Tag Archives: learn spanish on skype

Spanish teacher Ivan

Featured Spanish Teacher of the Month – Iván Aguilar

Our team of teachers is spread across boundaries. Each of them brings in a unique teaching style, cultural experience, and a new set of language learning tips.

This month, we travel all the way to Peru to meet our teacher of the month – Iván Aguilar. Iván has been rated as a 5 star teacher consistently by all the students on CultureAlley. Here are some great learning tips from Iván.

1) Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Iván Aguilar. I’m from Peru, a country located in South America. Currently I’m working as an English and Spanish teacher and Academic Coordinator at a Language School in Perú. Spanish is my mother tongue and I just love teaching it. I also love spreading the love for Peruvian culture and music! :)

2) What motivated you to start teaching languages?

This has been a long an interesting path I followed. I studied to be a Social Science teacher, but I got involved in language teaching and found my true professional call. I really like to see how my students overcome the language barrier and become what we might call world citizens by sharing their culture and opinions with the world through the internet or in person. It is really rewarding to be able to contribute to this process.

3) Tell us about your teaching experience – How long have you been teaching, what kind of students have you taught?

Well, I have been teaching for about ten years now. I’ve taught all ages from 6-year-old kids – the most energetic- to adult students.

Most of my students are university students who need to know at least two languages in order to get their degrees.

I’ve also taught some teaching methodology courses.

4) Why you think learning new languages is beneficial?

I think languages are very important since they allow people to connect with other people.

I’ve seen how the perception of the world changes while learning a new language because indirectly a new language always brings about the learning of a new culture.

This is one first step to make ourselves part of a more understanding and global world. Besides it is great to see how learning a new language enriches a person.

As the quote says: “Learn a new language, get a new soul”

Needless to say there are many more academic and professional doors opened for the ones who learn new languages.

5) Please give our readers some tips on learning languages.

I have just two words : practice and connect. It is great to practice grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, etc. But it is also really relevant to connect all that is being practiced with our real lives.

If you are practicing a specific grammar pattern, get some time to write your very personal sentences because in the end you want your new language to talk about yourself, your ideas, your opinions, your country, the things that matter to you.

For me,

connecting also means talking or writing to people who are learning or are native speakers of the language that you have chosen to learn.

This always makes your language learning more meaningful and prepares you for real-life interaction.

6) Tell us about your most interesting experience while learning or teaching Spanish yourself.

I like the various forms of art very much. I think immersing yourself in a form of art is a great strategy to learn a language.

One of the most interesting experiences I had, was helping my students to prepare for doing some drama (acting) as a part of their course. Not only did we have a lot of fun, but I also could see students devoting a lot of time in learning their lines and linking this to their acting. It was great!

7) How have you worked with CultureAlley to spread the love for language learning?

I feel glad to be working with a very organized and creative team as the one of CultureAlley. They are building the much needed bridges to help students get high quality language instruction. At the same time I feel they are cooperating through the teaching of languages to create bounds of international friendship. It feels great to be able to make some little contribution to this project.

8) A final word of advice for budding language learners?

Don’t stop learning new languages, don’t stop knowing new worlds!

If you wish to take lessons with Iván, just fill up this form: http://culturealley.com/SkypeLiveLessonform.jsp

Private Spanish lessons

Private Spanish Lessons with Spanish Teachers on Skype

Serious About learning Spanish? We have a group of native, expert, and professional teachers, who can teach you 1on1 on Skype.

How can I learn Spanish on Skype?

There is nothing that can help you learn Spanish faster than interacting with real people who speak Spanish. And it gets even better if these people are Spanish teachers!
At CultureAlley, we offer private Spanish lessons with Spanish teachers on Skype. These are 1on1 lessons where you can talk to expert Spanish teachers (from Spain & Latin America) who are trained and experienced in teaching Spanish. See a sample profile here.
The Skype lessons take place over a 1on1 video conferencing based interface – so you can see the teacher, hear the teacher, and talk to the teacher.
Each teacher is hand-picked after thorough screening of his/her teaching experience, certifications, and educational background. They are experienced in tutoring over Skype and they all speak fluent English.

Why is learning Spanish with private lessons on Skype effective?
  1. Personalization: Because these are 1on1 private lessons – the lesson content and exercises are completely personalized based to suit your learning needs and starting level. The pace of each lesson can also be personalized to suit your learning pace.
  2. 1on1 Interaction: You get to talk to, and hear a native Spanish teacher through out the lesson. You practice with an expert, and get immediate feedback to improve your Spanish.
  3. Flexibility: You can take the lessons based on your availability. Pick the hours that you are available for and we will find a Spanish teacher who fits your needs to teach you on those hours.
What does a typical lesson cover?

