Not sure if you’re practicing Spanish enough to reach your goals? Make sure you’re getting enough practice time with these tips from Spanish teacher Emmanuel N…
The fastest way to learn Spanish is to practice and use the language as much as possible. Think about it, kids go to school five days a week from kindergarten to high school, and they use English constantly. They read, write, and learn new words and vocabulary. In order to learn a new language, you have to practice speaking, writing, and reading.
You might be wondering what’s the fastest way to learn Spanish, and the answer is that it depends on how often you practice and use the language. So how often do you need to practice in order to improve? My recommendation: Every. Single. Day.
Find Time to Practice
I realize not everyone is able (or even willing) to practice every day, but it really is the fastest way to learn Spanish. If you want to learn and improve, you need to make a commitment and find time to practice. When it comes to Spanish, just like any other skill, practice is the key to learning. This doesn’t mean you need to study constantly or complete limitless assignments and homework.
Make Learning Fun
Learning Spanish can be fun, and it’s important to find a study strategy that works for you. Here are two effective learning strategies that you can try.
- Listen (and sing along if you want) to Spanish songs. Find videos on YouTube that have English translations for the Spanish lyrics. You can also do this yourself: find the Spanish lyrics and use Google to translate the words. This will be easier if you understand Spanish expressions, and the best way to learn this is through conversations.
- Watch Spanish shows and movies, or English shows and movies that are translated in Spanish. If you’re a beginner, turn on the English subtitles to help you follow along. It may be difficult to understand the shows at first since fluent Spanish speakers speak pretty fast, but you’ll be able to understand more words and phrases as you continue to practice.
Find a Teacher
I have shared some ideas and suggestions to help you improve your Spanish, but at the end of the day it always helps to have someone to help you study. Not everyone has Spanish-speaking friends or relatives. This is where a Spanish tutor can help. I like to structure my Spanish lessons like conversations you would have with a Spanish-speaking friend. I understand that learning a new language is difficult, and I try to encourage my students when they make mistakes. A teacher can offer extra help if you’re struggling, and help you determine what you want to learn and practice.
Do Your Homework!
I’m a firm believer in homework as a study tool. Just because the lesson is over, doesn’t mean you’re done learning. Here are some things you can do on your own to practice your Spanish between lessons.
- Write (in Spanish) about your day, week, or weekend.
- Write down all the Spanish words you hear during the day that you don’t understand. Ask your teacher to explain the words in your next lesson.
- Watch your favorite show and describe the plot in Spanish.
I’m Latino, but English was my main language because I used it in school. After years of practicing with my family, I managed to improve my Spanish. I’m not fluent and I may not have the perfect accent, but I never gave up on learning. I encourage you to do the same to learn Spanish; challenge yourself, stick with it, and have fun!
Emmanuel M. teaches Spanish online. A California State University, Fullerton graduate and native Spanish speaker, he also teaches essay writing, study skills, and singing. Learn more about Emmanuel here!
Photo by City Year