El Bulletin of Advanced Spanish pasa revista a la situación de la lengua española en Reino Unido con Ignacio Peyró, director del Instituto Cervantes en Londres.
El pasado mes de junio el estudio anual sobre las lenguas extranjeras que publica Language Trends –con el apoyo del British Council – mostraba que, por primera vez en la historia, el español había superado al francés en el número de alumnos que habían realizado los exámenes de A-level. Un aumento de más del 5% frente al año anterior. Ese mismo informe apuntaba que si la tendencia seguía siendo la misma, en 2030 el español se convertiría en la lengua extranjera más popular en el Reino Unido. Unos meses más tarde, la Joint Council for Qualifications confirmaba la misma tendencia al mostrar que en el verano de 2020, el número de candidatos al examen de español fue de 8707 alumnos, frente a los 8263 de francés o los 2849 de alemán.
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Learning a new language expands your world.
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and opens up new doors, pathways and challenges
Because learning a language is more than just earning a certificate:
It is discovering how being understood makes you a part of things;
It is understanding how to reach the hearts of others.
Instituto Cervantes, 30 years dedicated to making Spanish
a greater, more universal language
connecting more and more people.
Now, all our experience, and our highly qualified teachers,
are available in our on-line courses.
Taking Spanish to every corner of the world
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William Frost is originally from Shrewsbury, but now he lives in Canterbury. He has moved around a lot as he teaches English as a foreign language; he spent two years teaching in Cologne, Germany. He also taught in London for some time where he came into contact with a lot of Spanish and Spanish speaking students.
He has done some independent journalism and video making mainly on the topic of Latin America and Iberia. Now he is training to become a secondary school teacher at Canterbury Christ Church University specialising in Spanish and French (Modern Foreign Languages). He is really enjoying this new challenge as it requires a lot of different skills.
– How did you become interested in learning Spanish?
Good question! I have always been interested in languages, but for a long time I knew almost no Spanish as I did not learn it at school or university. It soon became clear to me that if I wanted to have a career in languages then knowing at least some Spanish would be essential as it is such a widely spoken language in the world.
It was actually mainly through friends and ex-students that I had taught that got me into learning Spanish. I have found that if you make an effort to learn the language then native speakers will always encourage you, to help you progress.
– What do you like the most about Instituto Cervantes London?
I did used to go there to use the library which is fantastic; there is an brilliant selection of resources such as books, magazines, newspapers and films. The variety of books is great as you can find grammar and text books but also literature, history and art books. It caters to all tastes.
I also attend the conversation clubs. When I lived in London I used to go to the institute in person, but now I access them online. These are great sessions where we discuss a different topic each time, subjects like urbanism, global warming and climate change. The best thing about the sessions is that they are spaces where you can practice your speaking and listening skills in an unpressured environment. There are always native speakers conducting the sessions so if you are struggling with something they will help you out. Speaking is the skill I find most challenging so this benefits me a lot.
I have also attended some online cultural events such as a tribute to Mario Benedetti which as great as there were some live poetry readings in Spanish and English. I have a special interest in Uruguay so that one really caught my eye. The accent in that part of that world is a bit different so it was good to be able to listen to it. Uruguay is an amazing country and I hope to go back there when my Spanish is better!
– What do you like the most about learning the language?
What I like about learning Spanish is that you know that what you are learning is highly useful as so many countries in the world speak it as their mother tongue. This means that you have an insight into other parts of the world, especially Latin America. Also the sheer variety of different resources available means that whatever you are interested in you will be able to find something in Spanish. I have been watching some documentaries about South America on Netflix in Spanish recently which has helped a lot. I am also a fan of Pedro Almodóvar’s films so I enjoy watching them.
– Do you use Spanish in your daily life or do you plan to use it for your work?
I do use Spanish as part of my teacher training and I intend on using it a lot more when I qualify. Spanish is growing steadily in popularity at schools and this is reflected in the rise in pupils choosing to take it at both GCSE and A levels.
I also use it to read Spanish language newspapers online such as El País, which helps me keep up to date with what is going on.
– Why did you become interested in getting a certificate for Spanish language?
