It’s been a long time since I’ve sat in a language classroom in the role of student. But, as a way of improving my Spanish, it seems as good a place to start as any. (And I might even discover some things about classrooms that I didn’t know).
How will instruction help? Ellis (2008) cites studies in which instructed and non-instructed learners are compared and which find that the former tend to display a greater degree of ‘grammaticalization’ than those who had simply picked up the language off the street, as it were. He concludes that ‘it would follow that a learner who displays “stabilization” might be able to continue learning with the help of instruction’ (p. 31).
Encouraged by this observation, I signed up for a two-week intensive course (4 hours a day, five days a week) in the language school affiliated to one of Barcelona’s several universities.
I chose to do an intensive course on the principle that ‘short sharp shock’ is more efficacious than the long slow haul. This is a view supported in the literature: Muñoz (2012: 142), for example, cites Rifkin (2005) to the effect that ‘there may be ceiling effects in instructed [foreign languages] given the low exposure to the language…. In that respect, Rifkin argues that students must immerse themselves to reach advanced proficiency, either in a domestic immersion program or abroad’. Muñoz cites a number of studies that would seem to confirm this view.
The psychological effect of committing to a course (not to mention handing over the dosh) can’t be overemphasised. Months before the course began I was already feeling the positive effects of having assumed a degree of ‘agency’ with my Spanish: I was no longer simply adrift in a sea of potentially threatening crosslinguistic currents, at the mercy of whatever language flotsam I bumped into. Instead, I felt myself becoming a tiny bit more adventurous: initiating exchanges, venturing a joke, pushing the conversational boundaries, ‘entering the traffic’, to use Kramsch’s (2006) felicitous metaphor.
Immediately prior to the start of the course, though, I had a bit of setback in the form of an email from the course administrator, explaining that only two students (myself included) had been enrolled in the advanced class, hence the course would he reduced from 4 to 2 hours a day, but ‘the price will remain the same, since you will attend almost private lessons, which are actually more expensive’. To which was added: ‘There is also the alternative for you to attend 4 hours a day in a lower level (B2.2 – high intermediate) but with some other students’.
I have to say that I was a little nonplussed by the prospect of ‘almost private lessons’. I’m planning to enlist a private teacher later on, but in the meantime I’ve been looking forward to the group experience, not least because of the opportunities for low-risk interactive practice that this (theoretically) provides. Also, two hours a day just doesn’t seem like the most effective use of my time, and not what I understand as ‘intensive’.
In the event, after a short interview on day one I was shoehorned into the high intermediate group: 6 or so other students from a range of nationalities, and with varied learning histories and motives. All placement is a kind of compromise, let’s face it, and I resigned myself to the fact that, even if I might be sacrificing challenge, I would be rewarded by the many more opportunities for interaction.
The centre itself is well-fitted out and resourced. The four hours of each day are divided into two classes, each with a different (native speaker) teacher. The coursebook (copies of which are loaned to us for the duration of the course) forms the basis of the curriculum, the teachers having been assigned alternating units to teach. Over the two weeks I have had three teachers, all of whom are clearly very experienced, dedicated and muy simpáticas. (If they ever get to read this, I thank them unreservedly).
I kept a sketchy diary of the experience as it evolved. Here is how I summarized the pluses and minuses:
Things I like (because they seem to facilitate the achievement of my goals):
- There is lots of free-ranging, fairly unstructured classroom talk, almost always as a whole class, sometimes in the form of teacher orchestrated Q & A as a way of leading into the coursebook topic, but often spontaneous and student-initiated, arising out of, but not strictly relevant to, some form-focused activity, such as a grammar exercise.
- Teacher’s feedback during these exchanges in the form of correction is salient, and maximally available as uptake (although the feedback can be lost unless you make a deliberate attempt to note it down, in which case you may lose your speaking turn).
- Incidental learning, primarily of vocabulary and phrases, occurs during these exchanges and also during grammar exercises (where in fact often the grammar focus seems secondary).
- The teachers’ ability to pull example situations out of the air to explain aspects of grammar and lexis that arise, and the excellent listening practice this provides.
- Mistakes I make that represent fossilized forms are brought to my attention, e.g. overgeneralization of qué (‘what) when I should be using cuál (which); mas + de instead of mas + que (‘more than’) with numbers; underuse of imperfect forms with stative verbs (estaba, hacía, etc): this really does seem to verge on de-fossilization, leaving me quite often thinking (and sometimes voicing aloud) ‘I’ve spent nearly thirty years saying that without realizing it was wrong!’
