One to one spanish tuition - appreciate any views on this

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23 Jul 2009 00:00 by growler Star rating in Birmingham & Benejúz.... 163 posts Send private message

Hi to all, just got back last night from a week in Costa Blanca. Whilst over there discussed a possible joint venture opportunity with local spaniard who speaks excellent english. I think this might work... she thinks it might work .... but what do you think?

I've always been keen to learn spanish, did it for 2 years at school but that was more than 30 years ago. We have a property over there bought less than 2 years ago (but will stay in UK until around 2015 until youngest completes education). In meantime want to get some constructive use out of our place and maybe even make a few quid into the bargain! (place is paid for).

I've tried a few different resources to learn spanish, inc college, CD, tapes, web, but generally found there's no substitution for being out there and actually "doing it".  I get slightly annoyed when I hear fellow UK-ers asking "can you speak english" as their opening line when dealing with spaniards so personally, I've always made a habit of (a) trying in spanish (b) querying/clarifying it with the spaniard listener (c) writing it down on the spot, (often phonetically), with the object being to achieve both the correct pronunciation and talk using the local lingo as opposed to a version of "queens english" (suppose that should be "kings spanish"?).

What's the plan?
A "surviving spanish" week in spain, which would consist of a choice of 5 learning days from 7 in any single week.

Student(s) would ideally work best if alone, but maybe pheasible for one family member to study with rest of group utilising same accommodation. Would stay at our property which would effectively be kitted out almost as if it were a language school, with all home-based resources being available to the student 24 x7 throughout their stay. Property is 3 bed, 2 bath, 2 garage, pool etc.

For each of the 5 "study days", the student will have a 2 hour, one to one, with my spanish counterpart, with each session being in at least one live/practical context (e.g. shop, restaurant, bar, bank, sports facility, hobby, trade, business environment, or whatever else floats their particular boat). In addition there would be a 1 hour feedback session following each practical session. So total teaching time allocated is 15 hours, plus additional support available via telephone/email.   

The student would be given a customised workbook (survival guide) and additional resources as necessary. Less emphasis would be placed on academic learning however, in favour of practical, in-situ learning, the object being to master a relatively small amount of the day to day language instead of trying to "learn" the whole thing from end to end - if you get my drift.

In summary, student and tutor would agree on realistic (achieveable) learning objectives prior to a course and may be good to measure language skills before vs after to get some idea on success level.   

Any Opinions?
+  Are there lots of other people like me who've struggled with the more traditional learning methods?.. or am I way off course (excuse the pun) with some of my assumptions.

+  What would the "average" person be willing to pay for such a constructive week in spain, given it's a 3 bed accom, a spanish tutor needs to be paid for a minimum 15 hours and I'd like to make a profit  ;O)  ?????

All opinions appreciated and respected.. Pat


Kind Regards..Pat

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24 Jul 2009 16:46 by Marksfish Star rating in Puerto Rey, Vera, Al.... 2469 posts Send private message

Marksfish´s avatar

Our keyholders have tried several methods to learn Spanish. They went to the local Town Hall organised class where you are dumped in a room and everything is spoken in Spanish, sink or swim!! They also had a Spanish lady come to their house for Spanish lessons, on a one to one basis (well two actually). They have now joined a weekly club in a bar where a group gets together and they learn conversational Spanish. Isn't that wat we all ant to do really? Say hello, pass the time of day, not look like such a naive foreigner. Then you can worry about the grammer side of it once you have grasped some of the basic phrases. They seem to be getting on well in this group.



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24 Jul 2009 17:03 by goodstich44 Star rating in northampton. 1652 posts Send private message


sounds a nice idea. I think some will find 3 hours total day after day a bit hard going though by the end of the week, as not long to practice what's learned before being bombarded with more tonque twisters!  ........Could be me though, just being thick?

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24 Jul 2009 17:54 by meggie Star rating in England. 114 posts Send private message

Maybe it's because I was a teacher...or maybe it's just me!  But I am really keen to learn as much Spanish grammar as I can...and the idea of being bombarded with the language sounds great. A friend of mine, who now speaks fluent Spanish, took an intensive course after meeting and falling in love with a Spaniard who couldn't speak any English.  The course lasted 3 months, it was five days a week and it consisted of learning and speaking Spanish for 5 hours a day.   Needless to say, after the 3 months she was speaking Spanish well enough to talk to any of the locals!  I have worked at my Spanish for 4 years and I still find it difficult to hold a conversation with a Spaniard...although I can get what I want when shopping (which doesn't say very much, I know).

I would be interested in an intensive course with a Spanish speaker who can teach me how to say things with the right pronounce the 'v' as a sort of 'b' etc etc.  But, like everyone else, it depends on the cost!  Have you any idea at all what you would have to charge, Pat? Thanks...




