Spanish school methodology at Academia Tica

Our method emphasizes function and use versus rules and theory, but this doesn’t mean that grammar is ignored. Also, the program includes real world tasks for using Spanish in real life situations when your teachers take the out or seeking opportunities for learners to use the language beyond the classroom, for example in our cultural activity program. This is both a challenge and a fun activity, which summarizes our take on Spanish teaching: “fun classes, serious learning”.

Academia Tica uses the total immersion method and all classes are conducted in Spanish only. Our teaching method is interactive, communicative, intercultural and learner-centered. Lessons will work towards covering topics in the four broad language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Group courses are conducted in classes of a maximum of 6 students. The average per class is 3 students only. One lesson is 50 minutes.

Our levels

Course levels and programs are defined in compliance with the Common European Framework through the “Curricular Plan” of Instituto Cervantes. Therefore, we have divided our system in the six languages specified in the Framework: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2.

This is what each level will allow you to achieve:

  • A1: Breakthrough or beginner: talking about personal everyday life in a simple way and interact in simple coversation when the person talking does it slowly. You can understand and use everyday expressions and basic phrases in your communication. Good enough to get around easily.
  • A2: Waystage or elementary: you can talk about your background, immediate environment and needs, about topics such as life, family, shopping, the environment, work, etc. This is a student that can communicate more while traveling.
  • B1: Threshold or intermediate: you are able to deal with most situations while traveling and talk about experiences, dreams, hopes, ambitions, opinions, plans, etc. You are now able to talk about many topics with some fluency and confidence, at this level, you are getting into the more complicated and interesting topics about the language.
  • B2: Vantage or upper intermediate: can understand complex texts including of technical, concrete and abstract topics. You can interact with fluency and spontaneity, and give detailed descriptions on a wide variety of topics. You can talk with native speakers with ease about a lot of things. This level is usually required for professional purposes or for getting into a Spanish-speaking university.
  • C1: Effective operational proficiency or advanced: you can produce clear and detailed text on complex subjects, talking about social, academic and professional purposes. You can be fluent and flexible enough to avoid searching for the right expressions and use a wide variety of structures, connectors and cohesive language devices in longer, more demanding communication. This level is truly advanced and completing it will allow you to work and study in more demanding professional and academic environments and is also usually a requirement to do so.
  • C2: Mastery or proficiency: you can understand basically everything! Your expression is spontaneous, very fluent and especially precise. You can understand different nuances of the language and hidden meaning even in very complex situations. At this level you can speak and understand like a native (let’s be honest… you probably speak much more correctly than a lot of natives 🙂 ). Usually this level is for those interested in deep study of the Spanish language, literature, linguistics and other specialized fields.

Progressing through our levels

This is the time we expect you to study to achieve each level:

  • A1: 5 weeks (100 lessons)
  • A2: 5 weeks (100 lessons)
  • B1: 6 weeks (120 lessons)
  • B2: 8 weeks (160 lessons)
  • C1: 8 weeks (160 lessons)
  • C2: 9 weeks (180 lessons)

Please note that these numbers are standard but variations can ocurr taking into account if you are studying at a more intensive pace, taking only private lessons but also your personal learning skills and background.

Books and materials

We use a standard book method from a recognized editorial in our courses that strictly follows the Instituto Cervantes’ Curricular Plan and is a carefully structured system for learning the Spanish language and is among the best we’ve found for it.

Each book contains a CD with audio material plus a wide variety of extra materials such as videos, evaluations, excercises, worksheets and many other resources which students can use from the computers available for student use.

In addition to our own working materials we also use local newspapers, magazines from Central America, songs, videos about the Latin American reality, illustrations, maps, textbooks and many other materials which are especially prepared for use in Academia Tica.

Evaluating progress

On the first morning of each course you will have a short written and oral test to evaluate your level of Spanish. Following the test you will be assigned to the course level that fits best to both your writing and oral skills. You can also take an online Spanish test to know which level you’re at and tell us upon booking.

Courses have different ways of evaluating your progress:

  • Weekly student autoevaluation.
  • Sumative learning evaluations: short tests at the end of certain book units.
  • Formative learning evaluations: qualitative evaluation from the teacher based on daily tasks which are part of the regular course dynamic.
  • End of level evaluation: we will have a “mini” DELE exam when you complete each level.

More Information

Each level includes grammatical structures of the Spanish language and presentation and discussion of details and special characteristics of life and society. Technical Spanish and Composition exercises are available too. Levels C1 and C2 include writing exercises, Technical Spanish, contemporary Latin American literature, Latin American tradition and folklore, Latin American political and social issues.

We also visit places related to the topics and invite experts to give lectures. Discussion themes are presented in sections and include a variety of listening exercises. Some examples from the catalog topics:

  • National Parks of Costa Rica
  • Ecological problems of Costa Rica
  • Contemporary Latin American Literature
  • Costa Rican Educational System
  • Situation of Indigenous Minorities in Latin America
  • Costa Rican Traditions
  • Political Parties and Elections in Costa Rica.