Taking Classes In Spanish

By: Douglas Bower

If you have successfully completed at least The Learnables and The Pimsleur Spanish, Learning Spanish Like Crazy courses, you are ready for the formal study of Spanish (i.e., grammar).

I know this is very costly. I know because I've paid the price myself for these courses. But what do you want? Do you want to become proficient in the language or do you want to start with formal courses that do not teach you spoken fluency? With the former, your investment pays off. With the latter, you are pouring money down the drain.

At this point, a very logical question may come to mind. After paying all that money for The Learnables and The Pimsleur Spanish, Learning Spanish Like Crazy courses, why should you take on more course work, for more money, at the college level? You may be right in asking this question.

If what you want is spoken fluency and you do not care if you learn to read and write in Spanish, then formal grammar courses may not be for you. I get that. It makes sense. But if you want to go after the ability to read and write in the target language, NOW is the time for formal study in the classroom.

After completing The Learnables and Pimsleur Spanish, I attended four months of Total Immersion course work in Guanajuato, Mexico. This was nothing more than the identical course work available at any U.S. college or university, only it was taught completely in Spanish. The classes used the same method, the same grammar, the same everything--only everything was taught in Spanish.

I am convinced that had I NOT had the preparation of at least The Learnables and Pimsleur Spanish, Learning Spanish Like Crazy I would not have made it in the formal coursework. What I learned in the formal classes-the grammatical structures-made sense to me instantly because I had developed a high degree of spoken fluency BEFORE I entered the formal grammar sequence of study.

Now that you have some fluency in spoken Spanish, you are ready to simply enroll in Spanish I at your local college or university. You will, as I wrote earlier, receive a textbook, workbook, CD or cassettes, and a class syllabus. It will seem painfully simple because of your previous preparation but will be an easy "A." In fact, I believe you will be able to "cruise" through the Spanish courses with ease, or at least with greater ease, because of your study with the methods I outlined in the previous chapters.

This formal coursework will prepare you for the study of Spanish literature if you so desire. It will also enable you to read other works in Spanish from the newspaper to novels-if that is what you so desire.

NEXT: What about the Total Immersion courses in Mexico?

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