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24 Jul 2009 22:35 by alysonwenham Star rating in blackpool, england. 83 posts Send private message

Great idea.  To get an idea of what to charge, have a look on the internet as there seem to be plenty of courses available and then you can see what is offered at what price.


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29 Jul 2009 01:13 by growler Star rating in Birmingham & Benejúz.... 163 posts Send private message

**edit** sorry don't know whats happened to formatting of this post, time for head to hit pillow now so leaving it as is!!!

Thanks to all for some interesting comments...

Marksfish - yes I'm aware many town halls provide lessons but I've yet to hear of a success story,
as you suggest they often seem to deliver it only in spanish which makes it really difficult for those
with zero experience. The weekly club sounds ok but is there a spaniard within the group to oversee
and correct grammer etc straught away?

Goodstich - I wouldn't think 3 hours was too much if the content is deliberately kept relevant and non-complicated.
Just consider if you spent just one hour with a spaniard who had a good command of the english language
how well you could learn (note I say a 'spaniard' not a teacher, and I also say "how well" as opposed to "how much").
If you learned say just two phrases in an hour (properly) by going over them many times, maybe in real-life contexts,
being corrected and encouraged along the way, then there's a good chance you'd have those phrases nailed forever.
If I could master say 6 really relevant phrases in 3 hours I'd be chuffed. In contrast spend 3 hours in a typical classroom environment and then yes I'd agree it could become heavy going.

Meggie - that would be too intense for the likes of me and goodstitch!! I know someone who did that type of learning
with french and they hated it (and it cost a small fortune). Sure if you throw enough info at someone then some of it is
bound to stick, but I prefer to know how to walk before I start racing - if you get my drift. Horses for courses I suppose.

Interesting what you say about the correct accent/pronunciation as this is what drew me to the spaniard I'm interested
in teaming up with. She allowed me to "talk" (struggle) and then corrected me ever so slightly on just a couple of things
and then encouraged me to try again, and again, and again until I sounded good enough to move onto something else.
This is where I find writing things down phonetically helps. She'd speak and I'd write it down just how it sounded to me.
Then once I'd got the sound right, I'd write it underneath correctly. Take "Murcia" for example, which sounds the best.... 
"mercy-ah" or "moor-thee-ah"? 
I know what you mean re "4 years and cant hold a conversation with a Spaniard" but if you (a) ask them to slow down (b) ask
them to write it down then ok maybe you're not conversing in the normal sense but you're still conversing and most of them will
respect you all the more for it (just my opinion).  
Alysonwenham - yes there are lots of 'professional' outfits both in spain and france, as I say above it's horses for courses.
The spanish lady I've mentioned seems to really enjoy coaching individuals so wouldn't be in it just for the money (like the
professionals - no harm in that though). I'm guessing a reasonable weekly charge would be somewhere between 10 and
20euro per hour into the pot so 15 hours somewhere in region of 150-300 and say another 150 for weeks accomodation, which
is important as you'd be much better to "live it" as much as possible in spanish for the whole week.


This message was last edited by growler on 29/07/2009.

Kind Regards..Pat

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29 Jul 2009 14:19 by claire T Star rating in Torremendo, Orihuela. 689 posts Send private message

EOS Supporter

Hi Pat - I think that everyone learns in different ways and I have had both good and bad experiences in learning Spanish.  I think that at the beginning it is important to talk as much as possible and keep the grammar really basic - that can come later when you are trying to develop more fluency.  So, having a class based on talking is, I think a good beginning but I don't understand the idea of splitting the lesson and giving feedback - there would be no point in having a lesson without built-in feedback - at the time rather than later??

One thing you would need to consider is the legality of it all.  Your property would have to be insured as a holiday let (and perhaps a school too? - not sure about that one) and you would need to explore the legal side of paying your teacher. 

As regards payment, I pay 100€ per calendar month for 2 x 2 hours a week in a class of 4 - this includes the text book.  I think that this is actually below the current market rate.  We start with each person talking about what they have done since their last lesson and we are also reading a novel of our choice and tell the class about that too.  The rest of the time is grammar and it is hard!! 

Best of luck with your idea and do let us know how you get on with it.


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29 Jul 2009 15:01 by meggie Star rating in England. 114 posts Send private message

Hi again...

Yes, I know what you mean re things getting too intense for some.  My husband finds it really difficult to speak Spanish, although he improves every time we go there.  However, as many will testify to the same, he understands alot more than he can actally say. He often 'gets' parts of a conversation that I miss.  I reckon this is because he leaves me to do the talking and I am concentrating so hard on understanding what is being said that I miss some of it!!

As Claire points out..everyone learns in different ways.  I guess the Spanish Learning Breaks you are interested in arranging would have to based around a certain Conversation for which case it would be suitable for my husband, but not for me.  I am definitely at the stage where I want to learn to say things in other tenses besides the Present and the Future.




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