The Spanish course is completely customized to suit your learning needs. Whether you are a beginner traveling to Spain, or a business professional wanting to learn business Spanish, or an intermediate learner looking for help with a text or an exam, or an advanced learning wanting some help with the accent – we have Spanish teachers who can customize the lessons for all these needs

The teacher would design a presentation/PDF and take you through it during the lesson along with other interactive activities. Lessons cover:

  • Conversations
  • Grammar
  • Pronunciation
  • Practice exercises
  • And fun: Music, movie clips, reading practice, and more!
For what level are these lessons? I am a beginner – can I take these?

We have teachers for all levels of Spanish – be it Spanish for beginners, intermediate level, or advanced level.

How is interacting with teachers better than interacting with just any native?

A person who can speak Spanish may not be equipped to teach Spanish. While interacting with natives will help you understand their accent better or learn some new words, you may feel lost and feel the lack of structure or flow – you may be able to talk, but not learn too much.
An expert Spanish teacher on the other hand, knows what is needed to be taught basis your needs, can create quality content, and is equipped with the latest teaching methods. They will also be able to help you practice more effectively.

When can I take the Skype lessons?

Whenever it works for you! Just let us know your preferred time slots and we will find a coach who is available on the same hours and connect the two of you. We usually take just 24-48 hours to pair you with the right coach.

How much does each lesson cost?

Each lesson costs between USD 12-20 per hour. You would be offered discounts for bulk bookings. We accept payments via PayPal and credit cards.

Okay, I am interested, how do I book a Skype lesson on CultureAlley?

Fill up this form: https://docs.google.com/a/culturealley.com/forms/d/1pOhbfNl3UEVxTPBIOMUXrn3RPKECUyeFLWfgJL1GRbM/viewform


Email us on contact@culturealley.com with:
1) Your learning objectives
2) Your starting level
3) The timeline you have in mind to learn the language
4) The day(s) and time slot(s) that would work for you for the programme.
5) Your time zone

We will email you the profiles of Spanish tutors who fit your needs and are available on your preferred time. You can choose the best coach from those profiles and confirm your lesson.

Need further information?
Chat with us live on CultureAlley to find out more!

Learn Spanish for Free!

In our last post on how to learn a new language, we discussed a high level methodology to make language learning easy, fun, and as natural as any other habit.
One of the most popular languages today is – Spanish – the second most natively spoken language in the world, Spanish is witnessing a tremendous rise in its popularity!

A lot of our learners talk to us on live chat and on our forums and ask ‘How can I learn Spanish?‘, ‘How do I learn Spanish for free?‘, ‘How can I learn Spanish online?‘ etc…

Today, we talk about some ways by which one can easily learn Spanish for free and skip making a hole in one’s pocket! :) We will review various methods to learn Spanish for free, suggest which to choose and why, and also provide some resource references.

Here are some great ways to learn Spanish for free:

1. Free Online Lessons 

Gone are the days when you were forced to buy a 500$ CD/software to pick up a new language! There are some great self-study courses available on the web/as mobile apps to help you learn Spanish grammar, conversations, and vocabulary for free. These can help you start right from the beginning and take you to even an advanced level.

Which website/apps to choose for learning Spanish online:

  1. Depth: Check the list of topics on these websites and then go with a source that has enough material for your learning needs. Switching from one source to another too often may result in a break in continuity.
  2. Interactivity & practice: Pick a source that provides interactive Spanish practice games and exercises on top of the content. This will ensure a consistent learning experience. Testing yourself on what you learn is extremely important. Choose sources which give you a mix of reading, listening, and writing exercises and give immediate feedback.
    Quizlet is a good website for finding practice exercises but they don’t have complementary lessons – so you may feel lost as to which exercises to look at.
  3. Structure and flow: There are two types of websites:
    1. Websites that have structured lessons and quizzes with a clear flow – These pretty much act as a book guiding you one lesson after the other. Choose this if you are looking for a one stop shop experience and want to limit the need for searching for topics.
    2. Reference Websites which cover a lot of different grammar and conversational topics without necessarily having these organized in a flow or as lessons. Choose these only if you are looking at these websites for one-off reference or as supplementary material. About.com for Spanish is a good reference website if you want to search for help on certain topics
  4. Audio support: We would highly recommend choosing websites which have tutorials and lessons with audio support. Audio-visual lessons just change the way you pick up Spanish. You will develop a better accent and better listening skills.
  5. Content: Of-course the meat of any learning website is the content it offers. Now, how good or bad the content is would only be discovered once you try out a couple of lessons. But you could look at user comments/ feedback about the website before getting started. Remember that different people may like different styles of teaching. We ideally recommend content that is beyond just a phrasebook and helps you understand why something is said the way it is.

