Learn How To Balance Composition and Comprehension Skills
There's a balancing act that goes on as you learn Spanish. -- It's a balance between skill level at composing sentences and at comprehending what you hear. And understanding this distinction leads to better Spanish skills. Read on to understand this better, and to learn ways to stay in balance.
Balance is Everywhere
Keeping things in proper balance is done a lot in our lives every day. For instance, we balance the amount of food we eat with our activity level to control our weight. And we have to balance what we spend with what we earn or we'll soon be deep in debt. In the same way, Spanish talking and listening skills are kept in balance to keep us from becoming lop-sided.
Balance Spanish Too!
As they learn Spanish, students often make comments like: "I'm better at understanding what I hear than I am at speaking the Spanish I want to speak. This comment is heard a lot, and it's a normal thing to report because it is harder to say something in Spanish than it is to listen to something. In other words, it takes more effort to compose a sentence in Spanish using the proper words, then say it using correct pronunciation... -- more effort than to hear something said in Spanish and recognize what it means.
So this difference in difficulty level means Spanish speaking versus listening is another aspect of your life to maintain in balance. Acknowledging as soon as possible that it's easier to listen to Spanish than speak it will help you to plan, and compensate, and keep a balance. -- And become great at both.
How to keep Spanish Balance
There's no question that adding more regular Spanish conversation to your days will help to balance your speaking and listening skills. While not absolutely necessary, many find that formal Spanish classes are a great way to get this practice.
Writing is similar to speaking in the way they both involve composing Spanish sentences from your thoughts. You might be able to substitute writing for speaking as you practice balancing your Spanish. Writing your thoughts in Spanish forces you to do the same sentence-composition work that speaking does. (Without the time-urgency that's present in a live conversation.) You are just working on spelling.
The idea is to get yourself to compose. To turn thoughts you have into Spanish sentences. When I was learning, I did this a lot in my mind for practice when I had idle time driving or waiting in line at the store.
Balance speaking with listening. -- Balance independent learning (self-study) with classroom instruction.
Writing will imporve your spelling. -- Speaking will improve your pronunciation.