Approximately 400 million people speak Spanish in the world; it is the primary or secondary language in 28 countries, according to IMAC, a Spanish language teaching program. With so many speakers, many people are seeking out conversational Spanish courses for social, business and travel. As a conversational Spanish teacher, it is important to keep your students engaged with the language and teach vocabulary that is relevant to their interests. With a few simple exercises and by planning ahead, you can provide a compelling and effective conversational Spanish-speaking course to your students.
Start with the basics. Begin with pronunciation and simple vocabulary, such as greetings or ordering food. Lay the foundations for developing a more complex understanding of the language from the get-go.
Practice with role-playing and scripted conversations to help students practice their conversational skills. Improvised conversation is challenging for new Spanish speakers because they may lack the vocabulary to fully flesh out their thoughts. However, scripted conversations provide excellent examples that fill in the gaps and improvised conversation allows students to see what parts of their vocabulary need improvement.
Practicing writing letters and labeling items around the classroom gives students visual aids as they are learning everyday Spanish vocabulary.
Spend extra time on the parts of the Spanish language that can be especially difficult for English speakers. According to MASCI, a Spanish education and consulting group, most English speakers stumble on learning the concept of gender and the differences between “ser” and “estar.”
Expose your students to Spanish and Latin American culture. Use television and movies for better aural comprehension and have cook nights where students speak Spanish and create dishes from Spanish-speaking countries to keep classes hands-on and fun.
To expand your student base, try catering conversational courses to specific vocabulary sets, such as medical Spanish or travel Spanish.
- To expand your student base, try catering conversational courses to specific vocabulary sets, such as medical Spanish or travel Spanish.
Erica Varlese began her communications career in 2005. She served as the assistant news editor and arts and leisure editor at "The Acorn," her campus newspaper, and has been published in "BUST Magazine," "Education and Outreach in Evolution" and "Monkey Puzzle Press Magazine." Varlese has a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and French from Drew University.