2. The Telenovela method

Another great way to learn Spanish for free is using Spanish media. Traditionally, the telenovela method (TV method) involved watching Spanish soap-operas and learning Spanish with them.
The Telenovela Method uses Spanish-language media, that you would enjoy, to teach you Spanish. In our experience, this method works best once you have some basic knowledge of Spanish grammar and vocabulary - although we have seen people use just this method as well.

Expanding scope from just TV, you could use movies, YouTube videos, songs, comic strips, news, or whatever you enjoy to make the process of learning Spanish fun and engaging. While starting out, it is ideal if you use videos, songs, movies, and comic strips with  both Spanish and English subtitles.

Learn Spanish for free with comics

Learn Spanish for free with comics (copyright: GoComics)

Take the above comic strip for example. If you don’t know any Spanish then you’ll find it difficult to understand the first script. But if you know the basics (like pronouns, ser/estar, basic conjugations) then understanding the strip becomes very easy by looking at its English version.

Eg: Una gran mayoría de gente de seis años dice que no satisfaces sus expectativas de la paternidad
Una gran mayoría de gente = A large majority of people
de seis años = of 6 years
dice que = say that
no satisfaces = you don’t satisfy
sus expectativas de la paternidad = their expectations of (the) fatherhood

You should watch/read small sections at a time, then try to look at the meanings of the words you don’t understand. More than just the vocabulary, try to understand the grammar – why a sentence is framed the way it is.

If you don’t understand certain concepts, you can post questions on forums.

The Telenovela method is effective because it introduces real conversations – as a native would talk, and is fun at the same time. However, you will need help with understanding the grammar and vocabulary. So, the Telenovela method would need some basic understanding of the language and supplementary sources which explain the concepts well. We recommend using it as a fun way to practice and learn more vocabulary.

Some resources:

  1. Songs:
    1. Just go to YouTube, Grooveshark, or Pandora to tune into Spanish songs. You can find Spanish and English lyrics on sites like metrolyrics.com, lyricstranslate.com, etc..
    2. We are working on adding a Karaoke tool into your lesson experience to help you practice Spanish. Check out a sample: http://culturealley.com/SpanishKaraoke.jsp
  2. Comic strips: GoComics:  You can find popular strips like Calvin & Hobbes, Garfield, and other in Spanish on this site. It also has the English version of the same strips.
  3. Movies: You may find some movies (with subtitles) on YouTube. Otherwise you can also get DVDs or go to websites like open subtitles.

3. Language Exchange

This method involved conversing (either face to face or over Skype) with a native who speaks Spanish and knows some English (or whatever your native language is) – the native would teach you Spanish and you in-turn would teach him/her English (or whatever your native language is).
Finding a native:

  1. Friend circle: If you can find someone you know already or a friend – nothing like it! Because that will make the conversations more natural and comfortable.
  2. Clubs: A lot of cities have clubs and meetup groups for language learning where you can find a mix of beginners as well as native speakers
  3. Online: You can also find websites to connect you with natives over chat/Skype

It works well because you are interacting 1on1 with a native – you pick up the right words, learn the accent well, learn about their culture, and most importantly practice speaking.
The only draw-back at times is that a native Spanish speaker may not be necessarily equipped to teach Spanish and both of you may feel lost.
There is a paid version of this option where instead of choosing just any native, you can interact with a native Spanish teacher over Skype who is trained to teach you Spanish. However, experienced teachers would charge a fee.

4. Free English-Spanish Dictionaries

There are several online dictionaries to help you find new words and build your vocabulary. If your aim is to build vocabulary, find a limited word dictionary that has curated the most important words. If your aim is to find meanings of words you read somewhere or hear somewhere then go for a more comprehensive dictionary like the one from Oxford word reference or use Google translate (it works well with individual words, not so much with phrases).

The web provides tremendous scope for learning a new language – so save the 500$ for exploring a new place! :) There is enough quality material out there – all you need to do is be careful and picky.

Here are some resources and tools that we have built at CultureAlley to help you learn Spanish for free (also available for other languages):
1) Free audio visual lessons on Spanish – More than 60 free lessons with voice and audio support. The lessons are super-intuitive, conversational, and explain each concept in detail
2) Free practice games on Spanish – Our games ‘spellathon’ and ‘scatterathon’ provide action packed practice to develop your reading, writing, and listening skills. They complement what you learn in each lesson and give immediate feedback
3) Free Spanish Dictionary – 1000 most used words in Spanish with English translations. Has an easy search feature and comes with audio support.
4) Live chat - To guide you on your learning plan, answer your questions, hear your feedback, and more!
5) Spanish Forums – Ask questions and get responses from our team within 24 hours
6) Spanish Karaoke ToolLearn Spanish with music using our karaoke tool. Many more songs coming up soon!

Tell us about more helpful resources that you’d like us to review or include in the list. Happy learning!