- The opportunity to ask questions and get immediate answers about language issues.
- The other students (once the class level stabilized) and especially the way they conspire to ‘subvert’ the (coursebook) lesson by initiating their own topics, but also the easy familiarity that develops which means that opportunities to reference each others’ lives, interests, foibles etc (often in a jokey way) grow exponentially.
- The (admittedly few) opportunities to work in pairs or small groups, such as doing collaborative writing.
- The opportunity to re-use – and be rewarded for using – recently encountered items in subsequent stages of the lesson or even subsequent lessons (although often this requires a deliberate effort on my part, i.e. it’s not a requirement of the task).
- The challenge of doing a presentation to the rest of the class, and the feedback on this – this was a high point.
Things I am less keen on:
- Teacher chalk-and-talk; e.g. board-centred grammar explanations, with teachers varying in their capacity to involve the students in these stages; and/or prolonged teacher-initiated diversions on minimally relevant lexical or grammatical topics.
- A tendency to be over-prescriptive: “people say this but they shouldn’t”, along with a lack of rigor in distinguishing between written vs. spoken grammar.
- Overreliance on English for vocabulary explanations, either by students or teacher, when it was not always clear the extent to which the informant’s English was up to the task or that all of us spoke English well enough to understand the translation. (I was surprised how much I was irritated by this tendency to ‘fall back on’ translation: the struggle to articulate or interpret definitions and examples in Spanish seemed to be well worth the effort).
- Overuse of the coursebook, and the way the coursebook themes and texts dictate the lesson content, even when students generate engaging topics themselves, as well as the fact that sometimes a good hour or more would be devoted to working through the previous day’s homework exercises.
- The relatively narrow and somewhat specialised focus of the coursebook grammar syllabus. Why do writers of coursebooks think that higher level students need to spend a great deal of time focussing on low-frequency structures of relative complexity? The subjunctive was not one of the areas I had diagnosed as being a significant learning target.
- The way the lesson depends on the class ecology, so if a particular student is absent, this delicate balance is disrupted.
- Activities that have minimal learning outcomes, e.g. taking turns to read a text aloud, watching a 25-minute travelogue, anticipating the gaps in the lyrics of a song whose content is highly figurative and hence unpredictable.
- Lack of much sense of urgency: if this is an intensive course, where’s the intensity? It’s almost as if the pace is more leisurely because it is an intensive course. (Admittedly, the other students seem comfortable with the pace and may indeed be instrumental in setting it).
In the next post, I’ll describe the effect that these two weeks seem to have had on my progress, and also on my own understanding of what classroom instruction is good for – and how these benefits might be optimized.
Ellis, R (2008) The Study of Second Language Acquisition (2nd edn), Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Kramsch, C. (2006) ‘The traffic in meaning’, Asia Pacific Journal of Education 26, 99-104.
Muñoz, C. (ed.) (2012) Extensive Exposure Experiences in Second Language Learning, Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
Rifkin, B. (2005) ‘A ceiling effect in traditional classroom foreign language instruction’, Modern Language Journal, 89/1.
September 15th, 2013 at 9:26 am
I’m enjoying every word of your new blog, Scott! I’m also trying to learn Spanish, but a long way behind you, also going to a class, but once a week, so it’s interesting to compare.
September 15th, 2013 at 6:04 pm
Thanks, Sue, and good luck! I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on how the classroom instruction is helping.
September 15th, 2013 at 10:23 am
Thank you for making my Sunday morning coffees even more tasteful and enjoyable.
While reading your post I couldn’t help comparing my classes (the way I teach) to what your Spanish classes look like. So thanks for this short, effective methodology summary.
I totally agree that one can no longer see certain aspects of learning from the point of view of a teacher; that it’s sometimes very useful to go to the other side of the barricade.
However, I feel that the problem of fossilization you are dealing with will inevitably keep drawing your attention to another problem – the inability to find suitable language instruction which would match your needs. The thing is that you know too much about learning and teaching, which complicates the matter for you.
Nevertheless, be it as it may, your posts are a source of useful information for learners and teachers because you are dealing with a difficult and complex topic. Good luck!
September 15th, 2013 at 6:05 pm
Thanks, Hana – yes, matching instruction with needs: that really is the BIG challenge – for both learners and teachers. I suspect I’ll have more to say about that!
