. From memorizing those songs alone, I managed to expand my vocabulary and learned some lines that I could easily throw around.

Second was to watch telenovelas; they were all the rage back then so I had no complaints — everything from “La Usurpadora,” to “La Mujer de Judas,” to “Gata Salvaje,” to “El Niño que Vino del Mar” — I watched them all. My sister translated the parts that I couldn’t understand and just reviewed me. The really cool thing about watching those was that I also learned correct pronunciation and intonation.

And the last one was to speak the language as often as I can so I could build my confidence. This was effective for a time but I got lazy. That’s usually the problem when most people around you do not speak the same language, which is why my sister strongly recommended studying under teachers from Ecela Spanish (http://ecelaspanish.com/) in a Spanish-speaking country like Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Spain, and others, just like she did. Immersion is the best way to learn a language, for not only do you become thoroughly familiar with it but it also triggers your survival instincts. You’re left with no choice but to learn from everything and everywhere, and then apply what you’ve learned, all in an accelerated space; otherwise, you’d constantly have trouble going about daily activities.

Learning a language is obviously not just a cranial thing; immersion is required because it grows interest and forces consistent application. If Spanish classes in schools provide such experiences, the language can better establish its relevance, and I’m certain that they’d be more successful in producing students that can use the language to their great advantage.

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