One to One Spanish Classes Vs Duolingo App
By Stina Persen 23 May 2016
I have just completed my first month of classes at Vamos Spanish Academy and I’m so very pleased.
Firstly a little background of my general Spanish knowledge before Vamos Spanish Academy came into my life. Prior to arriving in Buenos Aires I did download the language learning app Duolingo on my phone and used it religiously everyday. I was determined to learn Spanish and the app was a great start, it gave me plenty of vocabulary but only a vague understanding of grammar. Naturally the app can only go so far and I was not confident using what I had learnt in daily life and was unable to construct my own sentences. I had never taken an actual Spanish class in my life so all in all I was rather green, a Spanish newbie.
My first two weeks at Vamos I attended group classes, four hours a day, with an awesome bunch of people, all beginners like me. My class included two Canadians , a engineer from Sweden here for a conference, a professional poker player who recently immigrated to Argentina from Australia and a young tourist from England. Our teacher was fabulous and spoke mostly Spanish with us right from day one. It was amazing how fast we started to pick up the language, and how well our teacher was able to explain in a way we could follow in Spanish. Those first two weeks we covered a lot of grammar and vocabulary. I think for me the best thing these early classes gave me was confidence to use whatever Spanish I did know. The classes are structured in a way that encourages everyone to participate and speak right from the beginning. And I soon found myself confidently ordering food and understanding how much things cost at the market. As well as making friends with my classmates.
My next two weeks I had private lessons, two hours a day as there was no other students currently at my level. This worked out great for me as I was able to experience both group and private classes, which each have different strengths and challenges. My lessons seamlessly carried on from where my group classes had ended which was fantastic. I found myself progressing faster and faster but there is no rest for the wicked in a private class. As it was just myself and my professor it was my own learning that set the pace, moving on to a new subject or grammar rule whenever I was ready. Over these two weeks my Spanish continued to improve a lot, I starting really impressing my flatmates with tidbits about my day. Around this time I started trying to read in Spanish, I began with a couple of children’s novels by Ronald Dahl. It was difficult, and I was constantly checking a dictionary, but when I finish that first book the feeling of achievement was incredible.
Also Read: Best Ways to Learn Spanish
If I had to choose between a group or private lessons I’m not sure I could, there are distinct aspects I enjoyed about each environment. In the group class you get to meet people from around the world, and I got to learn interesting facts and stories about their lives back home. I also had plenty of time to write notes about whatever we were discussing as others in the group were taking their turn at reading aloud or answering questions. The pace seemed a lot faster in the private class, with no one else, every turn was my turn to practice. This made the two hour class feel like as much work as the four hour group classes, however the progress I made, made it completely worth it. As it turned out I was picking up the language at a fairly steady pace, so my professor was able to challenge me more than I was in the group classes and I ended up finishing close to five weeks of lessons in my four weeks. In both styles of classes I had fun, I was challenged and most importantly I learnt a lot of Spanish. So I’ve concluded that choosing between the two would absolutely come down to personal choice and preferred learning styles. And perhaps a mix like I experienced would also benefit many. What I do know for sure is I can’t wait to finish my second novel in Spanish and for my next four weeks of classes at Vamos!
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If you want more information about our Buenos Aires Spanish Immersion Programs you can enter our site vamospanish.com or visit us at Viamonte 1516, Buenos Aires, Argentina