September 15th, 2013 at 11:20 am
It’s interesting what you say about an “intensive” course lacking intensity. I think you’re right that when lessons are long and students are in class every day the pace of learning and teaching tends to slow right down. I’ve been reflecting a lot about how some learners on 2×90 minutes a week are somehow able to progress at the same rate as others on full-time courses. Perhaps a lower frequency of lessons actually makes the class contact MORE intensive?
What do you think?
September 15th, 2013 at 6:09 pm
That’s a good point, Steve. However I think that, in the end, the sheer amount of exposure you get in an intensive course counteracts whatever diminution in pace you (inevitably?) experience. At least, that seems to have been the effect on me. It was like having a ‘bath’ in Spanish, even if the water was sometimes a bit tepid!
September 15th, 2013 at 11:58 am
I agree there, Steve, that an “intensive” course is not always intensive. I think it just means 20 hours per week and may have been a term coined by the folks in marketing! In Melbourne, Australia, I would say that the average General English student does about 3 months so it would be hard to really maintain a truly intensive course for all students for that length of time. I guess that’s what teachers try to do in exam classes, with varying degrees of success. You can see students burning out after a couple of months of real intensity in FCE and CAE 🙂
September 15th, 2013 at 4:45 pm
I wonder if your Spanish teachers knew who you are in the world of ELT!
It’s fantastic to read about your experince in class! Surely, for a teacher such an experience (of learning smth, i.e., being where your students usually are) is invaluable, whatever you learn. Not so long ago in my school we started a Spanish course for teachers. Ironically, it’s the teachers’s groups that are the least organised and long-lasting..and I quite agree with Tichahana above-it’s so hard to learn when you know too much about learning!
September 15th, 2013 at 6:11 pm
Svetlana, hi: I tried to keep my identity ‘secret’ – I used my second name rather than my family name. I didn’t want the teachers to feel pressured in any way, nor did I want any ‘special treatment’. In the end, word got out, but not before I had had a long period of very pleasant anonymity.
September 15th, 2013 at 5:26 pm
Hi Scott – thanks for starting this blog. The way your experience as a teacher and trainer informs your perspective as a learner is of real personal interest to me. I’ve tried taking German and French courses (as a high int. learner), but only with very mixed results. I’m looking forward to your next posts, especially when I may get a sense of how your learning experience might mirror my own.
September 15th, 2013 at 6:13 pm
Thanks, Patrick. One of the pleasures of this blog has been to discover how many others are attempting, or have attempted, to kick-start their stabilized L2s. We’re not alone!
September 15th, 2013 at 7:38 pm
I’m really enjoying this.
You say “Teacher’s feedback during these exchanges in the form of correction is salient, and maximally available as uptake (although the feedback can be lost unless you make a deliberate attempt to note it down, in which case you may lose your speaking turn).” Can you say a bit more about saliency, please? And can you define how you’re using “Uptake”?
I’m not being picky, but I’m bit surprised to see you suggest that note-taking during speaking activities is the way to go.
September 15th, 2013 at 10:00 pm
Hi Geoff: what I mean is that, when you get immediate correction of an error that you realize is (entre comillas) ‘fossilized’ (or, at least, a stable feature of your interlanguage), you want to ‘fix’ it, and the best way of doing that is to make a note of it, for future reference. But, as I say, that requires a shift of attention that threatens your hold on the conversational ‘floor’. What’s the alternative? Make a mental note? But how often are these mental notes lost in the general cognitive ‘noise’?
September 15th, 2013 at 10:46 pm
Hmm, very interesting. Just relax on this nice comfy chez longue, and let’s go through this.
You get immediate correction of an error that you realize is fossilized, you want to ‘fix’ it, and you feel that the best way of doing that is to make a note of it, for future reference.
Now, what makes you say that the error is fossilised? It could be just a slip, couldn’t it? How do you recognise fossilised errors?
When did you first experience this feeling that the best way of fixing the error is to make a note of it, for future reference? Can you think of any alternative ways of “fixing errors” which you’ve used in the past or which you’ve heard of?
Has it occurred to you that you are that sort of person who selects the wrong strategy for getting to the level of proficiency in Spanish you say you want? Might there be a self-laid trap in your attempts to learn more? Might you not be relying too much on the wrong kind of learning strategy?
To paraphrase Socrates, send your answers, plus 5 shillings, to my post box and I’ll send you more questions. 🙂
September 16th, 2013 at 10:12 am
Thanks Dr Jordan.
