It’s a new week and I am thrilled to be starting it with a very special post. Today you’ll be reading the first Guest Post on Over The Andes, courtesy Alejandra Rodríguez. Alejandra is a Spanish teacher and the founder of AR Spanish Online. Please continue to read about Alejandra’s teaching methods and her school.
Is there an ideal language teaching method for beginners and intermediate level learners of a language?
By Alejandra Rodríguez, Founder of AR Spanish Online
Not too long ago, the options for language teaching were reduced to studying grammar in a classroom, and that was it. The way of life was also, in general, limited to people’s own surroundings, and frequent travelling was not something they could afford. Because of that, speaking more than one language was probably not a priority for the average working class. Therefore, the way people had access to another language was rather basic. Today, circumstances have changed for most people. Now, travelling is more affordable and more accessible through a variety of means (airplanes, trains, cars, ferries, etc.). Because there is more exposure to different languages and cultures, there is also a need to learn beyond our surroundings and mother tongues. Language teaching has developed and gone through different changes since then. It has had to adapt to people who come from different backgrounds and contexts, and therefore learn in different ways. My name is Alejandra Rodríguez, private Spanish tutor and Founder of AR Spanish Online, my online school dedicated to teaching Spanish for Foreigners online, particularly those whose native language is English. I have had the privilege of working with people from different backgrounds, children and adults, a variety of ages, etc., which has helped me immensely in shaping my teaching methods to best fit my student’s needs. I have been on the teaching journey for several years, and I have seen and tried different approaches. I have also been a student of the English language since I was young, which has been crucial in my experience as a private tutor. I have been an English teacher for Spanish speakers, and a Spanish teacher for speakers of English as well. It has been an incredibly enriching experience so far, and I love learning from my students.
In my years of teaching, what I have noticed is that many times, the existing teaching methods to help beginners or intermediate level learners make progress in their learning processes tend to go to extremes. For instance, some of them are only focused on the knowledge of the language; that is, the most important aspect is related to mastering the grammar and vocabulary on paper. But little attention is given to the performance of that language, that is, being able to use it well in the real world. Another extreme that I have found is the opposite: the only focus is on the speaking part, or the so-called, “conversation”. This gives very little attention to understanding the rules of language. What I have seen happen is that people get bored because they don’t see results in their learning processes. So, they stop learning or they don’t have a desire to continue to learn anymore. Taking all of this into account, is there an ideal teaching method for these students? Well, in my experience as a teacher, I have seen that the best methods for them are those that combine the teaching of knowledge and practice. Those methods that invest the necessary amount of time in competence (knowledge) as well as performance (the use of language) are the ones that usually succeed the most for beginners and intermediate level learners, or even advanced students who need to internalize the language better. Knowledge is reinforced by practice, and practice makes more sense when we understand what we are trying to practice. In my Online school AR Spanish Online, my goal is to always meet my students’ needs, and to make sure that both their competence and performance of Spanish are reinforced and worked on.
If you are interested in knowing more about the competence and performance relationship, about my Spanish classes (General Spanish, Spanish for Specific Purposes and Spanish Public Speaking Skills) and teaching approaches, feel free to visit my website http://www.arspanishonline.com! You can also find me on the AR Spanish Online Facebook page (@arspanishonline), where you will find my latest Blog entries, and soon you’ll be able to find and download resources to improve your Spanish!
Private Spanish Tutor & Founder of AR Spanish Online
FB page: @arspanishonline
Thank you Alejandra for joining us at Over The Andes today.
Please do check out AR Spanish Online via their website or Facebook page for more about learning Spanish!
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