Why You’re Not Learning Spanish As a Beginner (And What You Can Do About It)
If you’ve been learning Spanish for beginners for a long time and you don’t seem to improve too much on your language learning skills, you may have fallen into the beginner’s trap.
Keep reading to learn why your Spanish learning efforts may not be working, what you can do about it, and the top 10 reasons why you’re not learning Spanish as a beginner, and how to escape the beginner’s trap to take your language skills to the next level.
Learning Spanish for Beginners
When you decide to start studying Spanish, it’s expected that you’ll be learning Spanish for beginners for a while. You’ll be introduced to the language, its alphabet, plenty of vocabulary, and basic grammar rules, among other things.
The problem starts when months (or sometimes even years) go by, and you keep learning Spanish for beginners, and you don’t seem to progress or be able to take your Spanish skills to the next level.
Why It Isn’t Working?
So, what’s happening? Why isn’t your Spanish progressing as you would like to? What can you do about it?
There might be many reasons that explain why you seem to always be learning Spanish for beginners and can’t make the jump to intermediate level. Let’s find out some of the most common ones.
10 Reasons Why Your Spanish Isn’t Improving
These are my top 10 reasons that usually slow down or completely block language learning progress. I’m including a useful strategy to help you stop learning Spanish for beginners and start learning Spanish for intermediate learners.
1. You Procrastinate
Let’s face it, if you don’t procrastinate perhaps you’re not even human. We all do it. It’s just normal. Life is full of responsibilities and distractions, that being consistent in any project is a triumph in itself.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, to procrastinate is “to keep delaying something that must be done, often because it is unpleasant or boring.”
The site procrastination.com suggests some useful strategies to stop procrastinating:
- Personal Vision: this means to define your goals and be clear about what you want about learning Spanish for beginners.
- To-Do Today: don’t do long to-do lists for medium and long term. Focus on creating to-do lists for today and make sure to cover everything you anticipated to do this day.
- Habit List: make a list of the habits that you know you need to acquire to stop learning Spanish for beginners and make the jump to intermediate level. For example, listen to a Spanish podcast every morning while commuting, or learning one new verb every day.
2. It’s Too Boring
Read again the second part of that procrastination definition: “often because it is unpleasant or boring.” One of the main reasons that tend to block language learning progress is that many Spanish teaching methods tend to be too boring.
If that’s your case, you need to make your language learning efforts fun and interesting, or you’ll keep avoiding doing what you have to do in order to improve your Spanish skills.
First, identify what’s the part that you find boring about your learning method and focus on changing it.
Second, think about what you like to do and how you’d like to learn Spanish.
Third, introduce methods that offer the kind of activities that you enjoy. For example, look for learning Spanish games for beginners, find a YouTube Spanish channel that produces fun Spanish lessons, or try an interesting free app that gamifies the learning experience.
3. You Never Listen to Native Spanish Speakers
Perhaps you study a lot, but you’re never exposed to native Spanish speakers and that’s hindering your progress. Luckily for you, these days that’s not a big problem, you can start listening to audios by native Spanish speakers today, by doing one or several of the following strategies:
- Find a Spanish tutor.
- Watch Spanish TV shows or films.
- Listen to Spanish podcasts.
- Find a Spanish language partner.
4. You Never Speak It
The other side of the coin is to never speak Spanish because you don’t have anyone to do it with. This is one of the most common reasons that make Spanish learners feel stuck at the beginner’s level.
Apply strategies 1 and 4 from the previous item and engage in proper Spanish conversations. You can also look for a Spanish conversation club or even record yourself speaking, and then listen to your pronunciation.
5. You Never Read It
I’m sure you have seen those online courses that promise no grammar, just conversational Spanish. They have a point, speaking might be the main Spanish skill, and people tend to get bored with grammar (see reason number 2), but reading in Spanish provides so many benefits that you can’t completely cut it off.
Look for interesting Spanish authors, find their books, and start reading them. You’ll get a lot of new vocabulary, will expose yourself to idioms and slang words, and will discover how fascinating Spanish culture is.
6. You Never Write It
During my years of experience as a Spanish teacher, I’ve found out that writing is the Spanish skill that takes the most time and effort for students to master it. Reading and listening are somehow passive, and students are on the receiving end of the process. You can speak Spanish and be able to communicate, even if you don’t do it very well. But writing is permanent, students tend to think too much before putting anything in writing and feel insecure about it.
To avoid falling into this trap, you can start writing for yourself first. Try starting a language journal, find a writing friend, or start learning Spanish verbs for beginners to get more tools that would help you to write in Spanish.
7. You May Suffer from Imposter Syndrome
Imposter syndrome is a mental health disorder that makes people believe that they aren’t as competent as other people perceive them to be. Imposter syndrome may affect your process of learning Spanish for beginners by simply not letting you to recognize your own progress.
In other words, you could very well already be an intermediate learner, but you feel so insecure about your own Spanish skills that you still see yourself as a beginner. Among the most useful strategies to overcome Imposter syndrome, you can try talking in third person, identifying your strengths, and challenging your negative thoughts.
8. You Don’t Keep Track of Your Progress
Perhaps you’re progressing in your language learning efforts, but you just don’t know it because you haven’t been keeping track of your progress.
Keeping track and measuring your own language learning progress is a useful practice with many benefits. By keeping track of your Spanish learning process you keep your motivation up, you’re able to set specific goals to guide you, and make sure that your learning method is actually working.
There are different strategies to keep track of your learning progress, you can use a blank calendar, a study journal, a language learning planner, or even some useful apps.
9. You’re Relying Too Much on Technology
At the beginning, I found this reason a little bit difficult to understand, but once I learned how many people try to learn Spanish (or any language actually) just by using an app or a language learning software, I got the point.
Learning a language is a process that involves developing four different skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking). The whole process includes parts where passive learning is needed and others where you have to use active learning.
The use of technology for language learning usually relies on passive learning, where the student becomes more of a “receiver” of information than a “producer” of it. An effective learning method is one that has a balanced approach to active and passive learning, and focuses on developing the four language skills, not just one or two.
If you’re relying too much on technology, try adding non-technology activities to your language learning routines. You can join a Spanish conversation club in your community, start writing a journal, or find a tutor to start talking with a real, native Spanish speaker.
10. You Aren’t Thinking in Spanish
This is one of the most common reasons that hinder the progress of lots of Spanish learners around the world. When you start learning Spanish for beginners it’s just normal that you keep thinking in your own native language and translating everything inside your head.
However, that’s not the way it works. To stop being a beginner and taking your language learning process to the next level, you need to start thinking in Spanish. Stop translating everything inside your head. First, force yourself to think in Spanish when you’re studying the language, but then do this in ever-longer periods of time, even if you aren’t in class or studying.
With time, you’ll discover yourself thinking in Spanish without even noticing it. That’s when I knew I had mastered English, when I found myself thinking in English while commuting to work, and the same can happen with your Spanish. Just force yourself to do it, and give it some time. It’ll come naturally.
Stop Being a Beginner Now!
If you read all the way up to this point, odds are that you are fed up with your Spanish learning progress. Identify the reason that’s blocking your progress, apply the strategies that I just recommended to you, and stop learning Spanish for beginners right now! It’s in your hands taking your Spanish to the next level, become an immediate learner, and keep progressing in your journey to achieve fluency.
Learning Spanish improves your chances of getting a cool job and earning more money. Sign up for a free class to learn conversational Spanish quickly and efficiently, our teachers work with more than 24,000 actively enrolled students every month. HSA offers flexible scheduling and tailored Spanish packages.
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