A fossilized error is one whose correction evokes the thought: But I’ve been saying this for nearly 30 years now! (like the question ‘¿Qué es la diferencia?’ instead of ‘¿Cuál es…?). Or using deictic demonstratives (the equivalents of this, that, these, those) in free variation. It’s when these kinds of things occur in real talk, I would like to pause the tape, as it were, and direct my attention at the ‘new’ forms. This is what I would call ‘noticing plus’. I.e. it’s not simply a change in awareness, but a conscious decision to monitor that change and commit it to memory. It’s analogous to pausing your reading to look up an unfamiliar word and write it down. While not conducive to fluency, perhaps, it is probably a useful vocabulary acquisition strategy. No?
September 16th, 2013 at 6:02 pm
Your “definition” of a fossilized error is interesting – seriously, this time. Fossilization surely refers to an end state of one’s interlanguage, yet your 2 examples don’t seem to refer to such an end state; they seem to be persistent errors of production in real time speaking.
On a different tack, neither of your examples seems to call for vocabulary acquisition strategies. In the first example, you know that “¿Qué es la diferencia?” is wrong, and yet you nevertheless find yourself still saying it after 30 years. Do you think note-taking is a good way of moving past this “barrier” which is probably due to L1 interference? Similarly, in the case of your wrong use of deictic demonstratives, I can’t see the connection with vocabulary acquisition strategies. In this second case, is it that you don’t know which deictic demonstrative to use in any specific instance, or that, as in the case of “que”, you know, but hear yourself saying the wrong one? If you ‘re confused about which one to use (perhaps because there are more in Spanish than in English), the solution would seem to be, as a first step, to consult a grammar reference or a teacher. If, on the other hand, it “just comes out wrong”, then we’re in the area of the “que” error.
Suppose that the problem in both cases is that you hear yourself saying things that you know are wrong. Are we not here in the realm of procedural versus declarative knowledge? If so, doesn’t Skehan’s suggestion that we “unpack” bits of the language and then “repack” them so as to become automatic make sense? If it does, then I’d say that oral practice (even drills) makes more sense than taking notes.
September 17th, 2013 at 11:04 am
It’s not so much a case of hearing myself say things that I know are wrong (although that happens too): it’s saying things (and saying things I’ve said a lot before) that I didn’t know were wrong, probably because I got no negative feedback. I agree that some kind of unpacking and repacking (in the form of practice) would be useful, but, as a first step, the ‘noting down’ seems to help bring the problematic form to my conscious attention, as well as acting as a reminder of a problem that might otherwise get forgotten in the general learning ‘noise’.
September 16th, 2013 at 10:45 am
I can really relate to the fallback on L1 or use of English to explain vocabulary, etc. It’s really irritating. As a teacher it felt uncomfortable raising the subject in a positive way with my own teacher who knew I was a teacher.
It feels good as a teacher to know someone else’s L1 well enough to use it in class and it’s a temptation for some teachers to display their own L2 language skills.
September 17th, 2013 at 11:06 am
Thanks, Esteban, for the comment. It’s a tricky one, and I wouldn’t want to proscribe on-the-spot translation to L1 from every teaching situation. But, in my case, it didn’t seem to be justified, and it deprived us of useful cognitive and linguistic ‘work’.
September 16th, 2013 at 1:24 pm
Ellis’ use of “grammaticalization” is curious here. Usually it refers to processes of how lexical items are bleached of semantic content and acquire restricted functionality in set or semi-fixed phrases, thus becoming grammatical items, over long periods of time and repeated language usage. This is what you see hinted at in Larsen-Freeman’s recent writings or Joan Bybee’s body of work. Is Ellis making an adhoc appropriation of this term into SLA?
September 17th, 2013 at 11:09 am
Hi Jonathan – good point, and it wasn’t Ellis but me who used ‘grammaticalization’, in an attempt to capture the point he was making that instructed learners show more use of morphology (e.g. verb endings), hence their output is more ‘grammatical’. I shouldn’t have used the term, which you accurately define in your comment, because it was misleading – thanks for the correction.
September 19th, 2013 at 5:21 am
Actually I think Michael Lewis used this term too, “grammaticalised lexis”, so it’s not unusual at all in ELT. I’ve always thought it somewhat nebulous though. For me it’s a question of the way language is talked about in teacher training and all that entails, and looking for new concepts and ways forward.
