Is There A ‘Best Way To Learn Spanish’?
As the old saying goes ‘there is more than one way to skin a cat‘. This is certainly true of trying to learn a new language and in this case we can apply it to learning Spanish as there are quite a few different ways to go about learning the Spanish language. If you are thinking about learning Spanish or just getting started in the language then spending a little time evaluating the different methods of learning the language that are available to you would be a wise thing for you to do.
To answer the question ‘is there a best way to learn Spanish’ you’ll be glad to know that the answer is a resounding ‘yes’. However the best way to learn Spanish for one person may not be the best way to learn for another and this is something that most people fail to realise before they begin their language learning efforts.
Since we all learn in very different ways it would be a good idea for each of us to make sure that we choose the right method of learning Spanish from the very beginning. We need to figure out the method of learning that best suits our learning style and strengths and avoid the methods of learning that might make our learning experience a more difficult one.
Making the right choice in the method of learning for the type of learner that we are will not only save us time and money but in the long run it will also make the process of learning Spanish a whole lot easier on us and a whole lot more enjoyable overall. It is entirely up to you to discover which is the best way to learn Spanish for you and then commit your time and energy to learning the language using that exact method.
The Three Ways To Go About Learning Spanish
Although there are many ways that you could go about learning Spanish most of them can be categorised one way or another into one of three different methods. Although most people eventually use a combination of methods to learn Spanish the majority will generally start off using just one of the following three methods:
- Try toTeach Yourself
- Take a Class or College Course
- Use an On-Line Course or Program of Some Sort
Should You Try to Teach Yourself ?
One way to learn Spanish is to try to do it on your own by essentially teaching yourself. The self taught method of learning Spanish would traditionally have involved buying one or two Spanish language books and going through them, meticulously learning words and phrases off by heart. Over time your vocabulary would improve and newer more advanced books would be added to your learning material.
In more modern times of course with the internet at our fingertips self taught Spanish learning material is much more accessible to us and often available for free! There is a limitless amount of Spanish learning material available on-line in the form of language learning websites and blogs, language learning forums and also a huge variety of videos that can be found on sites like Youtube for example.
The ‘Pros’ and ‘Cons’of Teaching Yourself Spanish
All the different methods of learning Spanish will hold advantages and disadvantages for some. The following points illustrate some of the advantages and disadvantages associated with trying to teach yourself Spanish.
- One of the big advantages of teaching yourself is that you could save a lot of money that you might otherwise have had to spend on sometimes very expensive ‘Learn Spanish, courses or programs.
- Another great advantage is that you can learn at your own pace. There is no danger of falling behind or on the other hand ending up stuck in a course or program that’s just too slow for you.
- You will have the luxury of doing your learning whenever it suits you. You will be able to organise your learning time so that it fits in with your busy schedule.
- One of the biggest problems you are likely to encounter when trying to teach yourself Spanish is getting the pronunciations of many Spanish words and phrases incorrect. Many letters in the Spanish alphabet do not have the same pronunciation as those in the English alphabet and without a teacher to guide you this can cause problems.
- Unless you are very well organised the complete lack of structure to this method of learning can make it very difficult to stay motivated and move forward and is probably the biggest reason why most people fail when trying to teach themselves Spanish.
Although it is possible to learn Spanish – or any other language for that matter – by the teach yourself method the complete lack of structure and the need for huge self determination means that not many people succeed in learning Spanish in this way.
Is Taking a Class or Enrolling in a College Course the Best Way to Go?
One of the more traditional ways of learning a language is to join a class or enrol in a course at your local university, college or adult learning centre. For most of us our first experience of learning a second language has been in a classroom environment using this exact method of learning.
No matter where you are you will usually not have much difficulty in finding foreign language courses in your local area. Learning through a structured course or series of classes has been a successful method of learning Spanish for many people the world over.
The ‘Pros’ and ‘Cons’of Taking a Spanish Class
As with the self taught Spanish method discussed earlier there will of course be both advantages and disadvantages for some in enrolling in a Spanish learning class of some sort. The ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ of taking a learn Spanish class are outlined below.
- Taking a class to learn Spanish has the advantage of creating a structured learning environment. For those who are short on self discipline this can be a great help.
- You can choose a class that suits your level of Spanish learning. For example there may be beginner, intermediate or advanced courses available. This can save you wasting time and money on learning methods that are too basic or too advanced for the level of Spanish you require.
