Spanish class teaches basics
Posted June 14, 2009on:
Paradise ValleyCommunity College offers a wide range of noncredit courses in addition to its credit courses. I’ve taken many of their courses over the years online and at their campus. They not only teach you the subject matter, but they give students an opportunity to meet new and interesting people.
My latest venture includes a Beginning Conversational Spanish course. I took Spanish for three semesters at ASU in the mid-1980s, but the instructors never made us speak enough Spanish so that we’d feel comfortable speaking to Spanish speaking individuals. I think that when you’re older and learn a language there’s a tendency to be afraid of making mistakes and that kept me from speaking Spanish.
Now I go to cover stories for The Catholic Sun and many of the people speak Spanish. I loose a lot from the story when I can’t interview these people, so I decided to do something about it.
Every Tuesday night for eight weeks from 6 to 8 p.m., I attend my Beginning Conversational Spanish class. We get to know each other and our instructor, Albert Shank, makes sure that we speak Spanish during class. He teaches us basic phases and adds vocabulary, and he also asks us for phrases we need to know in our daily lives or for future ventures.
The first night of class we worked in groups of two or three and prepared a conversation to give in front of the class. We worked on it during class and each group gave their presentation at the end of class. Even though I hate to get up in front of people and speak, I survived and remembered most of the conversation.
We work from our text book, “E-Z Spanish,” in groups to learn new vocabulary and phrases. We watch Spanish videos and Shank asks questions about them. Shank suggests that we use English to Spanish flash cards to learn five to seven words a day. A half hour per week of Spanish news, game shows and soap operas also helps in the learning process, he says.
In addition, Shank gives us links to free online study guides like WordReference.com and StudySpanish.com to help us learn Spanish. StudySpanish.com provides tutorials with audio and visual features. I also like to go to FreeRice.com and change the subject to Spanish. I not only learn the meanings of Spanish words, but I also get to contribute rice to hungry people. Shank encourages us to go to Ranch Markets and strike up a conversation with Spanish speaking people there. Even though I won’t be fluent in Spanish at the end of the course, I think this noncredit course gives students an affordable way to learn conversational Spanish.