Have you tried to learning Spanish but then got frustrated because it seemed too difficult or boring? Here are five tips that will unlock vital keys to learning Spanish better, faster and without getting frustrated.
Do activities that are appropriate for your level
In my experience giving Spanish classes for foreigners, many students are in too much of a hurry in their learning process. Students who try to progress too quickly believe that they will do so by studying grammar topics that are more advanced than their current level … big mistake!
The first important piece of advice for learning Spanish is to go step by step, in order to give you time to assimilate the concepts, and to practice with the right exercises for your level. Take it easy and remember that it is better to move forward little by little but steadily, because, in many cases, complex issues can’t be understood without first studying the most basic grammar concepts.
Neither do we recommend that you do exercises that are too easy, because you’ll get bored! You may wonder, if you are self-taught, how you can know which grammar topics are appropriate for your language level? A very easy way to know what you need to learn is to look at the indexes of Spanish books for foreigners. You’ll find some online. Once you know what subjects are essential, look for interactive exercises to practice with, as they usually include solutions and you’ll know where you are going wrong.
Keep in mind what type of student (and person) you are
How can one learn the Spanish language faster and better? First of all, there is no magic formula! You need to realise what learning methods you like the most and which ones motivate you. Every Spanish student is different, every person is different! That’s why another one of the tips I give my Spanish students, in order for them to improve their Spanish, is for them to reflect on their favourite ways of learning.
The best way to learn Spanish at a good pace is to enjoy doing it. Are you a student who memorizes concepts visually? Look for helpful visuals on the grammar topics you have to learn! Do you love the cinema? Improve your Spanish through subtitled films and acquire new vocabulary! If you study a foreign language with little enthusiasm and activities that bore you then you won’t learn so fast!
Be aware that you are going to make a mistake
Something basic you need in order to learn Spanish is a patient and persevering attitude, and yet we often get easily discouraged, we lose incentive and energy – two indispensable pillars in your language learning experience.
You must assume that you’re not going to make a mistake just once, you’re going to do it a thousand times! When an exercise doesn’t go well, when you don’t know how to express an idea in Spanish, or when you don’t understand an audio, be patient and breathe deeply!
Keep in mind that every time you don’t understand something, it is because you have expanded your comfort zone, you’ve left your usual environment and that means you’re making progress! It’s your opportunity to learn new vocabulary and more complex grammar. With each error you take a step forward; there is no better teacher than your errors, and no greater progress is made than when you realise your weak points and work on them in depth.
To strengthen your confidence when it comes to learning Spanish and to avoid frustration, I’ll give you two basic tips that will help you look at failure from another perspective:
- First of all, if you read a text, listen to an audio file, or watch a video, you mustn’t try to understand every single word! You simply don’t need to try and figure out the meaning word by word. Focus on discovering the meaning of the words that are preventing you from understanding the full meaning of the text. If you hardly understand any of the words, then look for another text, audio, video etc. This means that they are too advanced for your current level.
- Secondly, share your frustration with other Spanish students on social networks or forums, because that will help you see that you aren’t the only one who is struggling, and that will be a relief to you. When you feel frustrated, remember everything you have learned
Don’t be afraid to repeat grammar topics or go back over lists of vocabulary that you were supposed to have learnt and memorized. The best way to learn a language is to practice it, so if you haven’t used your Spanish for a while, it’s quite normal that you forget things, or that you don’t remember all the words you need to express yourself well.
If you are working on a vocabulary topic that you have already learned or that you know at least some of, make a list of the vocabulary that you already know. Writing down all the vocabulary will show you just how much you already know about that subject. Students always know more than they think! You can also make sketches and drawings to organize the words you have memorized, and don’t forget to add the new ones you want to learn!
Have someone to guide your learning
The last piece of advice that can help you improve your Spanish faster, and, above all, that will give you confidence when speaking, is to create a network of Spanish-speaking friends. If you are self-taught try to share your experiences with other Spanish students , and also with native speakers with whom you can continue practicing.
Some students find support from other Spanish speakers and do exchange classes with them, but remember! Being a native speaker of a language doesn’t mean you are a teacher. The best way of making excellent progress in Spanish is to have a teacher who is your guide in the learning process. Find a native Spanish teacher to help you progress at a faster pace, with a well-planned study schedule. This will pave the way for you to enjoy the learning experience, and they will also support you when you get frustrated and feel like giving up.
Would you like to have someone to support and guide you in your Spanish learning? Would you like to try a free trial class with me, and learn some handy tricks to help you learn better and faster?