Weekly Tip & Optional Homework: Week of 2/17 for the week of 2/24/14

Weekly Tip: 

Goal written by one of PBO’s Students:

“Entender más facilmente.”  (Have an easier time understanding).


The only way to improve your comprehension is by listening, listening and more listening.

I’ve been told many, many times by students that they stopped listening to the radio because they couldn’t understand anything….or that when they’re around native speakers they just tune out because they can’t understand.

While this may be a natural reaction due to frustration, it’s not going to help you improve your listening skills in the least bit.

The only way to improve is to make it a point to listen as much as possible and to give it a while.  Your listening skills are not going to develop in a few weeks.  Remember that learning a language is a lifetime commitment and the point is just to improve a little bit every day.

Some specifics:

            1 – Watching tv is much easier than listening to the radio or watching movies.  If you can watch a tv program every day or every week, you will find it easier to understand what is going on (telenovelas are absolutely the best for learning purposes).  Once tv shows become easier you can move on to things like movies and radio.

            2 – There are numerous sites online that have a video with a transcript.  These can be very helpful for the intermediate and advanced beginner levels.  The only thing is that you usually have to pay for those.  These are just a few that I like:





I also hear that Radio Ambulante (made for native speakers, not Spanish learners) will be coming out with transcripts soon.  This will be a great option for advanced and bilingual students.

            3 – When you’re listening, remember that you don’t need to understand every word.  What you need is to understand the meaning behind the words, rather than every word.  If improving your vocabulary is a goal, then you may want to stop someone and ask them what the word was or stop to look something up in the dictionary, but if comprehension is the goal at that moment, it’s important to listen all the way through without interruptions.

The thing that makes improving comprehension more difficult that improving vocabulary for example, is the frustration involved with not understanding.  When we don’t understand something it’s natural to get frustrated.  But I can tell you that it does get better 🙂  Just give it some time…

 Optional Homework

The optional homework is to bring something in for show-n-tell next week.

– You can bring whatever you want, as long as it’s not dead or alive.

– You will have a max of 10 minutes to talk about what you’re going to show us (no reading it off a piece of a paper).

Some past show-n-tells have been:  Pictures from a trip, wedding, etc., a favorite book, heirlooms, paintings or drawings, favorite apps, dance moves (instructions in Spanish), yoga poses, a favorite song in Spanish with the lyrics, food with the recipe in Spanish, wine tastings and many other interesting things.

The point is to show us something and talk about it in Spanish 🙂