I recently received an email from a potential student who wanted to know more about my online Spanish courses.
This person was debating whether to enroll in classes at a local college or whether to sign up for one of the Thrive in Spanish courses. They asked me if we would be studying the same things as in a traditional class. We study the same language, Spanish, but the methodology couldn't be more different. I wanted to share my answer here.
I'd prefer not to compare my course with the kind of course that you would find in a high school or college. Almost everyone studies a language at school but very few people ever reach proficiency. My courses are quite different from what you would find at a community college and this is intentional. Some differences are: - Conversational focus In my course, you will be focussing 100% on conversational Spanish. The aim is to get students to be able to speak Spanish. There are no writing components and any reading or listening in Spanish will always be part of a communicative activity. We only have limited time together and I want to make sure that this time is spent helping students to speak Spanish.
Maximum of 4 students per class
Since the aim of the class is to improve speaking, I need to make sure that each student has the opportunity to speak as much as possible in class. This is why there will never be more than 4 students in a group.
Minimal grammar in class
Grammar is essential to learning a language. However, I don't want to spend your precious classroom time explaining rules and having you do exercises. I want you to speak Spanish! The topics and examples for each class allow you to master each tense by using them, not through grammar drills.
The online classes are only part of the course. Students are provided with materials and activities to keep them using Spanish between classes.
Students have access to a vocabulary app with all of the target vocabulary for each lesson pre-loaded. With just 10 minutes a day of reviewing this app, you will come to class having already memorized the new words and you can practice on using them in conversation.
In between classes, we will still be talking Spanish! The video homework is an integral part of the course. Students communicate with me and with each other by recording videos in Spanish about topics related to the course in between classes. This allows students to prepare what they want to say and take their time to say it. You can pause or re-record your video if needed. This low-pressure practice allows you to speak Spanish and receive feedback before class so that you are better prepared to use the language in the live class.
In traditional classroom environments, large class sizes often mean that each student is not able to receive direct support and guidance throughout the whole class. On the page for each course, you can find the course outline so that you will see what topics are covered. These have been chosen so that you will be able to have a simple conversation about the most common topics totally in Spanish by the end of the course