The beginning: the level test
At each language school there is a test on the first day to ensure you are graded at the correct level. Generally this is a written test, in some cases it is oral. At some schools, if there are no other students at the same level as you, group courses are reduced to a number of one-to-one (individual) lessons. Lessons are from Monday till Friday.
In general there are 4 levels on which you can start a course.
Beginner: You have never had lessons in the language of your choice.
Intermediate: You have already had a number of lessons before and know the first principles (pronunciation, introducing yourself, the present tense).
Advanced: You already speak the language and can help yourself in different situations.
Very advanced: You know (almost) all the grammar and you have an extended vocabulary.
We ask you to indicate one of these levels on the booking form. Nearly all the schools also offer sublevels. On the first day of school there is a test to ensure you are graded at the correct level.
If you attend a language course for more than 4 weeks, you will have a progress test after every 4 weeks. If you pass the test, you go on to the next level.
At the end of the course, every student (no matter what the length of the course) will receive a certificate of attendance. This will record the length of your course, the total number of lessons and your level of Spanish at the end of the course.
The communicative method
The aim of learning a language is of course to communicate. That is why you are stimulated and encouraged from the beginning to talk as much as possible in class. Grammar is always explained in a clear, practical context.
Learning a language however is more than learning just about grammar and vocabulary. The cultural consistency of a language is just as important since this indicates when it is correct to say something and when it is not and includes typical expressions etc. You will learn about this in class as well.
Lessons in the language you are learning
Classes are given by native-speakers in their own language. The enthusiastic teachers are specialised in teaching foreign speakers. They apply special education techniques so that you, even if you are an absolute beginner, will understand what they mean. You will notice that this developes learning much more quickly.