I love my students. I ask a lot of them. Mainly I ask that they trust me and that they risk themselves and speak to anyone, strangers, neighbors, clients, friends, family members in Spanish using their tools. I feel so lucky to work with such amazing people.
My student Kristen wrote this after taking one of my programs. I wanted to share it bc it made me proud of who I am as a teacher and proud of my students. See below.
Speech-Language Pathologist, The Speech and Language Connection. Foster Mom, Rescued Pets Movement.
I feel like I have learned more in 10 weeks in Gena’s Spanish Over Coffee program than I did in 10 years of Spanish classes in school! Gena’s system is perfect for targeting exactly what vocabulary and concepts are practical and applicable for each person in her classes. Plus I can promise you will never be bored—Gena’s enthusiasm and energy are contagious, and I look forward to my class meetings all week.
As a nice added benefit of taking this course, I have found that it has really benefitted me in my career as a speech-language therapist. I have been able to apply what is useful and helpful for me learning the Spanish language to my clients who struggle with functional English. I recommend Gena’s courses to anyone looking to learn functional, conversational Spanish in a fun and positive atmosphere.
Teresa had a great question about my last post- "What do you mean by "Once you are teachable then you will actualize speaking your next language"?
Below is my answer:
Most people including myself are so afraid of making mistakes. We keep things hidden. We don’t want others to know we don’t know or are uncertain. When we don’t know we have a a series of uncomfortable sensations which cause us to protect ourselves by pretending we know, or figuring it out, or guessing about the... conversation. All of the above are a reaction to these uncomfortable physical sensations and are not effective at making a reality of speaking and understanding a foreign language.
A language is not something you can figure out by yourself. A language is something one experiences in community. I have to risk myself and at the same time that I risk myself I have to be paying attention, or aware, of the clues of when communication is not clear. In other words - Would I truly bet my car I understood every word? If the answer is NO, the next step is to ask and use “the tools” i.e. Repítelo. ¿Cómo se dice? ¿Qué significa ___ en inglés? to gain clarity.
The barrier isn’t knowing “the tools”. The tools are simple. The barrier is the belief we should know. So we do everything but use the tools. We study. We practice. We think. We figure it out all on our own and by ourselves. As a student does that the opportunity to actualize true communication (speaking and understanding) slips by because they are embarrassed to show they don’t know.
They have not created the distinction that “being public about not knowing” is an opportunity (not a problem).
When a student becomes “public about not knowing” and sees it as an opportunity, they interrupt, they take action, they jump into conversations. While in conversations they interrupt and learn. In the interrupting and the asking questions to gain clarity a new language emerges. It becomes real and a part of them versus a concept.
As long as someone is guessing and certain they know, they’re not teachable. The questions have to come from them. Only they can decipher what is not clear.
Does this help?
Thank you for asking a great question. Please feel free to ask more questions. This helps clarify my thoughts.
The secret to acquiring a 2nd, 3rd, 4th language is
“Being Public about Not Knowing”.
This is similar to gaining balance on a bicycle. First one must discover they do not have balance, then one must practice until all the sudden they experience being ok with the sensation of balance. It is something one develops. “Being Pubic about Not Knowing” - is a sensation of it is ok not to know. I don’t have to know everything. In fact it is fabulous, freeing and others are here to te...ach me.
Really when someone becomes vulnerable and “Public about Not Knowing” they become teachable.
Once you are teachable then you will actualize speaking your next language.
¡Hola! Our summer classes are now open for registration! The first step is to attend one of my “Initial Lesson and Interviews” which is the foundation of my program. The cost for the Initial Lesson and Interview is $20 and does not require a commitment to sign up for the program.
We have 6 interview dates between June 4th and July 20th. To reserve your spot and find out more about the Initial Lesson and Interview please visit http://www.spanishovercoffee.com/get-started/
My promise after taking one of my programs is to leave you using the tools to speak and learn Spanish from anyone, anytime, anywhere.
From @vrindamohunta "I'm having so much fun talking to people in Spanish. There have been a few comical moments when I was trying to say to a patient "are you afraid?" But instead I said something else that I cannot repeat. The best part is they thought it was funny as well. Thank you Gena for giving me the courage to speak."
From @mkatielee after our first outing - "I've always felt guilty about letting my Spanish go because my family is from Argentina. It was so fun to bring my mom to our first experience and get to show her how much my speaking has improved (and we're only 4 lessons in!). I'm not afraid anymore to ask questions or interrupt when I don't understand. Thank you Gena for bringing Spanish back into our lives!!"
Overheard in our Tuesday night class:
"I was okay with getting the gist for years, but I never really learned Spanish." - Margaret, Retired School Teacher
How many of us have felt this way? You have a conversation and hear something that sounds familiar and you decide you understood. You may have even decided you understood perfectly. But did you really?...
When learning a new language it is very tempting to guess at what others are saying. You get a word, maybe, then listen some, say to yourself aha, aha, aha, then maybe get another word, then you make up the rest. As a teacher I can see why one would think that is what the other is saying, but it is not what they are saying. Power in language comes from the certainty and clarity. Ask yourself, would you bet your car you understood? If yes, then you probably understood, if not, then use your tools. - Gena - Spanish Over Coffee
"I studied French for nearly five years in school, and it was my best subject. I even received the French medal when I graduated from high school. Although I could read and write in French proficiently, I could not hold a conversation as well as I can now in Spanish with less than a year's worth of study. At Spanish Over Coffee, the emphasis is on speaking in Spanish, anytime, anywhere. The Spanish Over Coffee program balances coursework with conversation and practical application. I have tried other language courses in Houston, including Rice University's Foreign Language Continuing Education program, but Spanish Over Coffee is simply the most effective way to learn Spanish in the shortest amount of time. " Andrea Cicero - Geologist
“As for the trip, it was just great thanks to Shoichiro, who spoke wonderful Spanish! You taught him not only Spanish language but also the way to connect with people, from which he could receive great joy. Thank you Gena!” - Mariko Naito, Ph.D.
Vocabulario de Halloween: Vocabulario para Halloween: Wand – Varita mágica; Witch – La bruja; Warlock – Brujo; Cape – la capa; Ghost – fantasma; Mummy – momia; Vampire – vampiro; Headless horseman – jinete sin cabeza; Zoombie - zoombie; Haunted house - casa de espantos; To scare - asustar; Tener medio de – to have fear of; Scary – da miedo; Costume – disfráz; To dress up in a costume - disfrazarse (Reflexive)
Estoy embarazada – I’m pregnant. ¿Cuándo vas a dar a luz? When are you due? Literally – when do you give light? ¿Cómo te fue en el parto? – How was the birth? Parto – delivery or birth.
Di a luz a mi hijo el 27 de septiembre. (I gave birth to my son the 27th of Sept.)
echar de menos
idiom: to miss; feel the absence of. (literally: to throw of less). Example: Puedes pasar una temporada corta en un país extranjero sin echar de menos tu comida o tú café favorito. – You can spend a short while in a foreign country without missing your own food or your favorite coffee.
Te echo de menos. (I miss you.)
dar lata / poner gorro
Idiom: DAR LATA = to be a nuisance; to annoy, to bug. (dar lata - literally translated: to give tin can)
Idiom: (poner gorro - literally translated: to put a cap or bonnet) Example: No me pongas gorro = Don’t bug me. Example: ¡Qué gorro! – What a nuisance!
My husband forward this to me. Although we don't teach children, i believe one of the best things you can as a parent is demonstrate to your kids how to live a bilingual life by taking on the practice of speaking Spanish and English in public. http://www.thedailybeast.com/…/why-it-s-smart-to-be-bilingu…