Direct Method For Learning Spanish: An Effective Way to Learn Conversational Spanish

The direct method for learning Spanish has proven its efficacy but nowadays it is usually used in combination with other methods and approaches. Some language software systems, like Rosetta Stone, are based on this method and on the immersion method.

The method is known also as natural method for learning Spanish. It is the opposite of grammar-translation, and was intended to correct all its weaknesses.

Description of the direct method for learning Spanish

  • In contrast to the grammar-translation method, the communication here between the teacher and the students and the students between each other is in Spanish, and English is neglected.
  •  Both the students and the teacher are supposed to use Spanish when communicating with each other.
  • Thus Spanish language learning is resembles learning English as a child – you learn it among people who already speak it and you use it as far as your abilities allow you that.
  • This method for learning Spanish is concentrated on listening and speaking Spanish. It also develops your pronunciation very well. Moreover listening and then speaking comprises the idea of imitation which is one of the basic concepts in learning any language.
  • Students are required to intensively communicate – by speaking, talking, asking and answering questions. Special attention paid to pronunciation in Spanish. All communication is related to normal environment that could occur in everyday life.

This method for learning how to speak spanish is practically all-opposite to the school (grammar-trasnlation) method, as the concept is to neglect any written text, any reading, writing, at least till the moment of achieving high enough level of oral skills in Spanish.

There is no grammar and no translation here as in the previous method, simply because explaining Spanish grammar rules and making translation implies using English, which should be avoided as a rule.

All this process obviously resembles speaking progress of a child – it first listens, then starts speaking, much later it is introduced to alphabet, and developing reading skills and writing comes last.

No grammar or translations are presented until certain reasonable age, as they require intelligence and skills that are not innate.

 In the direct method the surrounding world is also revealed in the way it is revealed to a child – by illustrations, demonstrations, comparisons, introducing common objects as tables, windows, books, bags, vases and so on. Abstract words are taught through associations.

Benefits of styding Spanish with the direct method

  • Speaking and listening skills are well developed, along with pronunciation
  • Communication is in target language and is related to everyday situations and vocabulary.
  • Learning target language is performed in a natural way which is easy and guarantees fast and steady progress.
  • Grammar is introduced while the students are not aware of it at all.

Disadvantages of learning Spanish with the direct method

  • Starting to communicate directly in Spanish might sometimes pose serious problems. The way a child is introduced to English might be natural but anyway adults have different perceptions and habits. In some cases the idea of “forcing a child-like behavior” might seem somehow primitive and even irritating.
  • It might be disappointing for some persons who might feel they are not progressing fast enough.
  • Explaining things by only using illustrations, demonstrations and association and trying to fully escape communicating in English could make things more difficult than needed.
  • Some Spanish grammar and vocabulary specifics cannot be explained well or at all.
  • The teacher plays a too centralized part in the learning process.
  • The training does not develop well reading and writing skills in Spanish. Thus it is just partly related to contextual learning and does not fully prepare the learner for what comes next after the Spanish introductory course.

Recommended level of Spanish language fluency for applying the direct method for learning Spanish:

  • Beginners
  •  Intermediate

The direct method for styding Spanish has its logical sequence – the language immersion – which is based on the same principles, and also can be used both for beginners and intermediate learners.

Its flexibility allows to be applied in combination with other methods for learning Spanish.

One of the best software programs for language learning – Rosetta Stone – is based on these two methods.

Rosetta Stone is a really unique tool as it allows everyone to learn talking in any language without using native language during the learning process.