Machu Picchu, Peru

Suggestions for studying Spanish

  • Studying another language is rewarding, but it can be hard work. Your success depends to some extent on your natural talent or aptitude, but much more on your willingness to WORK. 

    Please know that I am happy to help you! I have morning tutorials on Tuesday (7:45-8:15 a.m.), and afternoon tutorials Monday and Thursday (3:45-4:15). I can often be available at other times by appointment. Feel free to come by for questions, for additional drill, or for re-taking a test.

    First, a comment about grades. Teachers do not give grades; they merely record what the student has accomplished. Consequently, my advice is to not worry about grades. Worry about learning, and the grades will take care of themselves.



    People learn in different ways, and what works for one person will not necessarily be effective for someone else. But I believe that the suggestions that follow will be helpful for most people.

    Perhaps the most important thing you can do to help yourself learn is to pay attention in class, and take advantage of the learning activities and drills. Don't let your mind wander, or get distracted by playing with your phone. When I tell you to practice with a classmate, make a real effort to stay on task, and don't start visiting about topics that have nothing to do with Spanish. Take notes on what I present in class, and make sure that you understand it. When I put new vocabulary on the board, work on learning it, and go back occasionally to review words from the past to make sure that you still remember everything.

    Second, decide to invest some time--as much as you need to master the material. For a few quick learners, the in-class drill may be enough. Most people, however, will need additional practice on their own time. In general, two or three short times of focused study every day will do you more good than one longer stretch, especially if you are tempted to chat with friends or watch TV while you are "studying."

    As I said above, come to tutorials, before or after school.

    One of the best things you can do is work with someone else who is studying Spanish. Quiz each other. Practice dialogues together. Encourage each other to finish your work. Figure out the answers together and share your reasoning.

    Many people find flashcards helpful. Make cards for vocabulary, and also for questions and answers.

    I create Quizlet sets of all the vocabulary that students are responsible for, and I update the sets before every test. Use this link to request to join my Quizlet "class" so that you will always have access to the review material. You can also search for the class on the Quizlet website. My Quizlet username is wwalkerldisd, and the class is called "Spanish 1 Walker 2019-2020". 

    I post written versions of many of the stories that we work on in class. Re-reading stories is a good way to practice understanding the vocabulary in context.

    Finally, look for chances to use Spanish. This may mean watching TV in Spanish, to get used to hearing other voices and accents. But the best thing is to meet people who speak Spanish and visit with them every chance you get. (Be careful, however, about how you meet people. Talk to your parents, and make sure that they approve of what you are doing!)