There are many benefits you'll gain from learning Spanish as a high school student, both for your professional and academic life.
Knowing a second language can result in various opportunities in your future. Learning a new language is not easy, and people know this! That is why you will get the recognition you deserve from future institutions and dream jobs.
In this article, we'll give you information about the things you'll learn in your Spanish course, the levels you'll have to pass, ways of practicing outside of the classroom, and all the benefits you'll have if you manage to master the language.
What do you learn in high school Spanish?
There are four general skills you'll be pushed to develop during the years you study Spanish.
The first one is your listening skills. You'll have to complete various activities where you are asked to listen to an audio and answer questions about the information given to you in the audio. At a beginner level, you'll listen to basic and mundane conversations, but as you progress, the level of difficulty will increase.
You'll also have more than one lesson where you are asked to write down what you understood from a video, audio, presentation, or even a song.
The second skill is speaking. Your teacher will send more than one activity where you'll have to stand in front of the classroom and do an oral presentation in Spanish.
The best way to get over stage fright is by practicing as much as you can. Speaking in front of a classroom full of students every week will help you become a public speaker and you'll also develop your Spanish speaking and conversational skills.
The third skill you'll have to develop is reading comprehension. Every language teacher has to teach their students how to read in the new language. However, this is a skill that also develops without many plans or an activity, it develops naturally through practice.
As you learn a new word or how to conjugate a new verb, you'll be able to sort out and read sentences, and then paragraphs, essays, short stories, and finally books.
Finally, you'll develop writing skills. As you learn to understand, speak, and read, you'll also learn how to write in Spanish. You'll have grammar lessons, your teacher will check the spelling of every word and conjugation of every verb, you'll learn to build coherent sentences, and so on.
Learn more on our article, what do you learn in high school Spanish?
High school Spanish course levels
If you decide to take Spanish as an elective in high school you should know what you'll be taught and what you are expected to know after four years.
According to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), 6 levels will take any student from beginner to bilingual.
Those levels are A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2. Each level, class, and lesson has a specific learning purpose. The A levels are for beginners, B is for intermediate, and C is for advanced students.
Keep in mind that whether you are having virtual or in-person classes, the levels and the amount of work will always be the same.
If you already know a little bit of Spanish before high school you should check with a counselor to see at what level you could be placed.
Learn about the different types of Spanish classes that are offered in high school.
How can students practice their Spanish outside of school?
Many people believe that they will learn a language by attending a class or a course. However, this is not entirely true.
Although having a teacher or a tutor is indeed crucial for your learning, the student also has to be disciplined and passionate regarding their education. If all you do is attend language courses but you don't put in the work, then you'll never learn a foreign language.
Speaking in a different language than your mother tongue takes a lot of time and practice. You'll have to dedicate hours of hard work every week and carry on that habit for more than a year.
If you work hard every single day of the week you'll see quick results in your skills. You'll learn more vocabulary, conquer grammar rules quickly, pronounce words correctly, conjugate every verb perfectly, and more.
Every lesson is important, but every day that you practice is even more important!
Here is a list of the things you can do outside of school to practice your Spanish:
- Take advantage of your free time - many students tend to use their free time to play games online or go out with friends. However, if you want to improve your Spanish skills you should consider setting some time aside to practice at home what you learned in the latest course unit, even when you are done with homework. You can come up with vocabulary games or design some cool flashcards to help you study and practice with other friends too.
- Watch TV shows and movies in Spanish - if watching TV is one of your favorite activities, you could take advantage of your time and watch movies and shows in Spanish. You can try switching your language settings or you can find Hispanic movies and write down all the vocabulary you don't understand so that you can later search for an answer or ask your teacher.
- Read a book in Spanish - you can pick up your favorite book translated to Spanish and work your way through it. Once you are at an intermediate level you can also start reading Hispanic authors.
- Go online - there are plenty of online resources and tools that can help you learn and practice Spanish. You can find web pages, an online classroom, forums, events, apps, courses, and much more.
- Get private lessons with a tutor - working with a tutor can help you clear all your questions and they can also provide support on any class project or presentation you might have. They will help you review the course content and strengthen your knowledge. Teaching is about providing support, guidance, and knowledge to each student, which is exactly the goal tutors have with their students.
Find new ways to practice Spanish outside of school.
Benefits of learning a new language in high school
If you live in the US —especially in cities like New York or Los Angeles) you've probably noticed that a lot of people around you speak Spanish, either as a mother tongue or a second language.
Learning a language spoken by a vast majority will give you an advantage because you'll be able to communicate with more people and you'll be valued at companies who are interested in starting a business with Hispanic communities. However, there are many other great benefits of learning Spanish and even more opportunities that'll come with it.
For starters, Spanish is the world's fourth-most spoken language after English, Mandarin/Chinese, and Hindi; with nearly 500 million native speakers. Learning Spanish and knowing English means you already speak two of the most spoken languages in the world, which, in the future, can translate to more job offers.
Spanish is also one of the six official languages of the United Nations (UN). Many people don't see the importance of this but the UN is a massive organization with opportunities across the world. If you are interested in doing humanitarian work, learning one of the official languages of the UN can give you an advantage.
On the other hand, learning a second language is useful for high school students because it can help them enhance their application and once you're in school you could transfer some language credits and skip some classes.
Another benefit will come in the future, once you start searching for a job. Your resume will stand out compared to everyone else applying who doesn't have a second or third language listed in their skills.
Companies and employers are constantly searching for employees who can speak other languages because they are interested in building teams that can communicate with people and companies all around the world. Your employer will be happy to see someone who is bilingual in a pool of monolingual applicants!
Finally, if you know how to speak Spanish you could travel across Latin America and Spain. Spanish is the official language of around 20 countries, and you could travel and visit world wonders without having to worry about communication, getting lost, being unable to ask for help, understand transportation, or order a meal.
If you truly love foreign experiences, you could even find a job in a Spanish-speaking country —especially if you are bilingual— and settle abroad.
What are the benefits of learning a new language in high school?
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