What Is Spanish Language Immersion?
In general, language immersion is a method of learning a new language where an individual is completely immersed immediately. This method is incredibly effective because it is naturally how people learn their first language when they are young. When children are born, they learn by hearing repeated words and phrases, and they gradually make the appropriate associations with those words, while they continue building on their vocabulary. By encouraging the learning of a second language the same way children learn their first, they can easily grasp the language at a time when critical pathways are still being formed in their brains.
Commencing new language education with full immersion offers numerous benefits. A true Spanish immersion is being surrounded by only the Spanish language, therefore encouraging the child to pick up the language quickly. This method focuses on communication rather than memorization of translations or definitions, which is significant, because the knowledge people develop of a language is in its functionality rather than simply in theory. This may seem challenging, but for children it’s natural and they learn at a much faster pace. The best teacher for anything will always be experience, and Spanish immersion is a true experiential learning method.
Students find comfort in having an entire group of classmates who are in the exact same position as they are – having to speak in Spanish only. Children naturally have little inhibition and don’t worry about making mistakes and this welcoming environment allows students to help and learn from each other.
The welcoming classroom environment also means that new learners are encouraged to use and apply their new knowledge of Spanish immediately. In more traditional language learning, there is a period where beginners will understand the meaning of many words but not know how to form proper phrases and sentences. There is an emphasis on having to first learn every word and saving the training on how to use them in sentences until much later. This is a very unnatural way of learning, because people learn new words every day, even into adulthood. With Spanish immersion, however, students will be using rudimentary phrases and sentences immediately as they build their grammar and vocabulary. This sort of learning through association and experience isn’t just good for knowledge of a new language – it also helps to facilitate cognitive development as well as growth of overall learning abilities.
Learning a language in a group setting is also important because it gives the student a chance to learn Spanish from different perspectives instead of just one teacher, which also mimics the natural way of learning a language. Language in the outside world requires the ability to communicate with a variety of people, so it is beneficial to develop these skills from the beginning.
Spanish immersion is the most intensive and comprehensive way to learn Spanish because of its natural methods while, at the same time, its interactive method is one of the most fun ways to learn and communicate in a new language.
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