September 19th, 2013 at 9:30 am
Hi Jonathan, checking in again, it does seem that ‘grammaticalization’ is used in two senses – the ‘historical’ sense that you refer to, i.e. ‘the process whereby an independent lexical word gradually acquires a grammatical function, sometimes even becoming an affix’ (Schendl, 2001, Historical Linguistics) and the developmental sense, as used by Perdue and Klein (1992) and other researchers on the European Science Foundation project, who were studying naturalistic acquisition across a range of languages and identified a qualitative shift from the ‘basic variety’ (primarily lexical) to the use of verb inflections, plural markers, pronouns, and so on, a process they called grammaticalization. Others, like Sato (1990) prefer the term ‘syntacticization’ (‘the process through which the use of morphosyntactic devices in IL [interlanguage] increases over time, while the reliance on discourse-pragmatic context declines’ (quoted in Mitchell and Myles 2004).
September 16th, 2013 at 2:05 pm
Hi Mr. Thornbury!
What a pleasure it is to ready you describing this experience.
Where I work, we do have intensive courses (3h40m a day x 4 days a week and it lasts 4 weeks). It is my favorite course for it is easier to “see” Ss progress and it fosters a priceless sense of achievement… And there’s a constant sense of urgency: we are in Brazil (I am Brazilian), and Ss need to learn faster for various reasons (work, university, exchange programme in near future…). When I prepare lessons, I also like to consider “would I enjoy doing this activity?” , “would it help me learn better?”. What do you think?
Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us…
September 17th, 2013 at 11:10 am
Thanks, Leonora. Your comment makes me wish I had asked my Spanish teachers if they felt that progress was more marked in the intensive courses than in the more extensive ones. I’m sure they would agree with you.
September 16th, 2013 at 2:58 pm
¡Muy Bien Scott! Felicidades por tu curso. Pero ¿por qué no escribes el diario en Español? Ello no sólo complementaría tu curso, sino que podría hasta converstirse en la base misma de tus estudios.
September 17th, 2013 at 11:24 am
Hola, Ernesto. Si, al principio pensaba que hubiera sido un buen idea escribir el blog en español. Pero, eso hubiera llevado mucho más tiempo, y, ademas, yo hubiera tenido que hacer un blog bilingue, para que todos lo entendan (???),
September 16th, 2013 at 5:07 pm
Thanks, Scott. An interesting read. One thing that struck me was when you said “Things I am less keen on:
…. as well as the fact that sometimes a good hour or more would be devoted to working through the previous day’s homework exercises…..” I assume that is per four hour class. This seems grossly out of proportion and my own feeling is that this ‘ a sackable offence’, I mean I think teachers are duty-bound to find another way of dealing with homework. Answers on a postcard, please, as this is in fact easier said than done.
On another point, I am a great fan of students recording themselves in the classroom, usually when they are doing an extended monologue or an interview, but it occurs to me that recording (part of) you class might make it easier to review the the feedback from the teacher which is so useful, but so fleeting.
September 17th, 2013 at 11:30 am
Hi Chris… when I say that an hour (out of four) might be taken up correcting homework, I should also add that this was often because the correcting process would generate some discussion (on the part of the students) or some explanation (on the part of the teacher).
Good point about recording, too. I wish I had thought to ask that my presentation (we each took turns to do one) had been recorded (although I would have had to steel myself to view it!).
September 16th, 2013 at 9:49 pm
Scott. Nice blog, man.
Could you talk a little bit about the course books you guys are using in your classes? What’s your opinion about them?
September 17th, 2013 at 11:26 am
Hi Bruno… I’ll be talking about the coursebook a bit in the next post. Suffice it to say that the book was in many ways similar to a current upper intermediate EFL textbook.
September 22nd, 2013 at 5:53 pm
Thanks. Looking forward to reading it.
September 17th, 2013 at 9:42 am
Good morning from Istanbul,
Dear Mr Scott,
It’s been such a great pleasure scrutinising your thought-provoking posts indeed!
We’ve experienced your point whilst taking our Teaching Practice Module in the MA Programem of ELT in the University of Aleppo as well as during my teaching classes.
BTW, your lovely ‘debate’ with Mr Harmer was really fabulous!
Cheers for spending the time reading my post indeed!
Mohammad Musaab Wazzan
MA in ELT
University of Aleppo,
September 17th, 2013 at 6:17 pm
Thanks, Mohamed, for your encouragement. S.
