Tag Archives: Spanish grammar

“Movie-like“ learning with the help of movies

learn spanish with movies

“Movie-like“ learning with the help of movies

Movies are only used for a short while as didactic tools in the lessons. The main reason for this is, as you can imagine, that it has “recently” become more and more popular to integrate multimedia teaching material into language teaching. This includes for example the use of projectors, computers and much more. At first glance, this seems to be very simple because in principle, you only need a television and a video recorder for the presentation of a video. But in fact, it is not that easy. Many schools do not have these materials or they have too little of them and they cannot often be used by a class because they should be available to all teachers. That concerns the technical aspect. From a didactical point of view, the presentation of a movie demands a good preparation of the teacher because he has to search for and to choose suitable material.

When all of this is done and all of these more or less important difficulties are overcome, you will be rewarded with a large number of teaching material and many possibilities. The use of audiovisual media in class – so also of videos to learn spanish – is really enriching and motivating because they make it possible for the students to get to know learning from another perspective. Regarding the movies, it can be, on the one hand, of course exhausting, if you do not understand everything, but on the other hand, this medium represents a good possibility to train the listening comprehension. What do I want to say with that? The videos show real communication – of course only within the scope of fiction.  But through these videos, you can improve your communicative competences. Beyond that, it is possible to develop the listening comprehension and much more, if the right scenes are shown.

Even if you have already watched movies in class, the student can also improve his oral competences at home through this type of teaching material. But how can you use videos and movies to learn languages? The foreign language student who is reading this will think at first glance that this is very easy. But usually, we watch movies at home to relax. Contrary to that, to deal with a movie whose language we do not speak can be very exhausting. I do not want to deny that at the beginning, you have to get used to it, you have to be more concentrated and maybe, you should start with a movie with subtitles – if you want in your native language and later, you can go on with subtitles in the foreign language. When you have passed this “training phase” in favour of the development of these competences (especially the training of the listening comprehension, but also of the oral expression and of the interaction), the success will be considerable. And you can even learn while you are having fun. The use of this medium for children is also a good idea because the language which is used is mostly not very complex. The clever (or trained) ones can also just go to the cinema and watch movies in foreign languages. Like this, you can connect learning and a popular leisure activity.

Movies and videos show the language in a charming and completely other way than they seem to be for most students in class. The learning process, which is stimulated through this, is effective. The conversations and situations, which are shown, are authentic, and beyond that, the movie is also a teaching material which motivates. The reason for that is that it is freed from all the negative things, which are always associated with teaching in class or with autonomous learning.

The learning of grammar

The learning of grammar

Grammar plays an important role in linguistic debates as well as in theories of language teaching, and it will never lose its topicality. Over the years, the view of grammar has gone through various stages: Over many centuries, it was the most important aspect in learning of foreign languages, until it was sometime completely ignored and forgotten. This chapter has been followed by the renaissance of grammar, as a result of which the grammar has received the value which it never should have lost.

Many pupils think that the learning of a language only depends on the comprehension of the grammar rules, but new theories of language teaching say that grammar represents in fact a basic competence, but it is not the only one. Grammar is therefore rightly one of the so-called linguistic competences.

The main objective of language acquisition is communication. Concerning this matter, grammar plays a very important role. It makes sure that the communication is of good quality and not only communication for communications sake and without formal importance. The following is interesting: Over the time mentioned above, in which grammar played no role in language teaching, the pupils fell into a certain ignorance. That has proved that the assumption that grammar is not important, was wrong. The pupils want to have a fixed constant to which they  can orientate in speaking and which offers them security and gives them support.

As for Spanish, grammar is what frightens the pupils the most. Although there are little complex subjects like gender and number which are very regular, there are others which are very complicated. To the second group belongs, for example, the high number of past tenses, which do not exist in this amount in various other languages (see the difference between “pretérito indefinido” and “pretérito imperfecto”). The subjuntivo should also be mentioned. In other languages in which it even exists, it is not as often used as in Spanish. Other complex subjects are the pronouns, the difference between “ser” and “estar” as well as the indirect speech. In this cases, it is important to focus the communication and not only the learning by heart, because grammar does not consist of  mathematic formulas. The learned rules are to be internalized by systematic exercises.

We give answers to grammatical questions and help, if someone has problems. Regarding this, we also orientate toward the levels of the European Framework of Reference for Languages. That can also be interesting for native speakers. We find it extremely important to give useful, clarifying and interesting assistance to the reader.