Your Spanish Language Teacher: Is Native Speaker Better or Not?


With Spanish language courses, the teacher is the essential factor

There are many different Spanish courses available in the universe, ranging from traditional brick and mortar language schools to modern Spanish language online courses practicing innovative methods. In any case, the most important factor determining the quality of a Spanish language course is… the teacher. There are two types of Spanish language teachers:

  • Native Spanish speakers.
  • Non-native speakers, who have learned Spanish as a foreign language.

The benefits of learning Spanish from native speakers

The obvious advantage of native speakers as Spanish language teachers is that you can be sure they are really good at speaking Spanish. They will teach you the correct pronunciation and they will make you used to communicating with the natives. You probably know the difference between speaking to your classmate in a made-up exercise interview at a language course and asking for directions at a train station in Madrid. Yes, the second one is much harder. A native Spanish teacher can prepare you for such real-life situations much better.

Limitations of native Spanish teachers

However, learning Spanish from native speakers can also have disadvantages. As they have spoken Spanish since they were born, they haven’t experienced the process of learning Spanish as a foreign language themselves and may not have the best understanding of what makes learning Spanish difficult, which aspects of Spanish grammar are hard to non-natives, or what the common vocabulary traps are. Sometimes a well qualified non-native Spanish teacher can explain these issues much more effectively.

Can I have the strengths of both?

So it seems you can’t have the good part of both. Spanish classes with two different teachers at the same time are rare – and you can expect that even if you find one, it will be quite expensive. Fortunately, the internet offers solutions. In these days, there are various online Spanish courses which you can either directly attend online, or download to your computer and watch videos at home or listen to the mp3 lessons anywhere you go.

Online Spanish courses combining native and non-native teachers

Some of these online Spanish courses have multiple teachers recording the mp3s and videos – some of them are native Spanish speakers, and others are professional non-native experts. The most effective solution is when both native and non-native teachers interact with you at the same time in a lesson. One such course is provided by Rocket Languages, but with a little search you can find several other providers. Rocket Languages offer a free trial of their course, which you can order using the form below.