As a qualified English teacher, I am well aware of the importance of praising students and giving lots of positive feedback. However, I am going to be a bit negative here when I say that for some, actually many people, learning Spanish is an impossible feat.
Many people naively expect that they will be fluent after a month long intensive course or a course of evening classes. Think again. You have to be prepared to accept that you will be Spanish Magazine learning for life and that is quite an overwhelming challenge. It requires confidence and dedication. You have to be prepared to make mistakes and even make a fool of yourselves at times as speaking another language requires you to take on a whole new persona. This can feel uncomfortable for some people and can actually put them off for fear of not being taken seriously.
Although you may have all the good intentions, when there are so many other important things that you need to do during your free time such as food shopping, exercise, cooking health meals, when are you supposed to learn Spanish? You also need the right conditions to learn such as a quiet background which is not easy when your pre-schoolers are fighting to the beat of the blaring television! Some might argue that you can learn when they are all in bed but by this point in the day, most parents are ready for bed themselves.
The problem is you have to get into a frame of mind where your life or earning a living depends on your learning. But the reality is this isn’t the case for most expats who depend on the expat community to earn a living. Most people can get by with the odd frustrating experience without learning Spanish. So, when you have one hundred and one other things to get on with during your day, why should you struggle with something that really isn’t necessary?
For those who do set out to learn with good intentions, many people are unfortunate enough to be landed with a teacher whose teaching methods do not suit their learning methods. People don’t usually question the teacher’s techniques or in most cases lack of them. The student usually ends up blaming themselves and puts it down to “not being good at languages” rather than having an unsuitable teacher. At this point it is easier to give up then hunt for a teacher that suits their needs as a learner. This is often the case when they are faced with pages of verb tables on the first lesson. Hey, teachers if you really don’t like the look of your new students present them with a few pages of verbs on the first day. I’ll be surprised if you see any of them again.
For the lucky few who get beyond ordering a beer, the worst point in learning is when you reach plateaus and don’t seem to improve for months. This is where a lot of people remain forever as they don’t know how to take themselves beyond this level. You need to either be quite creative and find materials to boost you learning or a good teacher or you fall by the wayside.