Learning a foreign language is not always easy and many people make some basic mistakes that stop them progressing as they would like.
In this article you’ll find 7 tips that we recommend to really make progress in your language learning:
1. Have a clear objective
It may seem obvious, but if you don’t have a good reason to learn Spanish, it’s very likely that sooner than later you will become demotivated. Write down the main reason that encouraged you to learn in the first place and all the doors it’ll open for you in the future. For example: “Being able to make small talk in Spanish” and then write the benefits of achieving that goal, “I will be able to hold a conversation with Spanish-speaking colleagues”.
Once you understand your objectives, you will be able to work towards that and then set new goals so you progress steadily and effectively.
2. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes
If you are not making mistakes, you aren’t trying hard enough! An important part of what you learn will come from the mistakes you make, becoming aware of them, and self-correcting yourself. Your main goal should be to communicate and you shouldn’t be afraid of doing it. Remember, practice makes perfect!
3. Enjoy yourself! Link the language to something that interests you (hobbies, culture, etc)
Stop seeing studying the language as an obligation, the more you enjoy yourself, the better you’ll do! A great wat to do this is to adapt your learning process to your interests. The language quickly becomes part of your daily life and whether it be reading football game reviews in Spanish, or enjoying your favourite book genre in another language, you’ll start relating the language to something positive, instead of hard work.
4. Immerse yourself in the language you are learning
Attending Spanish classes twice a week is great, but what do you do in order to practice the rest of the time? It is very important that you take the initiative and go a step further when it comes to your learning and that you try to immerse yourself in the language as much as possible. But… what does this mean? There are many ways of adding Spanish to your daily routine: change the preferences of your phone and put the language into Spanish, try to watch tv shows in this language. If it’s too difficult, add Spanish subtitles to it! Download some podcasts, follow Spanish twitter accounts, write your shopping list in Spanish, etc. There are lots of ways of practicing what you’ve learnt. It is all about being creative and committed! Add some of these ideas to your routine and you will learn twice as fast and spend half the money.
5. Make the most of technologies (apps on your phone, TV series, etc.).
If you have a smartphone and like apps, then make the most of this resource! There are plenty of educational apps specially designed to help you improve your language skills. An example that has gained popularity in recent times is Duolingo. Through fun and colorful graphics, you can jump from one level to the next one by going through speaking, listening, and grammar exercises. This app splits the content into modules that revolve around a specific theme. Some other cool apps are FluentU, Busuu, Memrise, etc.
6. Spend time with a native speaker.
A great way of improving your new language skills is to practice speaking with a native speaker. They will easily be able to correct any grammar or pronunciation mistakes you make and can introduce you to more informal or colloquial forms of speech that you won’t find in a textbook. Look for conversation groups in your area or find someone interested in doing an exchange… it’s a win-win!
7. Sign up for a Spanish course.
Whether it is a virtual course or if you decide to attend an academy, taking formal lessons is always very helpful. At On-Español we have experienced native teachers that create materials according to the students’ needs and interests.
Can you think of any other ways of making the process of learning a language easier? Share them with us! Leave a comment on our Facebook page or a tweet on our Twitter account and that way we can all help each other achieve our language objectives in a fun and dynamic way! We can’t wait to hear from you!