Why Learning Spanish is Like a Game

by David Brown, guest blogger, Spanish student

"Life is like a game of chess. Every move you make affects the rest"

That is a part of a poem that I wrote when I was fifteen, and have never forgotten it. When it comes to learning Spanish, it can be a like a game, and every move you make or step you take in the process, can help with the entire learning experience. (Yes, I'm a boomer and have oldies lyrics that come into my memory :)

Many people enjoy games of all kinds, and with the huge popularity of games and apps such as Words with Friends and others that we can play on our phones and devices, it's no surprise that games can also be an important part of the learning experience.

In the Level 1 and Level 2  Power Verbs Spanish class at the Warren Hardy Spanish School, we play games during the class. There are a number of three minute exercises where one person says something in Spanish or English and their study partner responds, then switches to repeat the exercise. These "language games" have been designed to make learning Spanish fun. Also the online learning program, WebTutor, includes all of the same content as the class, with games included that allow switching back and forth between English and Spanish.

However, the two - three hours of homework assigned for each three hours of class may not seem to be fun, as there is no study partner or teacher to keep you smiling. Yet the night when I was sitting at a table on the roof of a house in Los Frailes, with a panoramic view and distant thunderstorms approaching, I realized that doing Spanish homework can also be like a game.

When I thought of Spanish homework as a game, and started "playing" with the words and sentences, it was more of a change in my state of mind than any particular change in doing the exercises. Yet this was a shift in my feeling of "ugh homework" to "let's make this fun". When I checked my work with the answers, it wasn't as if I "won some and lost some" and lost the game if I got less than 46 out of 52, or whatever the numbers were.

In this game of Spanish study, you win when you are learning.

Then the distant thunderstorm was much closer. Rain started to come and I needed to stop playing this learning-Spanish-game. There was only one thing to do at that time.

I was all in.