What can Spanish for Seniors do for you?
How would you like to improve your memory? How would you like to forget less? Would you like to find more fulfillment in retirement? Learning Spanish may just be the thing that does the trick. The course and lessons on this site were designed and built specifically with seniors in mind and are based on brain science related to memory as well as learning science. Please see more below.
Why was the Course Created?
David S. Clark was the Director of the U.S. Institute of Language for 18 years. He will soon be 50 years old, and has a strong desire to learn languages in his retirement. He has developed a unique language-learning approach and he plans to create multiple “language for seniors” courses so he can keep his brain sharp in retirement (French for Seniors, Hebrew for Seniors, etc.). The system he developed is a “snap-together” method that one Ph.D. professor compared to language Legos®. Clark completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish in 1998 and a Master’s degree in language pedagogy (teaching) in 2018. During his Master’s studies, he went through courses such as curriculum development and design, brain science and studied all of the major language learning theories of the past and current centuries.
While acting as Director of the U.S. Institute of Languages, he designed four award-winning Spanish courses that were sold in over 130 countries around the world. Now, his primary goal is to help seniors learn Spanish in retirement.
How to study: Your Suggested Study Plan
Should you Cram when studying the Spanish Lessons?
Did cramming work in high school? You bet!…it helped you remember what you learned for your exam the next day…only to forget everything you learned weeks or months later. If you want to keep your brain sharp over time, forget the cramming – that’s not the goal here.
Remember the Main Goal: Keep Your Brain Sharp for Many Years to Come
The lessons are like “mental exercises” that help keep your brain fit. We recommended that you study 20-30 minutes a day between three and six days a week. We recommend giving your brain at least one day off a week to take a rest.
What do you need to keep in mind while studying the lessons?
The initial lessons are videos that help you learn the words. You only need to go through them once. Next you’ll go through a series of memory quizzes that review what you learn in the videos. DON’T STRESS OUT YET! These are simple quizzes and you can take them as many times as you’d like until you get the grade you want. Many of our students have even gone as far as calling the quizzes “fun.” It’s challenging to keep trying until you master them. There’s also a report card where you can see your progress. Lessons and concepts are repeated and reviewed strategically with you in mind and will help the Spanish to stick!
What if you run out of lessons? We are continually adding more lessons on a regular basis to give you satisfaction and strong brain benefits for years to come.
A Glimpse at what you will learn
Learn how to understand and communicate during a conversation.
Learn to greet people formally, find out how someone is doing, and acknowledge others.
Learn how to ask people’s names, introduce yourself and introduce others.
Learn essential vocabulary and skills for visiting or living in a Spanish-speaking country.
Is Brain Science Used in the Lessons?
Absolutely! Here’s a picture of our founder – David S. Clark at one of his brain science classes during his Master’s Degree. (Yes!…this is a REAL brain). During his Master’s and post-Master’s studies, David studied how the brain works with language learning, with memory, and with learning in general. All of these principles are applied in Spanish for Seniors.
What is the key to improvement in memory for Seniors?
According to neuroscientists, we have to learn a “new” skill or ability to improve our memory. If we do activities that reuse old skills or abilities, our memory doesn’t change. For example, if we read the newspaper, read a book, practice our profession or speak a language we already know, our memory doesn’t improve because our brain is simply replaying already mastered skills. We have to learn new skills. Neuroscientists have recommended learning a new language as an ideal activity to keep our brain and memory sharp because. As mentioned before, this is because you are learning a new skill. To learn more about how this works, there is a wonderful book that talks about brain science and memory called The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge.
How much can your memory be improved?
In the book referenced above, we learn how memory can be improved by 20 – 30 years. For example, if 80-year olds go through certain types of brain exercises, memory can improve to be like that of a 50 or 60-year old. Impressive right? While some individual results may vary, the lessons in this Spanish course are designed with multiple types of brain science in mind to help you learn, remember what you’ve learned, and help improve your memory.
I thought I was stuck with what I’ve got and my memory can’t be improved!
A renowned scientist named Michael Merzenich gave a Ted Talk in 2009 where he shared the scientific discovery that we can do something about memory in old age. We can deliberately do things to keep our brains sharp.
Would you like to learn more about the science of learning?
Be sure to go to Amazon.com and take a look at our book called: Spanish for Seniors: How to Keep Your Brain Sharp in Retirement.
What is the Science of Learning and How Will it Help Me Learn Spanish Better?
A good amount of scientific research has shown that specific strategies and techniques can help learning stick better and longer. Here are four key strategies that will help you learn Spanish better and make it “stick” longer. We believe that these findings are revolutionary and we apply them in the Spanish for Seniors course. Are you ready to hear briefly about these four strategies?
1. RETRIEVAL PRACTICE
2. SPACED REPETITION
- The Research: According to research, this strategy can help learning improve between 13% and 18%.
- What is it? These are activities that help learners deliberately recall what was taught. Each section has a series of quizzes that help learners remember the lessons by deliberately recalling what was taught. There is no stress involved as learners can take quizzes as many times as they’d like until they get the score they want.
- The Research: This strategy can improve learning by up to 17%.
- What is it? It involves doing retrieval practice spaced out strategically so the Spanish can be learned and remembered. This strategy was carefully designed, throughout the lessons on this website, with Seniors in mind. The lessons on this site take full advantage of spaced repetition.
- The Research: Interleaving can improve learning between 15% – 315%!
- What is it? During retrieval and spaced repetition, different concepts are mixed (from different sections of the course). For example, if a learner went through lessons on Greetings, then weather, there would be a quiz that combines both topics. This sounds very simple, but believe me, it is very powerful.
- The Research: Metacognition can improve learning by up to 7%
- What it is? Students become aware of what they’ve learned, what they haven’t, and make a plan for improvement. In other words, at strategic intervals during the course, learners are asked to stop and estimate how they are doing in previous sections they’ve gone through. Next, they notice areas they need to improve (by looking at their grades) and finally, they make an improvement plan.
To learn more about the research involved with the science of learning, take a look at Powerful Teaching by Patrice Bain and Pooja Agarwal. To learn more about how these strategies are utilized in our courses, go to Amazon.com and check out our book called: Spanish for Seniors: How to Keep Your Brain Sharp in Retirement
Thank you for joining us! As you can see, there is a lot of science, learning strategies, and thought put into this course. The lessons are designed to help give you better quality of life and help improve your memory. We hope it gives you satisfaction and quality of life for years to come!