MICHEL THOMAS ADVANCED SPANISH REVIEW

michel-thomas-spanish-advancedAn independent language course review by Sarah Maddocks

The Michel Thomas 5-hour Advanced Spanish language course is an audio-only course (strictly no pens, paper or books) which follows on from the 8-hour course. The course is for advanced students (the title of ‘Michel Thomas Advanced Spanish’ makes this slightly obvious) but also for people who want a refresher course in a language they have already learnt to quite a good level. It follows Michel Thomas through four CDs as he teaches two students, who have already completed the 8-hour course, how to improve their Spanish. The course is not divided into specific lessons, but it is divided into tracks so it is easy to pick up from where you left off (that is if you remember which track you got up to!).

It was very strange hearing Michel Thomas for the first time as I have not done any of his previous courses. For some reason I expected a very cheesy sounding Frenchman (the cover photo of him gave me this impression). Granted you do get a French-sounding man, but he isn’t at all cheesy and does remind you of one of your old teachers (in a good way).

Because of the no pens, no paper and no books technique, you find that surprisingly the information really stays in your head.

I loved his method of teaching and the way that the CD was organised. There were no ‘typical’ scenario introductions and no ‘typical’ Spanish music (in other words this is not a typical foreign language audio course). Michel (first name terms already!) uses two students and teaches us along with them. They make mistakes and I found that they often made the same mistakes as I did, so this was handy! Michel is quick to correct them and not in a patronising way, which you sometimes get with these kind of courses. Because of the no pens, no paper and no books technique, you find that surprisingly the information really stays in your head. I’m not sure if this is down to the pure driven determination of learning a new language or Michel’s method of repetition – whenever a new structure is introduced, it is repeated several times until you just seem to get the hang of it.

The course is very structure and grammar orientated and there is no real day-to-day vocabulary included. This is not the type of course you would do if you were just looking to freshen up on your holiday lingo and learn how to buy something in a shop. This course is designed for people who want to learn the whole language and not just to learn how to get by.

The CDs obviously get harder as the course progresses. Despite this, Michel Thomas keeps on repeating things and continues to correct the students until the sentence is perfect. I think that the course content is manageable for people who want to be advanced at Spanish and are at an intermediate level at the moment. The CD content is good as it covers topics that you would have already covered elsewhere (in the 8-hour Michel Thomas course or in other Spanish lessons) but still goes on to introduce a lot of new structures. Michel tends not to spend too much time on grammar points which would already have been covered at an intermediate level, but he spends time on the new information to make your Spanish fluent. I think this is an ace way of revising and consolidating what you already know and then from this base going on to learn new things. I personally didn’t get bored recapping some of the Spanish I was already familiar with, as it was taught in a way that I had not experienced before.

One thing I must mention is about the students! It is a man and a woman … you have no idea what their names are, which personally I think is great. I hate the courses where you meet the characters and are supposed to feel some sort of connection, for all we know “Crystal” could be a 87 year old granny rather than a 19 year old gap year student. Anyway getting back to the Michel Thomas Spanish course … the one thing I did find annoying with the students was their accents. The man’s accent was bearable, but I had a slight problem with the woman’s accent. She had a tendency to emphasise every single sound of the word, which sometimes seemed as though she was trying too hard to pronounce things.

Michel Thomas cracks little jokes throughout the course (well I say jokes, but they are more like humorous comments. For example, he says “they’re in their own club, they want to keep it that way” where he is talking about the go-go verbs. I think that if anyone else tried to get away with this humour, it just wouldn’t work. But for Michel, teamed with his accent and the fact I have a small soft spot for him, he manages to pull it off and actually got a small chuckle from me.

I have never done an audio course which I have enjoyed doing as much as this one. The teaching method is just fab and really makes you remember things. I would not hesitate in buying more of Michel Thomas’ language courses.

I have never done an audio course which I have enjoyed doing as much as this one. The teaching method is just fab and really makes you remember things. I would not hesitate in buying more of Michel Thomas’ language courses. He’s been teaching languages for over 50 years and he obviously knows what he is doing. He is even considerate enough to provide another extension to the course. This is his own Language Builder – I haven’t tried this one out yet but apparently it provides you with vocabulary and more grammar (if that’s even possible) and if it has Michel Thomas on the CD it cant be half bad!

to buy Michel Thomas Advanced Spanish [UK]>>
to buy Michel Thomas Advanced Spanish [USA]>>
to find out more about Michel Thomas language courses>>

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