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Culture —– Horse-n-Buggy Spanish of Old vs. Technology of Today

by Brandi

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April 29th, 2010

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This week’s Spanish culture lesson is a little different from out previous topics.  I would like to start off this week by saluting all of the public-school Spanish teachers of today. You are so dedicated and do such wonderful work usually on a shoe-string budget.  Many of you use so much energy while teaching, and put on “performances” each day for your students to get them to learn Spanish. You do great work and should be commended!!

So why is it that so many students finish Spanish classes without being able to converse in Spanish? That is the issue I would like to address.

In my opinion, one of the major problems with learning Spanish today is that the resources available for people and school classes to learn Spanish are over 100 years old — the manual and the workbook. The same horse-n-buggy approach of 100 years ago is still used today, with an occasional low-budget CD.

Another problem is that most of the textbooks available are designed to teach students how to be Spanish teachers and not how to speak and converse in Spanish. In other words, when students finish a course, they have a lot of grammar rules memorized and can regurgitate them and even conjugate different verbs but can’t actually communicate in Spanish.

What does this do to the average person? The problem is that most students that finish taking Spanish classes have the idea that Spanish is very difficult because of all of the rules and conjugations. Many of you have probably built mental blocks against learning Spanish because when you finished Spanish at school, you couldn’t speak it and much less with a native speaker. So many people I talk to think that they were just not “made” to speak Spanish. They also think that they were the only ones that didn’t get much out of Spanish in school. If you feel this way, don’t worry, you’re not alone, a majority of people that take Spanish in school feel the same way.

Is there hope? Don’t worry, you’re not less intelligent or lacking a “Spanish gene”; in school you were simply trained to memorize grammar rules and verb conjugations but not to speak Spanish! Whew! I can already feel a sigh of relief from many of you who thought you were subpar or damaged intellectually for the rest of your lives because of your experience with Spanish. Think of all of the wasted worries you could’ve put to rest had you known that you were simply learning with the wrong methods!

In my opinion, textbooks, even current “up-to-date” ones generally teach you Spanish backwards. Within the first few months of class, you learn numbers, colors, days of the week and many verb conjugations. The n the real hope is that you’ll later pick up conversational skills.

That is why we at Visual Link Spanish™ have done nine years of research and development to create our courses with modern technology and in a format that actually works. We teach you Spanish like children learn their own language but tailored to adults. First, you learn vocabulary words with computer pictures. It is done in a way that stimulates the brain and teaches you to build sentences. You also learn conversational skills like asking and answering questions. We don’t teach you in-depth grammar at first just like children don’t have grammar lessons when first learning a language. However, you do learn to speak and converse correctly with correct grammar!

When we took English in our later school years, we finally started learning grammar rules. But most of us don’t even remember the grammar rules we learned in school. Does that make us less effective English speakers? NO! The fact that we don’t remember what a prepositional phrase is or the past participle of the word “swim” doesn’t mean we can speak English correctly.

In learning Spanish, there is a little difference however. Verb conjugations are a major part of advanced Spanish. They do have to be learned and practiced to achieve an advance level of Spanish. As you are probably aware, Visual Link Spanish™ Level I is available for the beginning student which takes you from a beginning to an intermediate level and gets you conversational. We also have our Level II verb course that is similar in style to our Level I course but teaches you the ins and outs of verb conjugation. I have lived in foreign countries and taught Spanish personally for three years at the university level and have never seen anything as complete as our course will be for teaching verb conjugations.

Our goal and passion here at Visual Link Spanish™/U.S. Institute of Languages® is to help you learn Spanish using the most modern and technologically advanced methods so when you are finished, you can actually speak Spanish. We are not like many companies who just throw together a Spanish course to make money at your expense and you gain nothing from it. We’ve had many customers say they’ve wasted hundreds of dollars trying to learn Spanish, and finally with our course they were able to learn and communicate in Spanish.

 Thank you so much for reading our blog.  If you would like to learn more about speaking Spanish, please visit our website www.spanishprograms.com

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