You are never too good for basics


beginners (Photo credit: parker yo!)

I am now unofficially at an intermediate level of Spanish.  Its been a long journey to get here and I have been through many a course to get here.  In a future post I will go over the various courses I have tried and my opinions of which ones I think are the best, but for now I thought I would share an interesting opportunity I have found as I move to more difficult language activities.

Recently I found the free podcast called Coffee Break Spanish.  It’s very fun and informative, but since it was developed for “Beginners / False beginners through to intermediate,”  it was clearly not for me.  I assumed it would be too boring to get through to pick up the few gems from this course.

Then Lightning Struck My Brain

It is quite normal for these courses designed for beginners to be around 50 percent English.   I thought to myself how hard would it be to try to translate the English into Spanish?  So on one of my Unstructured days (Go to My System page for more information on what I mean by that) I listened to Coffee Break Spanish and attempted to translate everything I heard in English.  I used the Speak Your Language approach to this, meaning that if I used English to fill in for anything I didn’t know how to say in Spanish.  And though I definitely wasn’t perfect at it, this activity let me practice improvising my own Spanish sentences while at the same time learning those wonderful gems that the course had to teach me.

I enjoyed it so much, I tried it again.  This time I dusted off the old “Inspired Beginners” podcast from  I loved these and I often wanted to go back and review them, but for the same reasons as above I always felt bored and that I was wasting my time reviewing these old and lower level Spanish podcasts.  Using this activity let me enjoy them again, while at the same time improving my spoken Spanish.

What Can We Learn from This?

Do you have old courses that you have or are using to learn the language you are learning?  Don’t just put them aside as you finish them.  Keep them in the rotation!  Find new ways to use them for your benefit.  No one says you have to keep using them the same way it was designed.  Be creative!  If you think of other ways to dust off these old courses, please share them.  We can all benefit from your experiences!


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Filed under How to learn, spanish, Thai

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