Weekly Tip & Optional Homework Week of 9/29 for week of 10/6/14

Weekly Tip:
Question from a student:
– I would like some tips for how to move up to the next level.

Response from Caro:
– This is a very difficult request to respond to, because every case is different. Some students are lacking vocabulary, some fluidity, some comprehension, some confidence, some grammar, it really depends on the student and the level. But there are a few things I would like to share on this subject:

1 – I often feel that students put too much emphasis on the levels. Just because you’re in the same level for some time, does not mean that you’re not improving.
To give you an idea, there are really 3 levels within each level. There are the students who are just getting into the level, there are students that are solid in their level and there are students who are at the upper end of the level, close to moving into the next level.
When you first come in to a level, you’re usually at the bottom. You need to work your way up through your level first, before you’re ready to move into the next level.
The important thing is to keep coming to class, keep working on your Spanish outside of class and when you’re ready, we will be happy to move you to the next level.

2 – The time it takes a student to move up a level is approximately 9 months to 1 year for the lower levels and 1.5 – 2 years for the higher levels (and at least an extra year to 2 years to get into the fluent level). The higher up you go, the longer it usually takes to move into the next level. And this is for students who are doing EVERYTHING that we recommend: coming to class each week, making up every class they miss within a week or 2, doing the homework each week, participating on Facebook every day, dedicating 10-15 minutes to their Spanish every, single day and coming to the social events.
So if you’ve been in a level 2 class all year and you’re frustrated that you haven’t moved into a level 2.5 class, please don’t be. Know that it’s not unusual to be in level 2 for 1.5 – 2 years, which means that you’re only halfway there.

3 – Each level requires a change of effort. For example, in an Advanced Beginner level, doing DuoLingo every day for 10 minutes is enough. If you do that for 6 months to a year as well as attending and participating in class each week, you will be ready for the next level. If you’re in a level 3 class though, you’re never going to get to the Advanced level doing DuoLingo. You need to be reading news articles or listening to radioambulante.org podcasts on a daily basis. Each level requires a change of effort and the higher you go, the more you need to get away from studying Spanish to actually living your life in Spanish.

There is so much more I could say, but I will end with this:
Moving up a level is not the goal. The goal is to improve your Spanish a little bit every day. And equating moving up a level as the only way to measure your improvement is a mistake. Learning a language takes a tremendous amount of time and effort. There is nothing fast or easy about it. But I will tell you that if you are consistent and flexible (making the necessary changes to your Spanish routine as you get better), you will get to where you want to be. Slow and steady wins the race.

Optional Homework

La tarea opcional de esta semana:
……es escribir una historia sobre algo que les ha pasado este año, usando un mínimo de 5 frases y un máximo de 10. También tienen que usar los 4 tiempos que hemos practicado últimamente…el pretérito, el imperfecto, el presente perfecto y el pasado perfecto.

Por ejemplo: El abril pasado hice un crucero con 8 alumnas, Lore y mi papi. Fuimos de Los Ángeles a Cabo San Lucas, a Mazatlán y a Puerto Vallarta. Durante el crucero ofrecimos 2 clases cada día que no estábamos en un puerto. Yo enseñé una clase, mi papi enseñó una y Lore el resto. Los días que pasábamos en los puertos, las chicas iban de excursión con un guía. La verdad es que lo pasamos genial. Comimos juntos todos los días, hablamos español constantemente, bailamos, tomamos, hicimos de todo. Pero no les puedo contar más porque lo que pasó en el crucero, se quedó en el crucero ☺ Nunca en mi vida había hecho un viaje con alumnos, pero he decidido que me gustaría hacerlo otra vez.

The optional homework this week:
…is to write a story about something that happened this year, using a minimum of 5 sentences and a max of 10. You also need to use the 4 tenses that we have practiced recently…the preterit, the imperfect, the present perfect and the past perfect.
Here is an example: El abril pasado hice un crucero con 8 alumnas, Lore y mi papi. Fuimos de Los Ángeles a Cabo San Lucas, a Mazatlán y a Puerto Vallarta. Durante el crucero ofrecimos 2 clases cada día que no estábamos en un puerto. Yo enseñé una clase, mi papi enseñó una y Lore el resto. Los días que pasábamos en los puertos, las chicas iban de excursión con un guía. La verdad es que lo pasamos genial. Comimos juntos todos los días, hablamos español constantemente, bailamos, tomamos, hicimos de todo. Pero no les puedo contar más porque lo que pasó en el crucero, se quedó en el crucero ☺ Nunca en mi vida había hecho un viaje con alumnos, pero he decidido que me gustaría hacerlo otra vez.

Besos,
Caro

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