Spanish and its different variants

Spanish and its different variants

In this globalized world, we see that differences persist in the Spanish language, not only in Latin American countries but also within the cradle of this language, Spain.

What are the challenges that ELE teachers face on a daily basis?

A group of experienced teachers from different parts of the world have come together to answer certain questions that arise when teaching Spanish as a foreign language.

Spanish and its different variants

Posted at 08 Mar in Articles by spanishmyworld 0 Comments
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In this globalized world, we see that differences persist in the Spanish language, not only in Latin American countries but also within the cradle of this language, Spain.

What are the challenges we ELE teachers face on a daily basis?

A group of experienced teachers from different parts of the world have come together to answer certain questions that arise when teaching Spanish as a foreign language.

Is there a preference for a certain type of Spanish to learn?
Siddhart is from New Delhi and teaches at a private school and a university. His opinion: In India, the differences in Spanish are not generally known, the Latin American culture goes almost unnoticed.

He believes that it is the teacher’s responsibility to teach the variants of Spanish.

Take advantage of the platforms that exist such as Netflix, Amazon Prime to recommend series in Spanish to students and it is a way for them to get to know different accents.

Ángela, from Bolivia, Professor of Spanish for foreigners, by the University of Salamanca: she tells her experience with her first students, Americans, in Cuzco. She taught with Spanish textbooks but complemented them with books on Peruvian culture. It is important to teach them the variant of Spanish where they are living,” she says, “students ask you what kind of Spanish they want to learn according to their needs.

Many students are unaware of the magnitude of the Spanish language: they talk about the Spanish of Spain or the Spanish of Latin America?

Diego, from Colombia. A Spanish teacher for foreigners, trained at the Universidad Pontificia Javeriana in Bogota, he works in the USA in a high school.

In his case, the Spanish he teaches has a Mexican influence, due to the proximity of the country.

In this time of globalization, he believes it is very important to teach the linguistic and cultural diversity of Spanish. In this way, these differences lead us to develop empathy and thus be able to live in community.

Raquel, Spanish teacher, Salamanca, Spain. In her case, she adapted to the demand of a group of students who wanted to learn in Peru, so she did not use you. For her, being a Spanish teacher in a school, where you have to follow a program and set objectives, is not the same as being a teacher of a group of young immersion students, where you have to adapt the contents to the students’ demands.

The teacher must be constantly learning.

Hebba, Spanish and Arabic teacher, Cairo- Egypt. The Spanish that is usually taught in her country is that of central Spain. Teaching the language through culture. Students’ interest in their country is related to the working world: customer service, technical support or as an opportunity to go abroad.

Abdul: From India, lives in Santiago de Compostela (Spain). He was a student of Spanish for 5 years. He is currently an English teacher and is doing a PhD in Spanish. Abdul tells us about his experience as a Spanish student. For him the reality was very hard, because after studying for 5 years “the Spanish of Madrid”, he traveled for university exchange to Bogota, where a totally different Spanish was spoken.

According to him, teachers are limited to teach through manuals, either by the program of the institution to which he belongs, or for lack of Latin American content. As for the literature and culture of these places, he also lacks information and exploitation of content.

As a student and teacher Abdul maintains that the ideal is: to analyze the needs and motivations of the student to learn Spanish in order to create a program according to their interests, as well as to teach the varieties that the Spanish language has…

Methodology of the Spanish teaching-learning process: Which one predominates and why?

Ángela: Her method consists of combining the 4 skills: oral and written expression, listening and reading comprehension, with culture. In this way, the student learns in a more real and dynamic way. It is an intercultural teaching: it is important to know the culture of the student, the communicative approach as intercultural.

Diego: The first thing we must do is to establish community: to approach with the similarities of cultures. Input-comprehensive methodology: acquire a second language in a natural way, taking into account cognitive processes. Expose students to different sources: auditory, visual, etc. with different accents.

Heba: working together the Spanish culture with the student’s culture (in this case, Egyptian), teaching the class with passion, creativity using technology, not in a traditional way.

Raquel: likes to work with real language, hand in hand with culture, teach the diversity of Spanish, with empathy. I use a communicative approach, adapted to interests: according to their context.

In the case of Shiddarth, also a university professor, he introduces topics of theater, roles. He says that there is very little training in this sense, and it would be very useful.

Diego contributes that Spanish teachers who are of other nationalities have an added value, as they need more motivation.

We concluded that we have to change the learning schemes: not to make grammar the scepter, but to use resources and materials so that this field is taught in a transversal way…

In Abdul’s case, his experience as a student shows us that the method used in the teaching of Spanish does not respond to the student’s needs; therefore, the student becomes frustrated, “adapts his learning” to the repetition of content, and does not have strategies or tools to carry out his own learning. Much of this responsibility falls on the teacher, who defines which teaching manual to use, which methodology to apply, and does so through a previous planning, which will be modified by the needs of the student throughout the teaching-learning process of Spanish as a foreign language.

Learning varies depending on culture/nationality.

As for young students, being in a globalized world, they are more open to more interactive classes, however there are certain nationalities that still prefer more guided classes with little interaction.

On the other hand, it depends on the age of the student and the reason for learning Spanish.

Spanish certificates: What are they and how valid are they?

DELE, this exam covers all variants of Spanish.

Designed according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), from level A1 to C2. This certification is valid internationally and for an indefinite period of time.

SIELE online Spanish evaluation and certification promoted by the Instituto Cervantes, the National Autonomous University of Mexico and the University of Salamanca. It also takes into account the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

It is usually required for young people and for adults, who need a quick accreditation for their admission to a university or the application for a new job. Certification for this exam lasts 5 years and is valid internationally.


In 2011 ACLES created CertAcles as a result of the need to unify criteria when accrediting levels of knowledge of different foreign languages, thus facilitating mobility between Spanish universities and their internationalization.

Its model of accreditation of proficiency exams has been recognized as valid for language proficiency exams by the Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities (CRUE) as well as by the European Confederation of Language Centers in Higher Education (CERCLES).


The AP is an exam that can be taken by high school students who are interested as a stepping stone to college, the certification is granted by the College Board. It is valid for the American education system.

IGSCE the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) in Spanish: Only valid for the UK education system.

The (I)GCSE is taken in years 10 and 11 (the Spanish equivalent of 3rd and 4th ESO).


The A-Levels are taken in years 12 and 13 (the Spanish equivalent of 1st and 2nd Bachillerato).

The exam taken in the first year is known as AS-Level and the exam taken in the second year as A2 Level.

Both exams are regulated by the assessment systems for schools: OCR, AQA, Edexcel or Cambridge International Examinations.

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