Learn Spanish online? Even for free?
We often have students that started learning Spanish online, with some Apps, specific webpages, or maybe also with a teacher in video conferences. But as Spanish School El Zonte, we don’t think that this is a good idea to learn Spanish efficiently! In this article, we would like to give you our opinion and some advice about learning Spanish online.
Learn Spanish online for free: Are personal classes dead?
Well, learn Spanish online completely might work for some people, but in general, we think online Spanish classes can’t substitute one-to-one lessons with a teacher that sits right in front of you. Of course, we realized that because of the digitalization, almost everything is accessible at any time, wherever you are. You can choose from a large variety of providers of free online Spanish classes that are well structured and professionally designed. Also, you can study your vocabulary and grammar with some professional and useful Spanish learning apps that are more or less motivational.
And, to mention another argument why “live” Spanish classes might be dead soon: You can also save a lot of money! There seems to be no need to travel around the world and learn Spanish, spending your money on food and accommodation – and the lessons, of course. BUT: Still, there’re some big mistakes in thinking like that.
Personal Spanish classes: The beginning of a real learning process
Learning Spanish online can’t substitute the experiences that you make with a private teacher that sits right in front of you! Why? Well, there’re several reasons:
1. Online communication is different
Communication online can’t substitute a personal conversation. An experienced teacher can see and feel when you don’t feel comfortable. She or he will be able to notice when you’re tired if you can’t concentrate or if you didn’t understand certain things. All the micro-expressions and movements you do when you feel uncomfortable (or well) are getting lost in our digital world if you learn Spanish online. An excellent Spanish teacher always adapts his methods and the content of his lessons to your personal needs that might change each day. And no App to learn Spanish can substitute personal connection between a teacher and a student.
2. Learning Spanish is more than grammar and vocabulary
Another critical point is that no online Spanish class or App can substitute the experiences you make while you’re traveling to a Spanish speaking country. You always have a motivation why you learn Spanish at all: travel, your job, you’re a language nerd, you felt lost last time when you were in a Spanish speaking country and many other reasons. But the motivation to learn Spanish is always more significant when interacting with people (and your teacher). There’s a real need to communicate!
Learn Spanish online can’t substitute real-world interaction! And that should be the main idea of learning Spanish (and any other language). You learn more during a real (Spanish) conversation while you’re traveling than in any other Spanish class. The things you’ve learned in your Spanish lessons must be practiced and as realistic as often as possible! And by the way: You always get to know a different culture learning Spanish in a Spanish speaking country. No online class and no app to learn Spanish can substitute that!
3. Learning Spanish online doesn't make you speak Spanish!
In our humble opinion, that’s the reason why personal Spanish lessons in a Spanish speaking country are indispensable for most people. We’ve often made the experience that some students show some decent knowledge in our placement tests, but they are not able to have a simple conversation at all. They struggle to have a daily conversation and feel uncomfortable because of all the mistakes they might make. If you have a good personal connection with your teacher, your Spanish will soon become more fluent.
During a private Spanish class, there’s no distraction at all. It’s just you and your teacher. A well-trained Spanish teacher lets you speak as often as possible to let you practice your Spanish! Plus: Before and after your class, your Spanish learning progress keeps going if you want to. Order your beer in Spanish, go to the beach and have a conversation with the local fisherman, take a surf class in Spanish, and so on! Have you ever tried that online?
4. The more you invest, the more you get!
Well, at least that’s a pearl of elementary but true wisdom. If you spend money to learn Spanish, there’s some certain pressure from yourself that you do your best to make to most of the money that you invested. Yes, you have to spend money on a plane ticket, accommodation and food – and personal Spanish classes, of course. And it’s so different from sitting at home alone (or in a video conference).
You decided to spend more time and money to learn Spanish. We often see our students so motivated to learn Spanish and to make significant progress in only 10 hours! We believe that also because they want to learn Spanish seriously – no matter if there are more significant expenses. In the end, they learned way more than in the same amount of online lessons.
Conclusion: Learn Spanish online? Yes or no?
We don’t want to say that learning Spanish online or with certain apps, video conferences and webpages are not right. It is – for some people – and we do offer Spanish classes online! But mainly these are students that have visited us personally at Spanish School El Zonte before. Our teachers know them well and their needs and their actual Spanish level.
Learning Spanish online with Apps or specific webpages (like duolingo.com, for example) may complete and practice your Spanish grammar and vocabulary – but you won’t improve your spoken Spanish a lot. Besides that, no one would be able to correct your pronunciation. Our recommendation is the following: If you need to practice a specific topic of Spanish grammar and if you’re an experienced advanced Spanish speaker, you might consider taking online classes or learn Spanish with particular webpages (or books). For any other person (and that’s 95% of the people who would like to learn Spanish), we recommend taking at least 10-20 hours of private Spanish lessons in a Spanish speaking country.
Also, we think it’s a good idea for advanced speakers to take some private lessons from time to time. It’s good to get some structure into your grammar and to check your spoken and written Spanish also.
It always depends on what you want and what’s your motivation to learn Spanish online or with a real teacher sitting in front of you. But we genuinely believe that even in the year 2050, there won’t be a perfect substitute for a personal Spanish class in a Spanish speaking country.