Teacher’s Interview – Isabel about learning Spanish in Spain

Teacher’s Interview – Isabel about learning Spanish in Spain

Spanish Teacher Isabel
This August we chat with our teacher Isabel Piñana Plaza about her experience as a Spanish Teacher & the importance of Learning Spanish in Spain.    
 
Isabel is passionate about teaching the Spanish language, writing poetry and practicing yoga. She has many years of experience in teaching all levels of Spanish and has taught in many places: from Gran Canaria and Barcelona to Singapore. We asked her about the main difficulties for a student when starting to learn Spanish. What is difference when you learn Spanish in Spain? We wish you an interesting reading!
 
 
Q: Dear Isabel, do you remember your first Spanish lesson as a teacher? When was it and how did you manage it? 
A: I will never forget my first lesson. It was in a school in Barcelona which was specialized in teaching Spanish to students from the United States. At that time I was in charge of the cultural program. One day the school manager told me that she urgently needed a Spanish teacher for the next day. I did not think about my answer “Yes!”. I went home highly motivated and spent the whole evening searching materials from my Hispanic Philology studies and preparing my class. I am Spanish; I am a philologist, what could possibly go wrong? Well… Next day I go into the classroom and meet 25(!) students with level “cero patatero”, they didn’t know a single word in Spanish. I was sooo nervous. I started speaking and before I knew it, I somehow taught all the contents of an A1 level (80 class hours) in 15 minutes. The faces of my students were… they were just freaking out. A total disaster! This day I decided: I will never teach Spanish again in my live! But the next day I showed up in class and enrol for a Master of Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language. And here I am, doing what I love!
 
Q: What do you think is the most difficult thing to learn from Spanish as a foreign language?
A: The verbs “ser” and “estar”, the different types of past tense and the “subjuntivo” are confusing topics for the students. It is very enriching helping them get over these obstacles and see how they develop their skills and most often end up reaching a C1 level. It is precisely for these difficult topics when learning 24/7 in a Spanish speaking country becomes very useful.
 
Q: What do you think is the advantage of learning Spanish in Spain?
A: The use of the language is just so real. The student learns what he needs for the real life situations he is experiencing. In class, at the stores, in a bar, surrounded by locals. In a real context the learning speed increases exponentially.
 
Q: Which role plays the Spanish Language School in the learning of the language?
A: Deeply understanding how a language works can not be done without understanding how a culture works. How people from a country feel, think and live has a key influence on the evolution of a language. A teacher in Spain does not just teach you the rules; you get to experience first hand why these rules are applied.
 
Q: What is the usual motivation for people to learn Spanish?
A: Travel, friends, work, love. All the usual reasons to learn a new language. And there are a lot of people and countries speaking Spanish in the world; thus there is a lot of travel, friends, work and love to be practiced in Spanish.
 
Q: What three things can the future students of Spanish Courses Gran Canaria – Academia El Capitán expect from their experience in our Spanish Language School?
A: Fun learning Spanish, a family atmosphere with the school team but also with the welcoming locals of the island and for sure clearly improving their communication skills in a very short period.

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