The Struggle of Learning Spanish

Learning a new language can be a real challenge. I have been self-studying Spanish for some months by using some of the many overwhelming resources online. Also, a lot of Latin American versions make it more confusing. I really needed some professional guidance and when a friend from my yoga class recommended a good Spain-Spanish teacher, I was smart enough to contact her.  I enrolled for a two-times-a-week session, 90 minutes each.

My teacher, Ana Bélen Díaz Espíldora comes to our house in La Herradura every Mondays and Wednesdays. Our living room transforms into a classroom and it’s really a personal and great way of learning.  I understand the concepts faster than just relying on my own research and assumptions. Of course, it also helps to have a patient teacher with the knack for good lesson planning as every student’s capacity varies.  I am really learning a lot but my inability though lies in the confidence in speaking. I can speak the language in small everyday situations, but when a Spanish native speaker replies at super speed, I’m lost and have to use one of the Spanish phrases that all foreigners know: no comprendo, LOL

Ana says it’s normal and she has tailored a good system for me. She uses Spanish when teaching and I understand most of what she is saying. Our home tutorial classes often go this way:

  • Describe my day or weekend while talking in Spanish
  • Review Assignments’ answers and explain a Spanish story in my own words
  • If my results are not good, explain the lesson again
  • When good, introduce a new grammar concept
  • Teacher explains the grammar rule usage
  • Give examples
  • Ask if I understand, if not, explain with more examples
  • Exercises and more assignments
  • If there’s time, we talk about anything in Spanish

Grammar, speaking and reading comprehension is incorporated in a 90 min session. I find it effective for me. But when I shared it to a friend she said it’s boring. That’s understandable, each learner is different and it’s always very important for a teacher to know what works for each student. This skill can be best attained through dealing with people from different nationalities with very different backgrounds, and here, Ana shows her brilliant pedagogical insights. She has been teaching for many years and is also offering Skype lessons. I definitely recommend her.

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