Archive for the ‘Spanish’ Category

Using Innovative Cues to Converse

Posted on September 1st, 2013by Melanie
In French, Spanish, Speech | Leave a Comment »

Innovative learningEveryone´s different. People have different tastes in food, in music, in what they enjoy doing during their free time; everyone has their own preferences and their own way of doing things. The same goes with how we study and learn. Some people are more academic and studious whilst others need more inspiration to learn and absorb their studies.

An innovative approach to learning swept through Canada some years ago promoting unique ways of learning which combined traditional theories of language acquisition with brain related research. The concept encouraged students to learn foreign languages by incorporating their learning with music, singing, dance, gestures and drama. Its methods helped students to quickly and effectively grasp both verbal and written skills. Pupils learned to associate words and phrases with particular songs and gestures. That´s in Canada, but anyone can incorporate these methods into their learning techniques.

So, when you think that learning a new language is too hard for you, then think again. Apply what you´ve learned in your lessons to a song, a dance or a gesture and you´ll be surprised at how quickly you start to recall sentences. If you´ve ever fancied learning French or Spanish as a second language but never thought you could apply yourself fully, then be inspired and sign up for some foreign language classes and prove yourself wrong!

With the help of a native speaking teacher, you´ll be singing in Spanish or chewing the fat in French in no time!

Modern Languages Make a Difference

Posted on August 25th, 2013by Melanie
In French, German, Spanish | Leave a Comment »

GCSE 2This week has seen the release of GCSE results all over the UK. It´s been a mixed time for students with feelings of nerves, excitement, disappointment, relief and happiness. The subject of the GCSE grading this year has been under controversy due to the new tougher grading system put in place mixed with an increasing re-sit culture and more pupils being entered for their GCSEs a year early.

Teachers, parents and employers disagree with this new system as, instead of promoting higher grades, the new system caters for a certain percentage of passes (40% of students must achieve 5 GCSEs including English and Maths in grades C or above), without fairly grading all students across the board in comparison with previous years. Students this year are not necessarily getting the grade they deserve or expect as lower grades are being handed out in contrast. Teachers feel that accurate comparisons cannot be made with the levels of students´ capabilities from year to year, employers believe that pupils´ employment prospects are being damaged, and parents are now encouraging their children to do resits in order to obtain the grade they need.

This year’s results have seen a 1.3% decline in A*-C grades since last year, the biggest decline in grades in the 25 years that the GSCE system has been in place. Many students have been left feeling disappointed with their results and believe, as do their teachers, that their grades would have been higher had the new system not taken affect.

It´s not all bad news, however. Reports show that in this new system of learning, and possibly due to the introduction of the English Baccalaureate, the level of candidate entries for modern languages has increased significantly. The increase of students taking French rose by 15.5% and German increased by 9.4%. The entry levels for Spanish, however, had a whopping rise with 25.8%. So, despite other dips in the GCSE debate, languages are proving to be increasingly popular with pupils, and that will open numerous doors in their futures!

Reap the Rewards of a Good Investment

Posted on August 22nd, 2013by Melanie
In Accents, Jargon, Spanish | Leave a Comment »

Investment bankAndy had applied for a transfer at work. Having worked in the finance department for over five years, he knew the job inside out, but felt it was time to move on and utilise his talents. The foreign investment department had an opening, and he intended to fill it!

Having been brought up in Spain during most of his childhood, Andy had attained a high level of fluency in the language. His new job role would involve handling the accounts for the Spanish clients which meant he would be speaking to them on the phone as well as with written communication. He’d moved back to the UK some years ago but his knowledge of Spanish was still firmly in his head. He just needed to polish up his linguistic skills in the business sector and he´d be all set for the new position.

He’d got the job! Now he just needed to prove he could do it. Andy signed up for a refresher course in Spanish both to train his hearing to become accustomed to the Spanish accent again with the help of his native Spanish teacher, and to learn some financial terms that he would surely come across within his new job. Armed with his new financial jargon and tuned in to the speed and tone that Spaniards are noted for speaking with, Andy was ready to liaise with the Spanish investors and was ready to show his new bosses that they’d made the right investment in him!

Discovering Hidden Depths

Posted on August 14th, 2013by Melanie
In Language acquisition, Spanish, Speech | Leave a Comment »

Scuba 3As a child, Peter had loved scuba diving and spent as much time as he could in the water looking at the colourful scenery beneath him and learning to spot different types of coral, fish and other marine life.

After many happy holidays abroad, and now an adult, he´d decided to take his hobby a step further and become a diving instructor. He´d lived and worked in Greece for a couple of years, initially training with a diving school for his PADI instructor certification, and then to gain experience at earning a living as an instructor. It was invaluable for the amount of knowledge he´d learned, not only about the fascinating underwater life but also how to be a guide. The work taught him how to deal with different people and how to adapt the dives to different levels of capabilities.

