Señor Del Olmo
Agoura High School
How should you study Spanish?
As you may already know, learning Spanish, like learning to play anything, requires daily practice. Your ability to understand and communicate in Spanish will only improve if you are willing to use the language each day. Take advantage of every minute you are in the classroom. Don't be afraid to make mistakes when speaking, as this is a normal part of the learning process.
Here is a list of recommendations for how to study Spanish when enrolled in an intensive or accelerated course.
1. PRACTICE EVERY DAY; In class, make every effort to use what you already know. Outside of class, practice what you are learning with classmates or find a student who speaks the language fluently to practice with you. Repeated use of Spanish will help you internalize the language.
2. MAKE INTELLIGENT GUESSES; Spanish has hundreds of cognates, words that look or sound the same as their English equivalents. Learn to recognize and use them.
3. EXPERIMENT TO FIND YOUR OWN LEARNING STYLE AND USE WHAT WORKS FOR YOU! ; Some possibilities are: Make vocabulary cards with Spanish on one side and the English equivalent or a picture on the other; write the answers to all textbook exercises; say words aloud as you study them; look at pictures in magazines or newspapers and try to describe them in Spanish.
4. ORGANIZE YOUR STUDY TIME; When planning a schedule, decide on a certain time each day to study Spanish and stick to it. If you miss a day, make it up! It's much easier to learn a foreign language in small segments each day, rather than trying to study an entire chapter in a few hours.
5. PARTICIPATE; Create learning opportunities for yourself. Don't wait to be called on or for someone else in class to take the initiative. Be aggressive.
6. DON'T BE AFRAID; Don't panic because you don't know a particular word. Listen to what you do understand and guess at the unknown.
7. DRAW ON YOUR OWN LIFE EXPERIENCE; Listen to the context and try to anticipate what you will hear. For example, if talking about fast-food restaurant, what would you expect the following to mean?hamburguesa, cebolla, lechuga, mayonesa, mostaza, patatas fritas, salsa de tomate, tomate, etc.
8. LISTEN TO SPANISH-LANGUAGE RADIO AND TV PROGRAMS;
Learn the lyrics to songs in Spanish you like, and be daring-get involved with one of the many soap operas, called "telenovelas", currently being transmitted on TV in the United States.
9. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE MANY WEB SITES IN SPANISH;
Try to read what they print. Use visual images and cognates to help you understand. If they have an audio component available, listen to it several times if necessary and try to get the gist of what is being said.
10. WHEN READING, DON"T EXPECT TO UNDERSTAND EVERY WORD YOU USE; You will often be asked to work with authentic materials that clearly have some language that you understand and some that you are not expected to know. Always focus on what you do KNOW and use that information to make intelligent guesses about the words and expressions you do not know. All other information probably is not within reach for you at this time. That is perfectly OK. In the questions about a reading, you might be asked to consider the information that is within reach and try to guess at the rest. The questions are likely to guide you towards correct answers.