Goal written by one of PBO’s Students: “Hablar con más confianza.” (Speak with more confidence).
I wish I had a magic wand to wave around and make you feel more comfortable speaking Spanish. I don’t, but I do have some tips and ideas for you to keep in mind:
1 – The more you practice the easier it gets. If speaking to native speakers scares the crap out of you right now, try talking to yourself for a while. The topic doesn’t matter, as long as you’re doing it out loud. We all have 8 million thoughts every day – just say them out loud in Spanish so that you get used to the sound of your voice in another language. That’s half the problem – thinking that you sound weird because it’s so foreign (no pun intended). But after some time you will get used to it 🙂 The more you practice, the easier it will get…like everything else in life. And remember the skill we practiced last week, for when you don’t have the right vocabulary…describe, describe, describe 🙂
2 – Next time you come to class ask your teacher to tell you about their experience learning English and ask them to do it in English. You will notice that 75% of our teachers have an accent and learned English as a 2nd or 3rd language, as an adult. Their English is not perfect and you can tell right away that it’s not their first language, but do you care? No! Are you critiquing them? No! Are you thinking “Oh God, they should not be speaking English!” – no, you’re thinking “Thank God that we can communicate” – that’s it – no judgement. The only time that we tend to judge others when they’re speaking English is when we can’t understand them. This is why it’s important to slow down when you speak a foreign language. There is nothing worse than speaking with someone in a call center who is speaking English with a heavy accent at a million miles per hour. So slow down, enunciate and the other person will be thrilled with your Spanish!
3 – Before you practice your Spanish with someone, tell them that you’re learning. It immediately puts you in the student role and them in the teacher role, which makes the other person feel useful and you more at ease 🙂 It’s a win-win.
The optional homework is to participate in PBO’s conversación del día on Facebook, every day during the break. Not only will it help you to improve your vocabulary in 5 minutes per day, but it will also get you to work on your Spanish on a daily basis, which is an extremely important part of learning a language 🙂 ¡Nos vemos en Facebook!