Learning a new language is always a daunting but exciting task. Unfortunately, there is a harsh truth. Regardless of how motivated you are when you begin, your way of learning can greatly determine your success with the language. This especially applies if you want to learn Spanish.
If you want to learn Spanish, there are a number of methods you could follow. For example, you may invest in an online course or move to a Spanish-speaking country for the full immersion experience. We believe that you would prefer to not do either of those things and aim to self-study the language yourself.
The following methodologies are aspects of your learning journey that you should incorporate for success in learning Spanish. Anyone who follows these tips and tricks to the T will most definitely develop a proficiency in Spanish to be proud of!
Before we begin, we do need to start you off with an essential tip that applies whenever you would like to achieve anything!
Maintain a Steady Pace
We cannot stress the importance of this tip enough. We definitely believe that you should make a learning plan. However, it needs to be a learning plan that you are actually capable of sticking to! In other words, your daily and weekly goals need to be reasonable for you.
Of course, what is reasonable for one person may not be reasonable for another. If you are juggling commitments like school and/or work, you probably should not commit to studying Spanish every day for 2 hours. In fact, we do not think this is reasonable unless you are learning Spanish as your full-time occupation.
We suggest creating effective but manageable habits that further your learning of Spanish incrementally every day. It takes about a month to set new habits so make sure to start on beneficial tasks right away!
Seriously, regardless of whether you are living in a Spanish-speaking country or not, you will be able to learn just a well if you carry out specific tasks on a regular basis.
In his book, Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results, author James Clear explains that we should not be focusing on setting goals but mastering tiny behaviors that push you towards success.
The following 3-minute video explains the gist of his philosophy if you find you need a little more convincing. This honestly applies to any goal you plan.
The 5 Best Ways to Learn Spanish
1) Learn with a Spanish Tutor
If you only want to have one thing to do consistently and keep track of, we suggest learning with a Spanish tutor on a weekly basis. We recommend this method because having sessions with a tutor specifically working towards your goals will exponentially increase your results compared to any other method.
Why is this better than learning in a classroom environment? Simply put, in a class with other students, a one-size-fits-all curriculum will be utilized.
In our experience, one-size-fits-all usually does not fit anyone. It’s like buying a shoe a size too small that pinches your toes as walk. Harmful, inconvenient, and ultimately, ineffective. Moreover, the focus will never be on you and the timings, pace, and areas of focus may not be effective for your method of learning.
A great Spanish tutor’s concentration and goals will be aligned with yours. Learning Spanish will become an effort in which you have a team of individuals who are helping you throughout the learning journey. In fact, many non-native Spanish speakers claim that having a Spanish tutor greatly accelerated their fluency in the language.
Trying to navigate through the thousands of hits for “Spanish tutor” when you search for it is near impossible. It’s hard to find reputable Spanish tutors with credentials that suit your needs. This is why searching on an established platform is the way to go.
To help you out, we’ve curated a couple of amazing Spanish tutors who can help you reach a specific level you are aiming for.
Try to schedule your sessions with your tutor at the beginning of the week as it will help you ensure that there are no conflicting commitments. Furthermore, ensure that you have many speaking sessions within your lessons!
2) Flip through Spanish Vocabulary instead of your Instagram feed
You probably have a go-to app on your phone that you frequent when you have nothing else to do. You probably even refresh your feed multiple times to see if anything new comes up.
We recommend that you place that social media app in an obscure area of your phone and replace it with a flashcard app with spaced repetition software.
Remember how we suggested that you build small habits to work toward your larger goal of learning Spanish? This is a great way to start! Download a flashcard app (we suggest Quizlet or Anki) and start flipping through common vocabulary for 10 minutes whenever you are bored.
Not only will this be a productive use of your time, but it will also quench your thirst for Spanish as well as reduce your boredom!
3) Consume Spanish Media!
A great way to learn a language is to consume its popular culture. This can be movies, memes, podcasts, music, etc.
We suggest choosing a dialect and associating popular culture well in advance of actually learning Spanish. If you want to speak the dialect of Argentinian Spanish or that of Spain, you need to curate your materials to focus in that dialect. Switching between different dialects is not really advisable because it will make practically using the language difficult.
Listening to music and podcasts are strong ways to better understand contextual elements of words in the language as well as their pronunciations. Following Spanish meme pages can help you relate to the language and culture; laughter is universal after all! If you decide to take the movies or television route, start familiar with captions before gradually relying on the actual dialogue to understand.
4) Read and write in Spanish
Some of you might find this alarming. How can you read and write in a language you are basically illiterate in?
No need to get anxious! Remember how you learned to read and write in your native language? You probably read picture books and wrote a couple of sentences about your day in kindergarten.
Obviously, you are not at the literacy level in Spanish that you are in your native language. As a result, you will need to take yourself through those elementary school reading and writing activities you did with your native language.
Start small! Read a children’s book and keep a journal to describe your day. Make sure to set these habits and regularly practice them!
5) Join a Spanish learning community
Whether it’s an online forum or a face-to-face meetup, find likeminded people who are also learning Spanish. Regardless of your current level in the language or that of any community member, speaking and discussing and interacting with each other will be constructive learning experiences as itself.
Moreover, having a group of peers who are working toward similar goals can be immensely motivating. You can also get peer guidance when you find yourself stuck at certain periods in your learning journey.
Talentnook is a learning community for learners and teachers alike. We connect like-minded students with helpful tutors and our neighborhood learning model allows for learners to find and connect with other learners and tutors in their vicinity. Most importantly, being a part of this community is absolutely free!
Good luck with your Spanish learning journey and let us know how these techniques help you along your way!