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Spanish Survival Tips

How do I pass Spanish??

Allow me here to say that this question should really be How do I learn Spanish??  The goal is to learn the language, not simply receive a grade, despite most students' desire/need to take it.  Your grade will be based on how much Spanish you know, so learning it is the only way to pass.

​There are definitely do's and don'ts to learning a foreign language.  Here are the ones I can list based on many years of teaching a foreign language to English speakers.

DO

  • Work every day on Spanish.  Whether or not you want to is irrelevant here.  The fact is that you are attempting to put a LOT of new information and vocabulary into your monolinguistic brain, so you cannot achieve true attainment of new words and concepts without being in it every day.  For example: If you finish your homework assignment in class (kudos!) pull out your vocab sheet and practice the meaning and spellings of one section a night.  If we took notes on a new grammar concept, revisit the notes at home to review it and be able to ask me questions promptly if something's not clicking.  Read over a culture point or two every day.
  • Come in ASAP for help.  I don't mean to seem full of myself, but I am the best help you can get for this class.  It's true.  While some of you might have a relative or friend that speaks Spanish, they won't know the pitfalls students find themselves trapped in with this specific content like I do.  And they don't know what's on the upcoming test.  Feel free to use these people to help you, (not simply give you answers) but just know that they might not be able to give the specialized help I can.  Come see me before school, at lunch or after school.  (Check the link "Daily Schedule" to the left to see when I have duty & where if you want to come see me there.)
  • Study vocab English to Spanish.  What the heck does that mean?  When you're looking over your vocab, quiz yourself by starting with the English word first.  Although this is the more challenging option, it's what you do inside your head anyway when trying to speak Spanish in real life.  Simply put: look at the English word and try to come up with the Spanish word.

DON'T

  • Use Google Translate (or any online translation tool/app).  The number one rule of Google Translate is Don't use Google Translate.  While this tool might seem like a quick, easy way to get your work done, it will destroy you in this class.  1) This is an alternate form of cheating.  I never want work from you that isn't yours.  2) It will give you answers that are weird, off-target, and too advanced for our current level.  3) It will distract you from your vocab and grammar that you're supposed to be using on the assignment.  Its answers are most certainly not on the upcoming test over our materials, thus taking you further from the goal.  4) I can tell instantly if you've used it, and for the previous three mentioned reasons for not using it, I will definitely not give you credit for the work.  So what have we learned here?  Don't use Google Translate (or any online translation tool/app).
  • Glance at your class materials.  Merely glancing at items is hardly a form of studying.  Please don't glance at things and come to class claiming that you studied.  It doesn't qualify, trust me.  You have to really study the items on you vocab, grammar and culture.   Reread the grammar notes carefully, reread the examples and see why we wrote what we did for answers.  Reread homework assignments and worksheets done in class to practice.  Read your culture points carefully several times.  Rewrite troublesome vocab words.  Do online flashcards for vocab.  Do online self-check quizzes.  Use the Test Details handout from class (also available under Course Documents and in your drive.) to study specifically what I'm telling you is on the test.  Preparing for tests is not a quick and easy deal, for which I'm very sorry.  There is no easy way to retain a new language.  It takes Studying.
  • Neglect your homework.  Believe it or not, your homework is intended to help you reinforce concepts presented in class and not to kill your free time.  Your homework will help you be in a constant process of studying so that when you actually do sit down to study for a test, you have less work to do to get prepared.  It also helps you know what questions you need answered and what areas you might need extra help on.  Whether or not you want to learn Spanish, if you want to leave this class with a passing grade, you'll have to actually learn it.  Don't fight this; accept it and do what you need to do.
  • Get behind.  Ever heard of the "snowball effect"?  It's a major threat in this class.  If you don't stay on top of learning the content (vocab & grammar), the content will swallow you up as it builds upon itself all year long.  You'll be in a downward spiral that is very difficult (but not impossible) to recover from.  If you are ever absent, make up the work promptly.  While you are a very valuable and precious life, we will continue to move forward despite your absences.  And when you are able to be back in class, we will also continue to move forward.  It is your responsibilty to make up the work and come to me for one on one tutoring.  (This language is not one that can be learned on your own.  You need me.)

Course Supply List

  • 1" 3-ring binder
  • 1 subject divider
  • pencils

 

Rachel Keeter

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