Archive for the ‘Learning Methods’ Category

Make Learning Spanish Fun – Mix Up the Learning Experience

Monday, January 6th, 2014

That old adage that variety is the spice of life is absolutely true. When it comes to learning Spanish by mixing up your learning experiences you will have far more fun learning the language and will come into contact with a wide range of Spanish too.

While it is great to enroll in a Spanish course and faithfully attend your lessons, this should not be the total extent of your flirtation with the Spanish language. There are many great resources available to you that will make learning Spanish fun.

If you are taking a Spanish language class, look for classes where the teacher does not just stick to a course book. Spending hours looking at grammar tables in a text book is a sure shot way to kill off motivation to learn. Your teacher should employ a variety of exercises in a lesson that uses both visual and kinesthetic materials as well as auditory work. Classes should also have a strong communication focus, which means you are required to talk. Let’s face it, the teacher already knows how to speak Spanish, they should be talking as little as possible and allowing you to speak and try on the new language.

Social networking is the past time of this generation, so why not do it in Spanish too? There are more than 400 million native Spanish speakers around the world and many of them have Facebook and Hi-5 accounts or use Twitter and Messenger. By hooking up with these people online you can practice your Spanish, learn new vocabulary, slang and see how Spanish is used in the “real world”.

Instead of visiting your favorite websites in English change the screen language on the site to Spanish, or find similar sites that are operational in Spanish. By reading them in Spanish you will be steadily improving your language skills.

Make Youtube your best friend and download music videos and programs in Spanish. Singing along is a wonderful way to improve your pronunciation, intonation and to increase the speed with which you can vocalize Spanish words. You can also get a little listening practice in by visiting Spanish news websites and downloading pod casts to your MP3 player. These are good to listen to while you are commuting or working out at the gym.

If you are inclined to a little light literature, then check out some of the Spanish poetry available on the Internet. It is impossible to read Pablo Neruda and not fall in love with the Spanish language. For something a little less intense, look out for free Spanish e-books on topics that tickle your fancy. Reading is a guaranteed way to help improve your Spanish, especially your vocabulary.

Regardless of how old you are everybody loves a game every now and again. Check out online games such as Scrabble in Spanish or crosswords. You can play them completely free on many websites with the help of a simple Google search. Playing games like this will help to boost your vocabulary and retain new words in your head.

Start a conversation club with some of your fellow class mates or find Spanish speaking groups, there is always one around somewhere. It is very important to practice speaking to develop your fluency and by conversing you will also get much better at listening.

If you do things in the same way all the time, even the world’s most fun activities soon lose their appeal. The secret to staying motivated with your Spanish language learning is to keep trying different things and mix up the learning experience. If you do this, then mastering Spanish is well and truly within your grasp.

Watch TV and Learn Spanish

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

Using TV, whether it is broadcast programs or DVDs, can be a great tool for helping you to learn Spanish. It might be called the idiot box from time to time, but when you are trying to master Spanish that is a misnomer. In fact, it can be one of your greatest resources.

Using video or television can benefit your Spanish ability in many different ways. From improving your listening skills to enabling you to tell someone off in Spanish using creative vocabulary generally involving references to one’s mother, TV can really help your Spanish along.

One of the obvious ways that it can work is by improving your listening skills. The more you listen, the more you are likely to understand. Spanish is quite a fast language and it can be hard to adjust to the speed of listening required. Regularly force yourself to listen carefully to Spanish language programs and you will be amazed at how your listening ability improves.

Another benefit you will get from listening regularly to spoken Spanish using your TV is a sense for how the language should sound. This might seem a bit strange, but when your Spanish ear is well developed you will be able to tell when, what you are saying is not correct and you may be able to fix your error. A sense of the Spanish language is just as important as an understanding of the language and with it you will be able to hear the difference between different Spanish accents.

Speaking of accents, this brings us to the next point: pronunciation. When you listen to how Spanish is spoken you can begin to mimic the sounds and rhythms of the language more effectively. You can create your own listen and repeat exercises at home using DVD. Simply listen carefully to a sentence or phrase, then pause the DVD and repeat using your best impersonation. Your mouth will begin to be able to reproduce the sounds just the way you hear them – even the double “r”!

