Not sure whether Spanish classes or private tutoring will work best for your learning style? Here, Carmichael, CA Spanish tutor Joan B. shares her advice for making that decision…
When you’re exploring how to learn Spanish, it’s important to consider the various options, including Spanish classes and private tutoring. Consider your learning style, goals, needs, and abilities when making a decision as to whether Spanish classes or private tutoring will work best for you.
First, reflect on your learning style. Do you learn best with lots of personal attention and individualized instruction, or do you benefit from learning with others, seeing their mistakes and learning progress and hearing concepts repeated several times as exercises are reviewed in small or large groups? Some students really enjoy hearing others responding to the same exercise, and working in small groups together, while others benefit more from focused attention in a one-on-one setting. You can also consider that group classes generally meet more often than private tutoring.
Next, you can take into consideration your goals and needs. What is your main goal(s) in learning Spanish? Is it to prepare for an upcoming trip, become conversant in the language, or learn to speak in a business context? While some Spanish group classes are specialized, Spanish classes are generally ideal for those who want to become generally proficient in speaking and don’t have an urgent timeline. Private tutoring is probably a better option for those who have a deadline (say, a trip to Spain in a few months) or a very specific goal (learning to speak Spanish to communicate with clients, for example). Tutoring allows you to progress quickly toward specific goals since your tutor can work with you to develop the specialized skills you are seeking.
Lastly, your needs and abilities also matter with regard to choosing the appropriate instruction type. If you are a motivated self-learner, going to a group Spanish class to put into practice the concepts you mastered through homework and self-practice can allow for quick progress. If you like more hands-on instruction to master concepts, tutoring may be an excellent way to get the feedback you need, while also allowing you to put the concepts into practice through conversation with your tutor in Spanish. If you have limited time to devote to Spanish learning, tutoring can be an ideal way to optimize the time you have available. Classes can be more time-consuming between attending the classes and doing the homework, but they offer a more extensive and general curriculum that can strengthen your understanding of basic concepts.
The most important thing to consider when choosing between Spanish classes and tutoring is what feels right to you, based on the above elements. If you find it hard to make a choice, you may want to consider taking a class but supplementing it with occasional tutoring sessions to address your specific challenges and goals. Another thing to watch out for is that people often delay when making a decision like this; after contemplating it, don’t forget to take action — no matter what you choose, you’ll be on your way to learning Spanish if you follow through and sign up for that class you found, or schedule your first session with a tutor.
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Joan B. lives in Carmichael, CA and has been teaching high school Spanish for more than 18 years. A lover of language, she’s studied French, Arabic, and Italian and spent time living in Spain. Joan aims to help students improve on tests and increase their conversational ability when traveling to Spanish-speaking countries. Learn more about Joan here!
Photo by Tulane Public Relations