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Learning Spanish: The Affective Factor
The chief problem for most Americans who want to learn Spanish but who don't succeed is the Affective Factor. Plainly put, this means the emotional issues; that is, adults become freaked out at the thought. The fear of getting put on the spot and embarrassed is just too much to bear.
I've talked to plenty monolingual American and Canadian expats in Mexico who do not learn Spanish. They are, therefore, forced to live in the various Gringolandias because they are too fearful of learning Spanish. They self-perceive the problem as their "advanced years" or, as one cantankerous old coot put it, "I have too lousy of a disposition to learn Spanish."
Really, the fear of making a mistake is the issue here. If you attend a class, you are put on the spot when your turn comes to produce something verbally in the language. You've got to perform in front of others who may be really, really good in the language. This is too much for some folks. Adults tend to come to the private schools in Mexico where students at all manner of levels are mixed into the same class. You might be performing in front of someone who is advanced. You think to yourself that you are going to die of humiliation because you will have to speak Spanish in front of them. You sense they are bored, and they are�you are freaked!
So, what is one to do?
Prepare before signing up for a class at home or abroad.
One of the biggest hoaxes in foreign language instruction is that you have to come to the country where the language you want to learn is spoken. That expensive and time-consuming act is erroneously called "Immersion." It is not going to be true Immersion as Immersion is defined along linguistic terms. If you go to the country where the language you desire to learn is spoken, classes will most likely be taught the same way classes are taught in the States, only all in the host language.
You will not have the skill to ask a question even if you understand what is being taught.
Do your own preparation in the privacy of your own home until you have built up a level of confidence to produce the language in front of a teacher and fellow classmates.
Use the commercially available products on the market to acquire some of the language before you launch into a performance situation in a class in front of others!
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