September 17th, 2013 at 5:40 pm
Interesting your point on error correction. I also kept a diary of my experiences of learning Spanish in a classroom setting. I also really appreciated the teacher’s on the spot corrections but I felt the same frustration at not having time to make a note of them.
I think it should be the teacher who, when she corrects, also makes a note of the student mistake. Then later on, as the conversation dies down, or speaking activity comes to an end – she reads back mistakes to the students – who try to correct themselves and they then also have time to make a note and ask questions.
I think the teacher as a proficient speaker of the target language is much more capable (than the student) of having a conversation and taking notes at the same time.
I wrote in my diary, “it should be the teacher who has blisters on her fingers at the end of the class, not me!”
September 17th, 2013 at 6:15 pm
Thanks, Richard. I’m glad I’m not alone in thinking that keeping some kind of written record of corrections is a useful learning strategy!
September 18th, 2013 at 11:02 am
Hi Richard, I remember your very interesting talk about your diary at IATEFL a few years back. If my memory serves me right I think that you also said that you sometimes found it easier to take on board oral corrective feedback that was focussed on other people’s errors/slips rather than your own. I think you said this was because there was no loss of face, and because of the lack of pressure to produce a reformulated accurate version yourself. Is that right? I’d love to know what your experiences are with regard to this point Scott?
September 18th, 2013 at 11:33 am
Yes, being an observer of error correction (especially when you have yourself recognized another student’s error but need confirmation) is hugely interesting. I think I could happily sit and watch a long video of someone (of about my level) talking (monologue or dialogue) and getting on-the-spot correction – a bit like watching a master class. Any takers? Is this marketable? 😉
September 17th, 2013 at 6:46 pm
I hope I didn’t imply that note-taking of corrections is not a useful learning strategy. Apologies if this was the impression that my comments made.
September 21st, 2013 at 2:07 pm
Buena suerte con tu español. 🙂 From one learner of Spanish (after decades) to another.
September 21st, 2013 at 6:46 pm
Do you have permission from the your teacher to write in PUBLIC about his lesson Scott?
September 22nd, 2013 at 3:29 am
I don’t have permission, which is why I’m not naming anyone involved, including the centre where I studied. But actually, I have no complaints at all about the centre or the teachers – I gained a great deal from the experience, although I have reservations about what can be achieved in classrooms, especially when individual needs and dispositions are so diverse (see tomorrow’s post).
March 8th, 2014 at 1:00 pm
I attended your seminar in Sydney, Australia at UTS:Insearch in 2013 (you signed my book). Great seminar! I have also began my adventures with Spanish, so I decided to read your blog. I am planning to move to Spain and study an intensive course also, but it is quite difficult to choose a program! I was just wondering if you had any advice or tips about the following:
1) A decent Spanish dictionary that will give you collocations or sentences.
2) Any advice on an insitution in Spain?
3) Do you have a favorite Spanish textbook that you really found helpful?
Feel free to send a private e-mail!
Your blog is fantasic!
March 11th, 2014 at 4:49 pm
Hi Nicholas… thanks for your message. I wish I could give you state-of-the-art advice on dictionaries, but I’m still using a twenty-year-old Collins one, which doesn’t really have the up-to-date corpus-based data that you now find in all English language learners’ dictionaries. I do supplement that, though, with some dictionaries of phraseology, such as Seco, Andrés & Ramos 2004. A grammar textbook which makes reference to corpus information is Sánchez Pérez & Sarmiento González: Gramática Práctica del Español Actual (2005).
Regarding institutions, I’d be loathe to recommend any one in particular because (a) I haven’t tried them all! and (b) I don’t want to make more enemies than I have already! In the end, the choice may be determined by pragmatic factors, such as cost and convenience, given that most institutions of any repute (e.g. those attached to universities and/or advertising qualified teachers) will be fairly similar in their overall approach (at least as advertised), even if there is considerable variety within the teaching staff itself.
April 1st, 2014 at 12:56 am
I’ve been directed to your blog by a friend as I am preparing for my CELTA course. I like the blog posts on your journey to learning Spanish. I’ve only read snippets but they are really insightful.
Learning Spanish as an L2 for you will be the same as learning English as an additional language for many non native speakers. I am an Asian so English is also not my L1. I am always thinking of easier ways to help these learners to acquire their new language. I am looking forward to find some solutions in your blog posts.
Thanks Scott. Have a lovely day!