A couple of years later, he put this knowledge to good use when an unexpected move took him to Spain and he joined a renowned dive centre. Dealing with locals as well as tourists, Peter gradually picked up the language and this helped greatly with the training classes and put people at ease straight away. He relished the dive excursions where they explored the colourful reefs, abundant with rich and diverse marine life. He enjoyed wreck dives, making underwater discoveries, watching the inquisitive fish and sometimes even feeding them, with great opportunities for underwater photography shots. The spectacular undersea scenery never failed to amaze him.

Unfortunately, Peter had had to return to the UK to deal with unforeseen family matters but still went diving whenever he could and planned to go back to Spain eventually to continue with his dream job and lifestyle. To make sure he didn´t waste a moment of his time, he had enrolled in Spanish lessons to keep the language active in his mind as he intended to carry on exactly where he left off on his return to Spain. With more pressing matters to hand in the meantime, he contented himself with his memories of the magical underwater world of the Mediterranean.

Artistry Abounds

Posted on July 5th, 2013by Melanie
In Language acquisition, Spanish, Speech | Leave a Comment »

Miro 5It’s no surprise that a country so rich in beauty and culture should produce so many of the world´s renowned artists. Spain is a diverse country and it holds a lot of inspiration for onlookers, particularly those with a creative disposition.

Pablo Picasso was born in Madrid in 1881 and was particularly known for his co-founding of the Cubist movement which was considered to be of the utmost importance in influencing the art movement during the 20th century. His famous works throughout his life include Guernica, Weeping Woman and the controversial Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.

Francisco Goya, born on 1746, was a court painter to the Spanish Crown and a Romanticist painter. He was regarded as the greatest Spanish artist of the late eighteenth century as well as the first of the modern artists in the early nineteenth century. His artwork took an unexpected change from light-hearted to sinister works, known as the Black Paintings, during the turbulent reign of Ferdinand VII.

A surrealist artist and part of the Dada movement, Joan Miró received prestigious awards as recognition of his talents, including the Guggenheim International Award and the Gold Medal of Fine Arts which was presented to him by King Juan Carlos of Spain. The Fundació Joan Miró, a modern museum of art, was built in his native city of Barcelona as a dedication to his work, and the Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca was established in Palma de Mallorca to house a major collection of his artwork and memorabilia.

Just like Miró, Salvador Dalí was also a prominent surrealist artist who was heavily influenced by Cubism and Dada. The eccentric artist from Figueres produced famous works such as The Persistence of Memory, Millet´s Architectonic Angelus, and The Invisible Man.

If you find Spain a great source of inspiration but are more inclined towards languages than art, why not express yourself in Spanish after taking lessons in Oxford or a city near you.

Leading the Way

Posted on June 23rd, 2013by Melanie
In Chinese, English, Spanish | Leave a Comment »

Spanish, Chinese, EnglishIt seems as though the race is on for the top spot of the most spoken language in the world. The two main contenders are English and Chinese. Mandarin Chinese has the highest number of speakers, however, the majority of these are native speakers and the language is mainly concentrated in China, Taiwan and Singapore. China has become the second largest economy in the world and the need for others to learn the language is becoming more apparent. A new interest in the language has emerged and, in particular, businesses are starting to appreciate the need to address this issue for the future. Relations between the Unites States of America and China are gradually increasing and the US are making a concerted effort to promote the learning of the Chinese language.

English is the most widely spoken language throughout the world. It´s usage can be found almost all over the planet and it is the official language in at least one country of every continent, with the exception of Antarctica. Historically, this is inevitable due to the extent of the reign of the British Empire. It is the foremost business language and is compulsory in many countries as the first foreign language.

Is any other language in the running to compete with these two hugely popular languages? Spanish has gradually been creeping up the ladder and is now a major international language, being rumoured to overtake English as the most widely spoken in the world. It is spoken across four continents and is the official language of 21 countries. It´s becoming increasingly common in the US due to the rise in immigration, where the number of Spanish speakers is said to have reached 30% of the total population. As a rapidly expanding market, Spanish as a business language has also become more prominent. It´s an official language of the European Union and one of the official languages of the United Nations.

So make sure that you´re ready for the future and don´t get left behind. Start learning Spanish with these courses in Bristol to increase your standing in today’s linguistic society.

A Means to an End

Posted on June 5th, 2013by Melanie
In Language acquisition, Spanish, Speech | Leave a Comment »

Employment officeRob and Julie lived in Spain with their two kids, Becky and Sam. They´d emigrated from the UK when Sam was just 18 months old and Becky was born in Spain three years later. Julie, a qualified teacher, was lucky enough to get a position in a local school teaching English to Spanish children, while Rob was a plumber by trade and set up his own plumbing firm. For a while, they did very well and settled into the Spanish lifestyle with ease. But after the recession hit Spain, work was harder to come by for Rob as he had to compete for business against his Spanish competitors.

After a while, things took a turn for the worse financially and the family had to consider their options. Julie´s job at the school was still secure and the kids, who were now much older, were both doing very well in school. So Rob made the heart wrenching decision to go back to the UK to work for a while until things got better, leaving Julie and the kids in Spain.