I became interested in doing the DELE certificate really because I wanted to know what my level was and what I needed to improve on. In that respect it was really useful. I also think it is really practical to have a clear goal in mind to focus your studies. That extra bit of pressure helps to structure what you are learning. It is also something more concrete to put on your CV or to talk about at interview.
I was lucky enough to visit the Cervantes Institute headquarters in Madrid last year were I saw some interesting exhibitions about Spanish in the world. It was there that I found out about the DELE exams. It is a fantastic place; if you get the chance to visit, I highly recommend it.
– How did you find the exam?
The exam was like all exams, a bit nerve wracking but completely worth it. You get a good sense of satisfaction once you find out you have passed! I had my speaking at the institute in central London and the other parts at the Cañada Blanch School in Kensington. Everything was seamlessly organised and ran smoothly. All of the staff at the Cervantes were very friendly and professional.
The certificate you get is the most elegant document I have ever seen. It was addressed to “Don William” which made it seem very official but I also it found hilarious!
– Do you plan to continue studying Spanish?
I definitely plan to continue studying Spanish, I think it is a wonderful language and I feel like it is the most useful language to be learning right now. Learning in a language is a marathon not a sprint so I am in it for the long haul. It took me ages to remember that piragüismo means canoeing and I recently learned that pencil sharpener is sacapuntas. And I still get a bit confused between ustedes and vosotros, but I’m getting there! You have to keep topping up and refreshing your knowledge as it’s so easy to forget vocabulary! I am also considering taking the DELE B2 or C1 exam next year. ¡Adelante!
The Cervantes Institute has been brilliant in helping me improve my Spanish. But I have also learned about Spanish culture and how the language is used all over the world. At the moment, as travelling is so challenging with the pandemic, all of the online events and resources have been fantastic.
El Instituto Cervantes de Londres ofrece a los profesores de español de todos los niveles la a posibilidad de seguir formándose con regularidad. En estos cursos de formación se actualizan conocimientos didácticos, metodológicos y lingüísticos. Asimismo, los futuros profesores de español pueden realizar estos cursos como preparación para su futura carrera profesional. Consulta todos los cursos disponibles en nuestra web.
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation all our 2021 Winter Courses will be taught online in a friendly and supportive environment using video conferencing and distance learning tools. Check all our courses here.
The DELE Spanish Diplomas are official qualifications certifying the degree of competence and mastery of Spanish, granted by Instituto Cervantes on behalf of Ministry of Education and Vocational Training of Spain and, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Unión and Cooperation of Spain.
The DELE examinations have been designed following the guidelines of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) of the Council of Europe.
*Please note that the oral and written exams may not take place on the same day
For more information, visit our website.
Se acerca el fin de las primeras clases en línea como consecuencia de la alerta sanitaria provocada por el coronavirus COVID-19 y desde el Instituto Cervantes en Londres nos gustaría agradecer a nuestros estudiantes y profesores el esfuerzo y compromiso mantenido desde que se suspendieran las clases de grupo presenciales el pasado 17 de marzo.
Más de 250 alumnos nos han dado su retroalimentación en una encuesta anónima sobre su experiencia aprendiendo español en línea, en la que la mayoría destacan que la calidad de la enseñanza del Instituto Cervantes de Londres: “Siempre es excelente y me sorprende lo duro que trabajan los profesores para garantizar que las clases se mantengan interesantes”.
El director del Instituto Cervantes de Londres, Ignacio Peyró, agradece la confianza depositada por los estudiantes y el esfuerzo llevado a cabo por los profesores: “Es un orgullo trabajar con este equipo y ser respondido con tan buena acogida. Ante una situación tan incierta, hemos intentado que los cambios de forma no repercutan en la calidad de la enseñanza”.
Han sido semanas de aprendizaje mutuo en las que los estudiantes del Instituto Cervantes han respondido con los brazos abiertos a nuestra propuesta en línea para seguir mejorando su español y su conocimiento. De hecho, otro de los estudiantes enfatiza que superó sus expectativas: “tanto la profesora al final del último trimestre, como el actual, han sido increíbles con la tecnología”.
Los profesores, en palabras del jefe de estudios, Pablo Martínez Gila, están «sorprendidos de la facilidad que han mostrado los estudiantes para adaptarse al nuevo contexto de aprendizaje y del esfuerzo enorme que están haciendo para mantener el mismo nivel de interacción en la clase y de trabajo autónomo en casa. Los resultados están siendo mucho mejor de lo que se podía esperar cuando empezamos a emplear herramientas virtuales de aprendizaje».
