There is no need to worry about loss of academic continuity when going from one of our Spanish schools to the other one: our schools share the same curriculum and each students' file is shared between schools through our online system. You will also benefit from the discounted rates that comes from booking several weeks of lessons. And if you are wondering what type of Spanish is taught at our schools, or would like to know more about how Panamanian Spanish compares to Spanish spoken in other countries of Central and South America, click here...
The main objective of most of our Spanish courses is to improve your communication skills. This could sound obvious but in practice it can simply be forgotten because it is easier to teach through repetition and memorization, focusing on grammar rules and structure instead of aiming to fulfill the real purpose of language: communication. In most of the courses offered at our Spanish schools, the emphasis in each class is placed on the development of student's abilities to speak and understand spoken Spanish.
At Habla Ya Spanish Schools in Boquete and Bocas del Toro, Panama we employ several Spanish teaching methods for instruction that depend on your learning style and needs, but we mainly teach using the Communicative method with a task based focus. In this way we make sure that you learn to use the language as opposed to just "knowing" it.
We do not just want you to know Spanish, we want you to use it! Language is a practical skill you have to acquire, not just something you need to learn. That is why our teaching method focuses on the development of the 4 skills: speaking, listening, reading & writing.
When you start learning Spanish your ultimate goal is to understand and be understood. You want to be able to have a conversation, to understand and give explanations, to listen to the news and read a book or magazine. The key is that you have to acquire the language, not just learn it, because language more than being knowledge, is a skill. The best way to acquire a language is through the use of it, practicing it, talking and listening, and not through strict grammar studies and memorization. This is why a conversational approach is desired and the reason why classes should be entirely in Spanish, even if that means that it may be more difficult in the beginning.
When students start with basic and familiar conversation, they become comfortable in producing the new language. A very important aspect for conversing in the new language is speaker's confidence. The new speaker must learn to accept that he will make mistakes. Every single error does not need to be corrected, and the speaker should not be embarrassed as he tries. The most important thing is to deliver and understand the message: to communicate. If the message is delivered and received, the objective of communication has been met. After the student is able to communicate, many hours of practice as well as study will help the new speaker improve the way in which the message is delivered.
Habla Ya Spanish Schools are on the cutting edge when it comes to understanding and utilizing the newest & most effective techniques to teach Spanish as a foreign language. Instructors are able to recognize each student's learning abilities and meet their needs with precision.
At Habla Ya Spanish Schools we have six (6) different Spanish levels, from absolute beginners to complete fluency (just as a native). Each level is defined by the degree of proficiency in specific communicative skills: oral expression, listening comprehension, reading and writing skills.
- Level 1: Survival I, (A1, Elementary) - 60 hours of lessons
- Level 2: Survival II (A2, Beginner) - 60 hours of lessons
- Level 3: Conversational I (B1, Intermediate) - 60 hours of lessons
- Level 4: Conversational II (B2, Advanced) - 100 hours of lessons
- Level 5: Fluency I (C1, Proficient) - 100 hours of lessons
- Level 6: Fluency II (C2, Superior) - 400 hours of lessons
* 20 hours of lessons are equivalent to 1 week in our Group 4 Course or simply 20 hours of Private Lessons. In other words, each of our first three Spanish levels (A1, A2, B1) can be completed in an average of 3 weeks each. Our fourth and fifth levels (B2, C1) take an average of 5 weeks each, and our last level (C2) varies from student to student but the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages indicates that in average it takes 400 hours of Spanish language study.
Our level system and syllabus are built under the guidelines of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages which provides reliable and objective measures of linguistic ability and details the specific contents and skills that students should learn and acquire in each level.
All of our teachers hold university degrees and are amongst the most experienced in teaching Spanish in our region. They are very passionate about what they do and live teaching as a vocation. Several of them have been with us since we first opened our school and throughout the years have lived the changes in teaching methods.
We have seen our teachers in action before hiring them (through demo classes ) and all of them have taken our Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language Training Course. Monthly training sessions take place to keep them up to date with the latest teaching methodologies. To ensure optimal quality, weekly meetings are held to discuss about each student's progress, dificulties and strategies used to help them advance in their studies. Our Academic Director and most senior teachers will also perform routine classroom observations to monitor the rest of our teacher's performance.
One of our first Academic Directors imported her experience from Costa Rica and another of our first Academic Directors went to Spain, and studied how to teach Spanish as a foreign language at the prestigious CLIC IH, Sevilla.
Many Spanish schools will state that all of their staff is qualified and trained. We can prove it! Come meet the staff of our Spanish Department and read about them.
The communicative method belief is that it is important to not be restricted by a specific Spanish language textbook. Never feel that textbooks must be used from cover to cover. They should only be used as tool, as a starting-point. With a little inspiration and imagination, a Spanish language textbook can be manipulated and rendered for a more communicative purpose. Teachers must free themselves from it, rely more on their own command of language and professional expertise as to what linguistic items, skills, idioms, phrases, words, need to be drilled, exploited and extended.
Throughout your Spanish course you will receive all the Spanish study materials you need. These materials have been carefully prepared by our teachers following the guidelines of our methodology. We have an extensive bibliography at our center and we adapt those materials to each and one of our students. For each of our six Spanish levels we have designed our own complete textbooks that we continually improve mainly through research and our teacher's experiences in the classroom. The cost of these textbooks are included in our course's fees (as long as you sign up for 40 hours of lessons). If you wish to purchase a textbook of another level that you won't be taking at our school you can do so for only $15.
Before you start classes you will receive valuable information about learning strategies, tips for language learners, the grammatical and functional contents of each level, more info about our language methodology, a list of cultural and social activities offered at our Spanish Schools and information about ecotourism in Boquete and Bocas del Toro.
Once you start classes you will receive a chronogram detailing what you will be learning. A large part of the study material is presented in the form of practical activities and exercises through which you will learn to understand and speak Spanish almost without noticing. In class, we also make use of audio-visual materials. The largest part of the material is worked on in class, although you will be expected to do some homework and continue practicing your Spanish outside of the classroom.
Our language materials have a support function and are used as a tool. The quality of a class relies more on a teachers experience, training and on the time used to prepare the class.