Once he´d got on his feet back in the UK, one of the things Rob did to try to bridge the gap was to learn Spanish. Julie had already picked up quite a lot of the language at the school, and the kids both spoke it fluently. Already feeling too far apart from them, he thought that he could at least try to keep up with his lessons so that he didn´t drift further away from them in that aspect. He opted for some group Spanish classes in Bristol so that he could practise his conversational skills with like-minded people.

Whilst being apart was hard, they all had to make the best of a bad situation. In Spain, Julie and the kids carried on as normal and looked forward to Rob´s visits. In the UK, Rob worked as much as he could and squirrelled his earnings away to build a pot back up for them to use in Spain. His lessons were something to look forward to each week and each one was a step closer to him returning back to Spain and being reunited with his family for good.

Chewing the Fat with the Family

Posted on May 19th, 2013by Melanie
In Spanish, Speech, Translation | Leave a Comment »

Family mealAlice and Damian had been in a relationship for a few years now and, like any couple, spent a fair amount of time with each other´s relatives for family meals, celebrations or casual visits. For Alice though, this wasn´t always an easy affair as Damian´s family was Spanish on his mum´s side. Having taken a year of basic Spanish in school, Alice had been able to make initial gestures towards conversations when she´d first met his family, but her vocabulary was somewhat limited to say the least. When their relationship had become more serious, Alice had travelled to Barcelona to take a brief but intensive Spanish course to try to build up her knowledge of the language and boost her confidence when speaking it. Now though, as time had passed and with little practice, Alice found that she had difficulty in recalling words and phrases, and was finding it harder to be included in conversations at family get-togethers.

So, she thought she´d better make an effort and take more of an active role with Damian´s family by looking for some refresher courses. Having made some enquires, Alice signed up for some recommended one-to-one Spanish classes in Bristol and looked forward to being taught by her native Spanish teacher. As she lived so close to the language centre, Alice was lucky enough to benefit from the teacher being able to visit her at home for the classes which was extremely convenient. The lessons were geared to be a continuation from Alice´s current level of Spanish and were more personal in their content, with much of the subject matter being focused on Damian´s family and on conversations that would be more likely to take place.

As her Spanish vocabulary broadened and she found it easier to get her tongue around certain phrases, Alice´s confidence increased again and she felt sure that she´d be able to hold her own during some of the family conversations. Now she could look forward to the next mealtime when she could sit and have a chat with Damian´s mum without having to use him as a translator!

Speak Up for Lower Learning Costs!

Posted on May 10th, 2013by Melanie
In Education, Spanish, Speech | Leave a Comment »

University graduatesThe cost of education has often been a bone of contention with students, parents and teachers. Parents of children in primary and secondary education have to continually shell out for school uniforms, books, lunches, extra-curricular activities, school outings, term fees and summer school costs. It´s never ending! Students in higher education are facing continually increasing term fees; last year in the UK, university tuition fees rose to a maximum of £9,000 a year. This led to a decline of 15,000 applicants who just couldn´t afford this high price for their education. More increases are on the horizon for university fees again this year. In Spain this week, demonstrations have occurred throughout the country during a one-day strike against the government for proposed education cuts. Children and teachers in primary and secondary schools were not in attendance, just as students of higher education and faculty members chose to attend the protests instead of their classrooms, in a bid to change the government´s plans and instead promote the need for a proper public-funded education for everyone.

Don´t get caught out with crippling costs

One way to ensure you don´t get caught in this money trap is to arrange your own private tuition. You choose the subject you want to study, where you´d like to have your lessons and who you´d like to study with. One-to-one tuition is great for an intense course but studying in a group is much more interactive and you´ll find that the group rates are much cheaper. There´s no need to sacrifice your education when such competitive prices are available. The courses can be tailored to meet your requirements and you can choose how long you´d like to study for, so there are no hidden surprises! So if you want to brush up on your linguistic skills, for example, what better way than to learn from a native speaking teacher in your local area. You could book some great value Spanish classes in Bristol for some personal tuition that won´t break the bank!

Czechs Learning ‘Business Languages’

Posted on November 22nd, 2012by jake
In Chinese, Mandarin, Spanish | Leave a Comment »

The Prague Daily Moniter has written an article about the decline of English learning amongst young Czechs. Although the article suggests that ‘almost all young Czechs know some English now compared with the early 1990s’, it suggests that knowledge of more than one foreign language increases young Czechs career prospects. The foreign languages being chosen by young Czechs appear to be dependent upon ‘business trends that now put emphasis on Spanish, Russian and Chinese’. Orientalist Sarka Litvinova told the paper that ‘Czechs choose mainly Spanish and Russian as a second foreign language according to her statistics.’

It is not just Litvinova’s statistics that indicate that learning English is being surpassed by other languages, the trends are also partially confirmed by the data of the Education Ministry.

Russian is now studied by almost 30,000 children compared with about 11,000 in 2004, according to the ministry.

The number of students interested in Spanish more than doubled in the same period. It rose from 11,000 in 2004 to 24,000 now, the ministerial data show.

The article suggests that these increases are the result of Czechs wanting to do business with Russia and South America. Interest in Chinese is also growing within the country due to China’s ever increasing economy and presence on the global stage.

[via PDM]