This is Part 1 of the First Lesson from our Membership Training Program
People study Spanish for many reasons, but the primary motivation to learn Spanish for most is the desire to be able to converse - that is, understand and speak with - Spanish speakers. When you're skilled enough at conversing that you're able to use your skill in any situation, we say that you are 'fluent'.
In this 5-part lesson, I want to present to you an overview of an enjoyable, easy and very practical way that you can become fluent in Spanish.
Ok, what do I mean when I say 'practical'? I mean that the path to fluency that I'm going to present to you is one, that once started, you're very likely to continue until you reach fluency. It does take time to become fluent.
And the reason that I say 'you're likely to continue' is that this path to fluency, which we call Designed Immersion, has been designed to remove all the difficulties that people experience especially when they progress beyond the basic level.
We'll talk about some of those difficulties (which, by the way, are practical difficulties, not learning difficulties) in the next part. But I want to emphasize 3 fundamental ideas before we go on.
[Go to the next tab]
You Learned Most of What You Know
through Natural Learning
Most of what you and I have learned in our lives, which includes our native language, myriad details about all the people we know and have known, our personal history, and much, much more, we learned in an automatic, effortless way.
We didn't study or make an effort to learn all that information, we just learned it during the waking (and even sleeping!) moments of our lives. We call this automatic way of learning Natural Learning and virtually every human being is quite good at it.
Because Natural Learning is an automatic, almost unconscious process, we take it for granted. We tend to think of learning as 'what we did in school' where we had the conscious intent to learn. Yet, the amount we learned in school is dwarfed by what we learned through Natural Learning. Furthermore, our success or lack of it in school has nothing to do with our real ability to learn through Natural Learning.
If you speak and understand your native language fluently - which you must if you're listening to me and understanding me - you can rest assured that you are very good at Natural Learning.
Designed Immersion is very effective primarily because it engages your Natural Learning ability on the path to fluency. We'll discuss this more later on in this lesson.
[Go to the next tab]
Correctness vs. Usefulness
There are two dynamics at play whenever we start to learn a new language: correctness and usefulness.
Correctness refers to our concern that when we speak the new language we say things correctly, with good grammar and usage. We have this concern because, as adults, we now speak correctly whatever variant of our native language we've learned.
But the real benefits of learning a new language come from its usefulness in our lives. Can I actually understand and enjoy films and TV shows, can I converse successfully with any Spanish speaker?
Any program that teaches Spanish, or that aims for fluency, must contend with these two dynamics. Developing correctness can become tedious to the point where you don't want to continue study.
Developing usefulness is always enjoyable and motivating, but we may be afraid to use Spanish in our lives if we're worried about our correctness.
Designed Immersion is structured around balancing these two dynamics in a very specific way through the entire process, from beginner to fluent Spanish speaker.
Developing the 3 Skills of Fluency
This lesson is about how you can easily develop the three skills of fluency in Spanish. Those 3 Skills are
- The ability to understand native Spanish speakers in any situation.
- The ability to communicate (to speak) any idea you want so that native Spanish speakers can understand you.
- The ability to converse - back and forth, rapidly, without 'thinking' or hesitation. This skill can be mastered only after the first two skills have been mastered.
If you set your goal to be 'to learn Spanish', you will inevitably learn, but you may or may not ever develop the skills of fluency to any degree.
But when you set your goal to be 'to become fluent' and you develop the 3 skills effectively (through practice), you'll find that you're learning the Spanish language (vocabulary, grammar, usage) along the way, with little or no effort.
In the next part, we'll take a closer look at some of the things that seem to get in the way when people set out to become fluent in Spanish.