There really is something very strange about what happens to people when they embark on the task of learning Spanish. In our experience, the vast majority of students only want to read and write most of the time. Of course, we know fine well why this is. Reading and writing is a very safe part of learning a language. We have time, we can ponder at our leisure about the meaning of something or how we should structure a particular sentence.
What is more, when you read and write you can repeat the same sentence over and over again until you get it to what you perceive to be a good level. It’s all just so very comfortable for us as learners. Don’t you agree?
Listening and Speaking makes no allowances.
What most learners are afraid of, however, is having to listen or to speak Spanish. Why? Because these two mediums of communication are the least forgiving. There is little chance for us to repeat and repeat our sentences until we get them right. When we listen in a live situation, for example, we either catch the idea or we don’t. When we are speaking off the cuff, we either say what we want to say correctly, or we cock it up.
And that is frightening to us. We don’t like getting things wrong. In fact, we would go as far as to say that making a mistake in Spanish is, for many sensitive students, a cardinal sin. For that reason, they avoid any Spanish listening or speaking situations.
It’s a vicious circle.
The problem with avoiding Spanish listening or speaking opportunities is that we never get any practice at it and so never get any better. We study away, scribbling in our books and reading everything we can get our hands on and yet, when we are faced with any test of our Spanish listening or speaking skills, we react like the rabbit in the headlights and clam up.
It doesn’t need to be that way.
If you can relate to this in any way, then fear not! Help is at hand. At the end of many of our Podcast series’ we produce a ‘Test your Spanish Listening Skills’ podcast. We pitch them at different skill levels and they provide you the opportunity of listening in to find out how much you can pick up and understand.
The great thing about these Podcasts is that you CAN repeat-listen as many times as you like. It’s amazing how much more you pick up of the fine detail when you listen three, four or five times.
Even more helpful is listening firstly without the transcript, so that you get as much of the information as you can and then following up by listening along with the transcript. This system of listening and reading the words at the same time is a fantastic way of training your ear to pick up on, and going forward, understand the words that most cause you an issue. We can’t recommend it highly enough.
If you are wondering how to get hold of the transcripts for these Podcasts, then just go to our website and check out the Helpsheets page.
We hope you enjoy the podcast and testing your Spanish listening skills.
Gordon y Cynthia 🙂