Buenos días 🙂
For today’s blog posting I would like to answer a question that was asked in the Blog Survey.
A student says “How do I move up? I’ve been in the same level for almost 2 years and I feel stuck and totally frustrated.”
Unfortunately this was an anonymous question, and if I had more info it would be easier to answer.
If you’ve been in the same level for 2+ years I am going to guess that you’re either in B2, B3 or C1 or that the time that you dedicate to Spanish is sporadic.
If the time you dedicate is sporadic:
It could take years and years to move up if you’re not consistent with your Spanish – 10 minutes a day + class once a week will help you advance. Pretty straight forward.
Assuming that you are stuck in B2, B3 or C1:
This is where many students get stuck. By B2-B3 you are in a really good place with your Spanish. You can travel to any Spanish speaking country and not only get a hotel, food and a cab, but you can also talk to the locals, and not just about the weather. This is a really good place to be and many Language Gurus consider this to be fluency (such as Benny Lewis Benny Lewis – Fluent in 3 months).
So what happens when you get to these levels is that you hit a plateau. It’s actually not unusual to never surpass one of these levels. And why is that? Well, you’re pretty comfortable at this level and you keep doing what you’ve been doing to get to where you are now. After all, it’s worked and gotten you from beginner to intermediate, right?
The issue is, that the higher the level, the more work you need to put in…and the type of work you put in really matters.
If you’re doing DuoLingo past B2, you are reviewing and perfecting, not actually moving forward. To get out of these levels you need to start LIVING a larger portion of your life in Spanish. Here are some tips:
– Read in Spanish – maybe a monthly magazine from cover to cover or a few chapters of a book each week
– Watch tv in Spanish (B2-C1) or movies in Spanish (B3-C1)
– Journal in Spanish, but not about your day, about things you feel strongly about
– Start using your Spanish at EVERY opportunity – there are millions of Spanish speakers in SD, so no excuses
– Switch everything you can to doing it in Spanish – grocery lists, to do lists, your phone, etc.
– Get at least 50% of your news in Spanish
– Listen to the radio, only in Spanish
– Subscribe to a Spanish podcast made for native speakers, not students
– Volunteer somewhere that will allow you to use your Spanish
– Start listening to/reading/watching things made for native speakers, not Spanish language students.
– Make sure that you have a really good handle on all the tenses (critical by the C1-C2 level) – go through every book out there and use what you learn (McGraw Hill has several wonderful ones) – you MUST master the subjunctive!
– And it goes without saying…do the optional homework each week, do the extra optional homework each week, participate in the daily Conversación del Día on Pura Buena Onda’s FaceBook page FaceBook – PBO, and attend our monthly social club events!
– Add a weekly private Spanish class to your schedule
A few more things I want to say about this subject:
1 – Congratulate yourself for getting to this level. Once you hit B2-C1, you’re in a really good place and you really do SPEAK Spanish. You may not be fluent, but you are very capable of taking about most subjects.
2 – Fluency is not necessary for everyone. To me being fluent means that you could attend college or do your entire job in Spanish….so not necessary for most.
3 – Within each level there are really 3 levels – those just coming into the level, those solid in the middle of the level and those at the higher end of the level. So just because you haven’t officially moved up a level, doesn’t mean that you have not advanced within your level.
4 – If fluency is your goal, the only way to get there is to live more of your life in Spanish. That’s it…there’s no secret, just a lifestyle change.
Ok chicos, that’s it for today!
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