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Course Levels

  • About
  • Beginning 1
  • Beginning 2
  • Beginning 3
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • Spanish for Travelers

About our Course Levels: We offer Spanish classes at a full range of levels plus special short-courses for those planning a trip to a Spanish-speaking country -- click the appropriate tab above. If you are uncertain about which one is best for you, contact us. We'll help you choose the level or class that is most appropriate for you based on your skill, experience and what you hope to learn.

We adapt the pace of each class and the subject matter covered to fit the students and their needs. As such, the levels flex to you, not the other way around. We have always been able to place students in a "good fit" class.

Our class sizes are small by design, and this allows us to tailor the class to fit students' needs while maximizing participation. Regardless of the level or class, you will begin speaking Spanish during the first class. Our classes are highly interactive and participatory.

And if you wish, you are free to change to a different level during the session. Your learning will include listening, reading, writing and speaking. We use subject matter that will introduce you to the Hispanic culture while you learn the language.

While our classes include much more, course levels can to some extent be described by the progression through the verb tenses, and we do so in the level descriptions. Again, the material covered may vary as appropriate to match students needs.

We have found that adults need to learn grammar in order to speak Spanish correctly. If you just want to learn a few phrases and words for a trip to Latin America, you don't need grammar. If you want to be able to understandably speak Spanish, you will need to learn how the language works (grammar). And don't worry, our classes are fun, with a focus on getting you communicating and using the language from day one. [Click to read Is Grammar Really Best Avoided?]

Beginning 1: If you have little or no previous experience with Spanish and want to start at the beginning, this is the level for you. You will learn pronunciation, basic vocabulary, greetings, common verbs, and how to read and construct basic sentences. We'll cover the things you'll need in any language, from numbers to telling time to ordering at a restaurant. You will learn the present verb tense. You will begin speaking Spanish starting with the first class. If you had Spanish in school but so long ago that you don't remember much, you may want to start again at this level.

Your instructor will teach the class primarily in English, but will use more Spanish as you progress.

The subject matter covered may vary somewhat, depending on each individual group.

Beginning 2: Many of our students tell us they had Spanish in high school or college and still remember the basics. If you know some Spanish but want to review the basics and move on from there, then this is your level. If you can't remember much from your prior coursework, or you have never learned how to conjugate a verb in the present tense, Beginning 1 is probably a better choice. If you've picked up some Spanish traveling but never had a class, you should start with Beginning 1 to build a good foundation. Your are free to switch classes if after beginning, you feel that you are in the wrong class.

This course is basically a continuation of Beginning Spanish 1, so you should be familiar with the basics such as pronunciation, gender, basic expressions, some vocabulary and present tense regular verbs. You'll build your vocabulary and work with sentences and beginning readings and conversation. We’ll review the present tense, especially irregular verbs, and you will learn the preterite (past tense).

Your instructor will teach the class partly in English and partly in Spanish.

The subject matter covered may vary somewhat, depending on each individual group.

Beginning 3: For our continuing Beginning 2 students as well as new students who are already reasonably comfortable with the basics. You should have already learned about the present tense, reflexive verbs and the preterite tense and be ready to move on to the imperfect (past) future and conditional tenses. We will expand your reading, writing and speaking skills beyond the basics. You'll start to converse in class.

Students should expect to take Beginning 3 for two or more sessions before being ready to move on to the Intermediate level. Beginning 3 will also begin the imperative and compound (perfect) tenses.

To improve listening skills and immersion, your instructor will teach the class as much as possible in Spanish, but use English as necessary for your understanding.

The subject matter covered may vary somewhat, depending on each individual group.

Intermediate: This is your level if you already reasonably capable with basic Spanish, but want to increase your proficiency in understanding, speaking, reading and writing. You should already be familiar with the present, preterite, imperfect, future, conditional, imperative and compound tenses. We will continue to work with these tenses to improve your proficiency with them. We will introduce the subjunctive mood in this level.

You will also continue to expand your vocabulary and other aspects of grammar. You will be working with more reading, writing and conversation. Intermediate students should be able to converse (errors to be expected). At this level, students should have a strong enough base to start putting things together into conversation, and doing so will be part of the class format.

Students should expect to be at the Intermediate level for two or more sessions before being ready to move on to the Advanced level.

Your instructor will teach the class primarily in Spanish, using English as necessary for your understanding.

More about the Intermediate Class....

We have found that adults at this level benefit from a mix of both grammar and conversation practice, and this class includes considerable conversation. Your instructor will plan the lessons to integrate the two and help you habitualize correct sentences and usage. Conversation will also stimulate you to begin thought>to>talk speech where you don't translate everything in your head -- an important step toward fluency.

The subject matter covered may vary somewhat, depending on each individual group.

Advanced: This level is for students with a good background in Spanish, perhaps with a few gaps, and who can converse in Spanish. You will further develop your proficiency in spoken and written Spanish through a combination of exercises and activities with vocabulary, grammar, reading, discussion, and writing. This level concentrates on building fluency.

You should already be familiar with the following verb tenses: present, preterite, imperfect, future, conditional, imperative, compound (perfect tenses) and subjunctive mood. You should expect to considerably improve your proficiency in these tenses, integrating them more and more into your repertoire. This level has much more emphasis on conversation. It is for students who already have a good knowledge base but need to more fully integrate it into their use of the language. The class is taught entirely in Spanish and students are expected to use only Spanish during the class. We use textbooks and other materials that are written in Spanish.

More about the Advanced Class....

The Advanced class includes a significant amount of conversation. We have found that adults at this level need both grammar review and conversation. Your instructor will plan the lessons to integrate the two. In this way, you will assimilate and retain what you learn. Conversation will help you retain what you learn and what you already know while improving your fluency. This is guided practice, which ensures that you do not perpetuate mistakes and turn them into bad habits. You'll like the various special projects we do in the class and the enjoyable mix of language skill building with conversation. ¡Imperdible!

Spanish for Travelers: This is a special short-course for those who plan to travel to a Spanish-speaking country and want to learn Spanish language basics for their trip. It is for beginners with little to no previous experience with the Spanish language.You will learn the things that travelers need for everyday situations, including pronunciation, greetings, asking directions, shopping, ordering at the restaurant, using public transportation and more.

Please go to the Spanish for Travelers page for more information.