Re: Re: Really learning Spanish?


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:

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!