The person who invented DVDs was a genius and the person that decided to put different audio and subtitle options onto DVDs was a super genius. It means that you can watch just about any movie in Spanish, rather than having to watch obscure foreign movies like on video in the past.

Subtitles are wonderful, wonderful things. What your ears might miss, your eyes can catch. Use subtitles on the television to expand your vocabulary. When watching a movie with the Spanish subtitles on you will pick up all kinds of colorful language and slang. But more importantly, you will see how Spanish is spoken everyday around the world. You will see the grammar forms that are used more commonly than others and you will become more familiar with sentence structure and verb forms.

Watching television in English with the subtitles on might seem a little bit like cheating, but it is actually a very valuable exercise. You can pick up many useful new expressions and phrases by doing this. It is easier for us to read Spanish, than it is to listen to it, so this can be a useful start to using DVDs and TV to improve your Spanish. As you get more confident then you can switch to Spanish audio and subtitles.

Using TV can be a very powerful way to improve your Spanish. There are many benefits such as improving your listening, vocabulary, pronunciation, intonation and even reading skills. Most DVDs come with Spanish language options these days, which means that you can make any movie experience an educational one as well.

How The Internet Can Help You Learn Spanish

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

What would we do without the Internet? It has changed our lives in so many ways, one of which is helping to learn a foreign language. The Internet is flush with millions of Spanish language learning resources that are waiting for you to utilize them. There is no doubt about it, the Internet has drastically changed the way teachers teach languages and how students study.

These days most Spanish classes are more dynamic than in the past, thanks to the Internet. Teachers can get many creative ideas on how to teach a language point in the classroom as well as using fabulous online resources such as Youtube and hardware such as interactive whiteboards. There is no doubt that the Internet has truly changed the face of teaching languages.

In the past it was difficult to find Spanish language resources and they were generally very expensive. To learn a language effectively, one was much more beholden to their Spanish teacher, who stockpiled worksheets and other resources they had either made or found. Students of languages such as Spanish are more autonomous in their language learning nowadays. Thanks to all the Spanish language sites on the Internet, students can really take control of their own learning and complete extra worksheets or grammar points found online to consolidate their learning outside of the classroom.

There are two categories of resources that you can use on the Internet: resources that are designed to teach elements of Spanish and resources that are authentic materials. Both of these can be used effectively by you to further your Spanish study in different ways.

Teaching materials include items like online lessons, grammar tables, online dictionaries, quizzes and worksheets. There are several sites on the Internet where you can get lessons on different aspects of learning Spanish, either for a low price or for free. Generally these lessons will explain a grammar point, give some examples of its usage and then provide some type of study material such as an online quiz or a printable worksheet. Resources such as online dictionaries are also a useful tool when studying at home on the Internet. There are many web newsletters you can sign up for that will send you new phrases or vocabulary everyday into your inbox – a quick and easy way to build your vocabulary.

Authentic materials can also be used to help you learn Spanish. An authentic material is teacher speak for something that a Spanish speaker would actually use in real life. It can be any item that uses Spanish and in a cyber sense would be things like online newspapers, forums, Youtube clips in Spanish, Twitter accounts in Spanish or any other Internet site that uses Spanish as its medium of communication. By engaging with authentic materials you can experience the way that Spanish is used both formally and informally around the world. You can develop a sense for the grammar tenses that are used most frequently and learn slang from informal Spanish sites. On formal sites you can learn how Spanish is used correctly in writing and develop your reading skills.

There is no doubt that the Internet has completely changed the way we learn languages. Teaching of Spanish as a foreign language has become much more interesting and creative and lessons are generally more communicative in their approach. Teachers can find new ideas and resources much more easily than in the past.

For Spanish language learners there are profuse amounts of resources that can aid their learning. There is really no excuse to rest on your laurels when learning Spanish. By utilizing the vast amount of Spanish resources out there in cyber space you can really accelerate your learning and have fun doing it.