Por otro lado, el jefe de estudios destaca como un aspecto clave «el trabajo de formación colaborativa que ha habido entre los profesores del centro, que están permanentemente compartiendo experiencias y buenas prácticas de enseñanza de español en línea».
Por su parte, otro alumno destaca como le gusta mucho “el formato y la forma en que funciona el curso”. En su caso, tiene hijos pequeños y vive lejos de Londres, por lo que las clases en línea le permiten “trabajar a mi propio ritmo y cuando tengo tiempo” y apuesta porque se sigan ofreciendo estos cursos en línea.
“Estoy muy contento con las directrices del profesor, las plataformas en línea que utilizamos están funcionando muy bien para mí y todo está muy bien organizado. Estoy muy impresionado con lo rápido y lo bien que el Instituto Cervantes de Londres organizó los cursos en línea y cómo mi profesor prepara cada lección. Es brillante, gracias a todos”, añade otro.
Este curso de formación de profesores de español proporciona el desarrollo de la competencia digital y las estrategias necesarias para planificar y dinamizar tanto las clases en línea como presenciales.
Martes, del 9 de junio al 7 de julio, de 16.00 a 18.00 horas
Today we chat with one of our students, Joseph McGowan, who just passed DELE C2 exam and previously achieved DELE C1. Joseph has studied Spanish at Instituto Cervantes in London for a long time and he prepared himself for this exam with our teachers. He enjoys learning Spanish every week and travelling to the beautiful Catalonian town of Sitges.
¿Why did you decide to take DELE exam?
I decided to take the DELE exam, not out of any academic, professional or administrative necessity, but simply as a personal challenge. I wanted to learn Spanish, but I knew I had to have a deadline, otherwise I’d pootle along aimlessly. Procrastination is an art form I’ve mastered, so I needed some impetus to turn the desire to learn into a reality. Also, with years of unstructured learning of French under my belt, I knew that the vague target of «I want to speak a language» can be like trying to reach the end of the rainbow: you never quite get there; there’s always a bit further to go. The feeling you can speak a language successfully comes and goes like the weather, depending on mood, physical state, subject-matter, interlocutor, etc. So I wanted an objective and solid milestone by which to measure my progress.-
How was the preparation? What was the most difficult part for you?
Without doubt, the writing was the most difficult element. I was a terrible schoolboy, never did my homework, didn’t take any further exams after my GCSEs, so once again being faced with The Demon Blank Sheet of Paper waiting to be filled was not only an academic but also a psychological barrier to break through. Fortunately I had a fantastic teacher who was extremely patient and generous with her time and effort. She offered to be my sherpa to guide me up the mountain to the exam. And that mountain certainly did seem steep, and rocky. But once I got there, it was amazing to look back and see how far I’d come.
How did the DELE preparation classes at Instituto Cervantes London help you?
As you’ll have gathered, for me the classes were indispensable. Left to my own devices, I could never have passed the C1 and C2 exams. At an advanced level, even in their native tongue, I think someone would struggle to pass a CEFR language exam without preparation. You have to know the format of the exam; for the writing, there are models of text you may not be familiar with; and learning to manage the time in the exam is essential and, at least to me, did not come naturally. My teacher carefully planned each class so there was a progression, which stopped me spending too much time on one particular element at the expense of another. She was there to remind me that you only have to be good enough to pass the exam, there’s no point in trying to exceed the requirements. Of course, perfection is the enemy of good, but it’s sometimes hard to judge alone. In the moments when my determination wobbled and I thought, «Why am I putting myself through this?», I knew I couldn’t let her down and back out now, after we’d both invested so much time and effort.
Looking back, the fact I embarked upon this journey in my 40th year probably isn’t a coincidence. At a time of taking stock of one’s life, it’s not a bad way to live out a mid-life crisis! I am enormously grateful to all at Instituto Cervantes London who conspired to get me over the finish line (twice). The journey is not over, of course — I am now working on Spanish literature with my teacher — but I am very pleased, even proud, to have put those two important milestones behind me.
These are the upcoming exam sessions at Instituto Cervantes London: