If you are struggling, you need to take action NOW. Please read through the following suggestions and think about how you can implement these strategies. I TRULY want your Spanish learning experience to be positive, successful, and fulfilling. Please let me know how I can help you meet your goals.
- Identify WHY you are not doing well in the course. Are you studying enough? Are you studying the right way? Do you have a weak background? Are your difficulties related to vocabulary? Do you struggle with the grammar? Once you have identified WHY you are not getting the results you want, you can work towards improving your Spanish skills.
2. Are you studying enough?
The University recommends that for every hour spent IN class, you should spend 2 hours preparing/studying for that class. Based on this recommendation, you should be investing 6 hours a week preparing and studying for Spanish.
You may need more, or you may be able to get by with less. J
3. Are you studying the best way?
It is best for you to study often, in short periods of time, rather than in one long session. Five 10-minute study sessions are so much more effective than one 50-minute study session.
Review your vocabulary and grammar DAILY!! You should have internalized the vocabulary and grammar from the previous lecture before the next class.
When learning vocabulary you must be able to produce the Spanish word. Look at the English word and say the Spanish word.
Practice vocabulary on www.conjuguemos.com
Review your grammar notes and use questioning strategies to maximize comprehension. For example: What are Indirect Object Pronouns? Why are they used? How are they used? What are some examples? Create questions for the grammar information and make yourself answer those questions.
4. Do you have a weak background in Spanish?
Did you struggle in previous Spanish classes? Did you forget your vocabulary and grammar from previous Spanish classes?
If so, you need to go back and re-learn that information. Since Spanish in a course that builds upon previously learned material, you must retain all the information from previous chapters and courses. Not remembering vocabulary is a big problem and it quickly creates a “snowball” effect. Students often struggle with grammar concepts because they don’t have the fundamentals (basic grammar and vocabulary) mastered.
You may need to consider retaking a lower-level course as a refresher.
5. To help learn vocabulary:
Study, study, study. Really, this is a time issue. The more time you allot to studying vocabulary, the better you will be. Study in small segments of time and study often. Focus on 10 words at a time. When you have mastered those 10 words, move on to the next. You will be surprised at how fast you can learn 10 words!
Be active with your studying. Don’t just look at the word, but say it or write it. Create mnemonic devices – ways to help you remember the words. Think of other Spanish words that are associated with that word – for example: comer: la comida
Make flashcards. Write the Spanish word on one side and the English word on the other. Carry them with you everywhere so when you have minutes of down time, you can quickly review/study your Spanish. You can also make copies of the vocabulary pages at the end of the chapter for a more portable resource.
Remember that you must be able to produce the Spanish word when given the English word. Going the other way, from Spanish to English, enables you to recognize the word, but not necessarily be able to use it. I often hear students say “I would know it if I saw it.” That is recognition. It is important for listening and reading, but you also want to be able to use the word when speaking.
You can practice your vocabulary on www.conjuguemos.com. Login as a student – USERNAME: utastudent PASSWORD: Spanish. Go to “Spanish vocab by book”. Look for “Puntos de Partida” and select the chapter you are working on.
Another website is http://www.quia.com/pages/spanish126.html
6. Do you struggle with the GRAMMAR?
Read the book.
Review your notes.
Review the activities that we have done in class as well as the online activities and explain to yourself, or better a friend/classmate, why those answers are correct.
Review the grammar tutorials through CENTRO. They are available under the “Grammar Tutorials” tab when you log-in.
Practice verb conjugations on www.conjuguemos.com
This website has grammar explanations – http://www.drlemon.net/Grammar101.html
Several good books are English Grammar for Students of Spanish by Emily Spinelli and Demystifying Spanish Grammar by Brandon Simpson.
7. Are you honestly doing your online work?
Honestly doing your CENTRO assignments will tremendously help your Spanish skills. Don’t cheat, but work through the assignments.
Utilize the resources available to you – you paid $$ for them!! Additional practice (vocabulary and grammar) can be found through the “Activity Pak” and “Online Learning Center” tabs when you log-in to CENTRO.
8. Do you need a tutor?
Tutoring services are available through SOAR, located on the 1st floor of Hammond Hall. Tutors can be helpful for students who have are struggling with grammatical concepts, sentence structure, and or who would like to practice speaking Spanish.
If you get a tutor, please see me so we can discuss a plan for you to most benefit from your tutoring sessions.