Spanish

Spanish 1 and 2


We're very excited to be offering Spanish this year, and not just a beginners class, but an advanced class as well. Señor Baker has mapped out this two-year course based on sound international principles for language acquisition while keeping at the forefront any exam aspirations that your child may have, whether it be to take Spain's official exam, UK GCSE or IGCSEs, or the US CLEP tests for college-level proficiency.



Dreaming Spires Spanish
aims for real-world application



Dreaming Spires Spanish 2

Spanish 2 builds on the foundation established by those who have learnt Spanish in childhood according to the Charlotte Mason method, or those who have taken the beginners’ course: Spanish 1. The course is not designed to work towards a particular examination but to equip students to speak and understand Spanish in real life. This is based on the premise that language is not primarily an academic subject but a means of understanding and responding to all of life.


However, those who complete the course, carrying out the weekly study activities, should be capable of sitting Spain’s official language proficiency test DELE at level A2, or to take the Spanish GCSE or IGCSE exams in the UK. Some specific preparation may be required before sitting particular exams, but the general proficiency level will be that of Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Languages level A2 and equivalent.

In keeping with the principles of the Charlotte Mason method for the acquisition of languages there will be a focus on the spoken language, on proper pronunciation, on vocabulary building and on the construction of sentences, paying particular attention to the verbal element of the sentence.
By the end of the year, students who have undertaken the activities entailed in the course should be able to communicate effectively with confidence in ordinary situations in a Spanish-speaking country, to access all the information they need and to communicate their needs to others. 


Pre-course evaluation

Spanish 2 will be available subject to a pre-course proficiency evaluation which will look for:
  • Evidence of a reasonably broad basic vocabulary including at least 400-500 essential words; 
  • The ability to manipulate most verbs in the present tense consistently, including reflexive verbs, and the ability to recognise and understand a range of other verbal forms; 
  • A broadly correct pronunciation of the language with evidence of a full knowledge of the phonemes albeit perhaps with imperfect or inconsistent pronunciation of some sounds; 
  • A knowledge of the main rules of gender and number agreement in nouns, adjectives and articles; 
  • The ability to understand and manipulate common forms and uses of possessives, demonstratives, numerals, personal pronouns, interrogatives, negatives and common prepositions, conjunctions and adverbs; 
  • The ability to grasp the gist (or main point) of a range of written materials thanks to the above understanding and vocabulary; 
  • The ability to get basic, useful information through speaking and listening and to hold a conversation, contributing on certain topics such as family, studies, interests, etc. 

The Dreaming Spires Spanish 2 Course aims to instil the following in students:
  1. The habit and skills of studying a foreign language independently, including a range of drills to improve fluency, reading and listening for gist and details, observing and analysing language use in texts and audio texts, synthesising immersion in everyday life, the use of dictionaries, grammars and other reference tools… 
  2. A vocabulary of approximately 2000 words including all the most essential words for communication and a good number of words relevant to everyday topics such as the body, health, food, the natural world, sport, to name a few. 
  3. The ability to hold a conversation with some fluency (without much difficulty) within limited areas of the language and (perhaps haltingly) to discuss more complicated and unfamiliar issues as well. 
  4. The ability to watch films and television programmes in the language (produced for a native-speaker audience) with subtitles in the same language and understand the thrust of the production. 
  5. The ability to function as a tourist in a country where the language is spoken without the need to use English: to access hospitality, transport, food, medical help, entertainment and events. 
  6. Consistently accurate pronunciation, with natural rhythm, cadence, accent and elision. 
  7. The ability to express ideas in the past and future: to use and understand the two most useful past tenses and the future tense, albeit perhaps with some errors in choosing the appropriate past tense. 
  8. A knowledge of the uses of the infinitive and gerund, e.g. continuous tenses, nominalization of verbs... 
  9. A knowledge of the main uses of prepositions, including por and para, and common verb- preposition combinations such as, pensar en, acabar de, empezar por, etc. 
  10. An extensive knowledge of common conjunctive and adverbial words and phrases that can be used without recourse to the subjunctive. 
  11. A knowledge of all the personal pronouns, lo, lo que, impersonal se, passive se, ello and relative pronouns such as que, del cual, a quienes… The ability to use most of these correctly more often than not. 
  12. A stock of common idiomatic language, including the idiosyncratic language needed for telling the time, describing the weather, etc. and interjections, fillers, tag questions, greetings, etc. 
By the end of this one-year course students should have the level of understanding and skill necessary to take the A2 (CEFR) exams, IGCSE or GCSE higher papers, albeit some exam preparation may be required to become familiar with the format and what the examiners are looking for.

A short cramming/exam prep course could be run for those who wish to take public examinations in the language.


Dreaming Spires Spanish 1

This course, intended for students who are at least 12 years old, is for the benefit of total beginners and anyone who would not be able to meet the pre-course proficiency requirements of Spanish 2. Its primary purpose is to lay the foundations of the Spanish language and the art of learning Spanish. It is a beginning. By the end of the one-year course, students ought to have become relatively independent learners of Spanish, able to access a wide range of resources to improve their Spanish and to ask the right questions to maximise their learning potential. It is hoped that by the end of the year students will have established fixed habits of study and practice that will lead in time to mastery of the language. It is also hoped that students will be able to converse in the language on a few useful topics (such as family, home, studies and interests).

The course is designed for home educated children and teens with a focus on the real-life use of a real language as well as on inspiring and empowering independent learning. The course is not designed to work towards a particular examination but to equip students to speak and understand Spanish. Charlotte Mason wrote that languages are to be spoken and this is the premise on which the Dreaming Spires Spanish courses are based: a language is not primarily an academic subject but a means of understanding and responding to all of life.


NOTE: Please be aware that the Spanish being taught is classic European Spanish, which if you're in the US, will no way disadvantage your student's studies or attainments for high school credits or CLEP aspirations.


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