Ask anyone who has tackled learning a language and they will tell you that the learning tools that come up first in search engines and the ones that advertise the most are not necessarily the best ones. They will also tell you that no one tool is perfect. You need several tools.
Yet here’s what most busy people do. The idea comes up of learning Spanish. Maybe they’ve always dreamed of speaking a second language. Maybe their children are learning. Maybe they’re thinking of retiring to a Spanish-speaking country.
They go online, get frustrated in the research, and buy an expensive “comprehensive” program from the first two pages of Google. They use it a month or so, get bored and give up.
Many of the very best tools, often free, are buried by search engines. Amazing teaching features are sometimes even hard to find within web sites themselves.
The sad fact is that the designers of many wonderful, effective tools are usually much better at teaching Spanish than they are at SEO (search engine optimization - that thing that makes even inferior websites and products reach the top two pages of your search results).
Buried in search engine results are teaching sites with free and well-done features including
- Listening videos for understanding Spanish at different speeds
- Narrated stories with click-on word look-up
- Interesting travel blogs with parallel text
- Interactive games and exercises
- Effective grammar videos
- Dozens of Skype tools to help you practice speaking as much as you want
- Contemporary news stories chosen and adapted to teach Spanish
There are Spanish non-profits whose mission it is to promote the Spanish language, real schools and individual Spanish teachers who don’t have big marketing and SEO budgets but do create great free tools on their sites.
The Interactive Guide takes directly you via links to the best, most effective bits, based on research of over 300 sites. It cuts through the clutter and sales copy by linking you to the best features.
What’s more, it shows you how you can put together these features into a unique lesson plan every day. Dozens of sample lesson plans at every level are included to get you started.
What I’ve found is that using different tools keeps you moving and motivated. The Interactive Guide takes you to unheralded sites and the passionate teachers behind them, sites that deserve your attention and consideration...if you could just find them!
Have you tried to research tools and gotten frustrated with how difficult it is even to find out what each program actually costs? The Interactive Guide gives you the cost of paid programs too, sparing you time and frustration.
Who this book is for:
People over 45 who have always wanted to learn Spanish;
People who are considering retiring to a Spanish-Speaking country some day;
People who want to conscientiously plan their mix of free and paid programs based on specific learning style, taste and budget;
People who like technology, but want to keep it simple;
People who are frustrated with digging though misleading labeling and pages of sales pitches to find out the cost;
People who want to read, speak, write and understand spoken Spanish on their choice of subjects;
People who always choose “assorted” chocolates.
If you are on this website, you probably are thinking of moving to a Spanish-speaking country either full- or part-time.
When members of the website Expat.com were asked, “What are the most common misconceptions about Mexico, here was a typical response
“In the 8 years since moving to Mexico from the US, I've met countless expats who assumed they'd "pick up" Spanish while living here, with a few months of local classes. It seems most people don't know that it takes a lot of time and effort (e.g. homework, practice) to learn another language.
When they realize this, many give up and never master more than the most basic Spanish. My advice would be to start even before you move here. Most of us know years in advance before taking the big step of moving to another country. Use this time to start learning and practicing”. - fdinolfo - San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
I don’t know the expat who made the comment, but it’s one I hear echoed on many expat sites and forums. Spanish may only take months to speak, but it takes years to learn how to converse. Isn’t that what you want to do if you live in another country? Expats who can’t converse in Spanish pay more, socialize with natives less and don’t realize the most rewarding facets of expat life.
About the author:
Hi - I’m Kerry Baker and I wrote this book because as an expat, I know how much being able to speak Spanish has enriched my life in Mexico and how hard it is to study from the same language tool week after week.
I use the guide every day to create unique lesson plans tailored to my language goals. By using dozens of different tools, I look forward to my sessions. Every day is different.
Variety keeps you motivated and you'll find staying motivated is the biggest challenge to learning to converse in a new language.