May 17, 2010 at 2:01 pm #55416
Unlike many of my neighbours, I have a passable grasp of the Spanish language, my vocabulary is pretty good, but my verb conjugations were never that strong, and are getting worse as time living in a Brit dominated urb doesn’t really get me the exposure to the language that is needed to really get this stuff fixed in my brain. My biggest weakness is simply that I find it hard to hold a conversation, as the Spaniards seem to speak much faster than my old brain can cope with, even with request for mas despacio.
Now, I really need to get somewhere near fluency, partly out of self respect, partly for work, and partly because I have had the odd hospital visit in my time here, and really want to understand what the hell is going on 😀
So, feel free to suggest ways to make this happen.
At the moment, I’m thinking of signing up for an intensive language course at a school I used when I last got lessons. It was good, but by the end of the 2nd and final week, I just couldn’t take in any more information 😯 Still this looks like the best option at the moment.
I find the hour (or two) a week type of approach to be absolutely useless for me, as these lessons are too slow, and never seem to go anywhere.
I also considered trying to find voluntary work in a Spanish environment, with the idea that I would pick up a lot, and hopefully get the odd correction/assistance from colleagues, but I simply haven’t found anything suitable.
Any other ideas/recommendations?
May 18, 2010 at 7:31 am #98626
In my opinion, nothing beats an intensive course, despite an older brain having the danger of overload! Lessons once or twice a week do not work so well – too much time in between for the brain to forget if not practiced.
But the most important thing is the teaching method used. Find a school that teaches the Direct Method (ie you don’t see the written word until the class has practiced each grammatical step verbally and thoroughly) – so it is the way we learn our own language as a child, aurally first. Nothing is more boring than declining tenses in your head to get it right grammatically before opening your mouth and pouring over pages of grammar. Books should be purely a back-up to what you’ve already learnt, not the actual means of learning.
One school which specialise in this method is International House, which has schools worldwide. See if there is one near you. I’m an ex-direct method teacher and know it works!!
Check this link for all their schools in Spain: http://www.ihworld.com/schooldirectory/index.asp
One BIG recommendation: If your wife will spare you, stay in a Spanish Host Family while you’re doing the course (IH arranges this) – you’ll be surprised how much this will help your Spanish to improve as well as being an experience you’ll never forget. There are 24 IH schools in Spain, this would mean you could choose any one of them.
I think Inlingua Schools also teach by this method but am not so sure of the standard/qualifications of their teachers. Someone I know got a Summer job ‘teaching’ with them once, they had no qualifications but that was years ago. Maybe things have changed?
*I used to teach for IH years ago but have no affiliation with them now and certainly no personal advantage in recommending them. I just know they are one of the best schools out there.
P.S. When I was learning to drive at 17yrs, I was getting nowhere having an (expensive) lesson twice a week. In the end my father said I’ll give you a lesson you won’t forget, and put me in the car.
“Which way?” I asked, and he said “We’re going to London” (we were in Devon in the days of the A30/A38 being the only road).
By the time we got back, fourteen hours later 😯 handling the car had become second-nature. Far better than 14 one-hour lessons. Just a point about intensive learning!
May 18, 2010 at 7:36 am #98627
Hi Charlie, thanks for the tips. The idea of escaping from the wife for a while would indeed be an added bonus 🙂
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