- One of the biggest advantages with this method of learning a language is that you will have a teacher or tutor to help you get your pronunciation right and also to answer any other questions you may have.
- There is also the ability to interact with other people who are also learning the language. You will be able to discuss your learning problems and share your learning ideas with others – you might even make some great new friends.
- Taking a class in Spanish is not for everyone though. If you have a pretty hectic and busy lifestyle (who doesn’t these days) you may find that being at a specific place at a specific time on a regular basis for the class might not be an option for you.
- Another huge disadvantage with taking a class in Spanish can often be the high cost of the class. Of course this will depend greatly on the duration of the course and the level of Spanish being taught but in general Spanish classes are not cheap.
- Also if you find it difficult to concentrate with a group of people around you or just need more time to take in the lessons than is being allowed you might soon find yourself being left behind and losing interest.
- It is unlikely that one course will get you to the level of Spanish that you require and you might find that you will need to take up to three or more subsequent classes at different levels in order to achieve you Spanish learning goals.
Although taking a class in Spanish has been, and continues to be a successful method of learning the Spanish language for many people, for others it is just not an option. With the busy and often hectic lifestyles that many of us have these days a lot of people will find that they need a more flexible method of learning – one that fits in easily around a busy family/work life schedule.
Is an On-Line Spanish Course the Best Way for You to Learn?
It is easy to see why on-line Spanish courses are so popular these days. The best courses are designed to eliminate all the most common pitfalls associated with other methods of learning a language. The modern on-line Spanish courses are generally very well structured and allow you to learn comfortably at your own pace.
The best courses contain audio, audio visual and reading and writing material and lessons. They are cleverly developed to cater well to the three main types of Spanish learner all at the same time. This is why so many people choose an on-line course as their first choice method for learning a new language. This is also the reason why I myself also chose an on-line Spanish course as my method of choice for learning Spanish.
The ‘Pros’ and ‘Cons’ of On-Line Spanish Courses
There are many companies who offer on-line Spanish courses and most of them are of very good quality. Of course each company will try to tell you that their course is better than their competitors but you will generally find that most on-line courses have similar features and contents. The one I went for is called Rocket Spanish and like many other on-line courses it is well designed to address most of the ‘cons’ associated with other methods of learning Spanish. There are of course a few ‘cons’ associated with on-line Spanish courses that you might need to consider. Both the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ are listed below.
- One of the biggest advantages of on-line courses is that they give you huge flexibility with regard to when you do your learning. You can do your learning at a time that suits you and fits in perfectly with your busy lifestyle.
- Some of the better courses have material that you can download and take with you such as audio files for example. You could store the files on your MP3 player so that you can also do some learning when you’re away from your computer.
- On-line courses generally have a huge variety of different kinds of learning material. Whether you are a visual learner, an auditory learener or a kinesthetic learner you will usually be well catered for.
- Although not quite as well structured as college classes in Spanish for example on-line course are still generally fairly well structured. They usually have short easy to follow lessons that progress you gradually into the Spanish language.
- One of the biggest drawbacks of on-line Spanish courses can be the cost – some courses retail for several hundred dollars.
- Although on-line Spanish courses are reasonably well structured you will still require a fair amount of discipline and self motivation to see the course through.
- In the same way as taking a class in Spanish will only get you to a certain level of Spanish you may find that with some on-line Spanish courses you will need to take an additional course or courses to advance your learning further down the line.
What I myself have learned is that before taking on the challenge of learning any new language you should first figure out which type of learner you are. Once you know your learner type you will be better able to choose the right method of learning to match your learning strengths. Also it is important that the method of learning you choose will fit in comfortably with your lifestyle.
What I found out is that I am a visual learner. The on-line Rocket Spanish course that I chose has plenty of learning material that caters to visual learners like myself. Also the fact that I myself am self employed and as such do not work a regular 9.00 to 5.00 or even a regular five day week meant that I just would not have the time to source the material to try to teach myself. The flexibility offered by an on-line course was the only way for me to go.
Whether you’ve already started your Spanish learning or are just getting into it I hope this article has given you some food for thought as regards the way you’re going about learning how to speak Spanish. If you don’t yet know which type of learner you are then you can use the link below to go and read one of my other articles which may be helpful to you. I’ve also provided a link back to a review I wrote about the Rocket Spanish Premium on-line course that I mentioned in the article above.