Ryan Pell is an avid blogger and writer who likes sharing his thoughts on helpful educational practices. Currently he works at Preply — the platform where anyone can quickly start learning a foreign language and at any time.
Preply is an online service that matches tutors with students for affordable rates on flexible schedules. On Preply, you can select from over 49,000 online tutors using filters to find the best fit, take lessons anytime, and engage with structured lesson plans on Preply’s own virtual learning platform. Over 100,000 student join Preply every month, so be sure to check it out soon
Read Ryan’s advice below and discover how Preply can help you learn Spanish in the most effective way.
To study any subject, a systematic approach will help much more than a scattered one, and this is especially true for foreign languages. Currently, there are a wide variety of ways to learn, but the four standard methods are:
1. The communicative method
2. The grammatically oriented method
3. The mixed method
4. The immersion method
Knowing the four basic techniques of learning Spanish, and where they succeed and fail, will help you navigate the overall landscape of how to learn the language.
This traditional teaching method originated at the end of the 18th century, and by the middle of the 20th, it was finally formalized and received the name Grammar-Translation method. This method was held as the only acceptable approach until the late 50s. It featured mainly reading and translation as scholars had adapted it from the traditional method of studying Latin. The texts used were often not very relevant or even interesting. This academic approach tended to turn into strained cramming of rules while neglecting their practical application.
To summarize, the grammatically oriented method of learning aims to facilitate the mastery of grammar and memorization of the maximum amount of vocabulary. Though this technique provides solid theoretical knowledge of grammar, it contains clear flaws. Students who used this approach to study the language cannot even remember essential Spanish words and phrases for beginners.
The communicative method formally originated in the 1960s aims to foster students’ communicative competence — the ability to apply a foreign language to convey a specific situation. The student must find the necessary expressions in the other language to reflect the speech situation adequately. The method works best when meeting with a Spanish tutor. With a tutor, conversations can pop up that take you just outside of your language comfort zone and push you to string together the words you do know in real conversation. Preply is the ideal place to practice in this method as you can sign up and find the perfect tutor right away.
Additionally, in this method, students must learn to navigate a variety of speech styles and different texts. Today, most language schools teach through the communicative method, encouraging students to develop the ability and confidence to freely express their thoughts in Spanish. Textbooks compiled using this method typically feature unadapted texts, few translation exercises, and many practical tasks, often accompanied by supplementary audiovisual materials like drawings, photographs, slides, and video clips.
Since each method of language learning has benefits and drawbacks, some students go for a combined approach. Fully mastering the Spanish language requires strong oral and grammatical skills so teaching both simultaneously makes sense.
You can also learn Spanish well by living in a Spanish-speaking country and constantly talking to the local residents. Being immersed in a linguistic environment of Spanish will undoubtedly help you overcome the psychological barrier to speak. Immersion allows for speakers to quickly express their thoughts without worry, but can come with the risk of being more prone to making errors such as using incorrect verb forms or articles as they lack formal language training.
There is no ideally developed, perfect universal methodology in modern linguistics. Modern teaching methods that rely on multimedia tools can turn the learning process into an exciting game and help learners absorb the material more rapidly. However, even while using those helpful softwares, you still have to work hard. Language learning is a long-term process, and if you are serious about achieving success, only continued effort will eventually pay off.