Conversation Confidence – a new course

Rob Ashby
The Spanish Obsessive

We’ve got a new course in the works: Conversation Confidence. We’re approaching things a little differently this time, and in this article you’ll find out what we’re doing and why, and get an opportunity to help us shape this course!

Why this course?

Last year we surveyed our users to find out some of their common struggles.

Of all the skills, speaking proved to be the hardest. Everyone found this to be the most difficult skill, except for the most advanced learners, and those who are just starting out:

Difficulty score of skills (1-5 – most difficult) across different levels

We think we can help. We’re developing a course called “Conversation Confidence”, designed to help learners from Elementary to Advanced achieve both fluency and accuracy in their speaking.

This brings some obvious challenges: can you really practise and develop “fluency”? How can a course actually help with this? Isn’t the obvious solution to just “go out and speak”?

Some of our core beliefs

We’ve taken a long time deciding whether we should build this course. In the end, we know it’s the right thing to do.

These are our philosophies underpinning the course:

You can develop fluency on your own

Of course, you need someone else for a conversation, but you can prepare, practise, and build fluency on your own. People without access to native speakers or with few practice opportunities shouldn’t give up on speaking Spanish.

Even if you do have a regular conversation partner, practising on your own complements your overall speaking development, and there are a lot of things you can do in isolation that you can’t do when speaking with a partner.

Fluency = Confidence + Knowledge

We can argue about what fluency really is, but we believe it comes from a combination of knowledge and confidence: knowledge of what you should say in any given moment, and the confidence to go out and perform.

Confidence is situational, and can be developed through preparation

You might be a generally confident person, but in unfamiliar circumstances that confidence level can drop. A major part of confidence is based on the situation in which you find yourself. When it comes to speaking Spanish, that means being familiar with and prepared for a wide range of situations.

We’re building our course based on these philosophies, as we think they really do make a difference to your fluency.

What is “Conversation Confidence”?

We’re still in the early stages, but here’s what we’re building:

8 modules, focusing on the most common areas of conversation

Some types of conversation are more common than others. We’ve singled out 8 topics that cover a wide area of conversation, including small talk, storytelling, expressing your opinion, and more. A lot of these areas are very formulaic: crack the formula, and you’re already one step ahead.

We’ll look at common interaction types, and provide conversation, analysis, and lots of practice. You’ll build both your knowledge and confidence – the keystones of fluency.

Mixed media

Almost all of our courses so far have been audio-based. We’re mixing things up a little with this course – we’ll be creating videos for every module, but also releasing as audio. Using video can bring so many benefits, but we love the convenience of audio.

Accountability and challenges

There’s no point taking a course if you’re not going to finish it. Likewise, a conversation course presents so many opportunities for practice, and can be a chance for people to push themselves out of their comfort zone.

We’re baking in challenges to the course. Each lesson will contain a challenge, and we want to see you complete them! That’s where the accountability comes in: you’ll be able to join a group to share your progress, encourage others, ask questions, and stay accountable.

A “Conversation Coach”

Speaking is a social activity. While we believe you can (and should) develop your speaking skills on your own, if you don’t have someone to speak to there’s really not much point.

As an add-on, this course will also be available with a conversation coach: a native Spanish speaker who will help you practise what you learn and help you get more out of the course. This will consist of a series of 1-1 lessons (over Skype, or similar), focused on each of the modules of the course.

You’ll be able to put into practice what you learn, and accelerate your progress even faster!

Help us shape this course!

If you think this course could help you, we want to hear from you!

We’re developing some of the first lessons right now, and are looking for feedback from a small group of testers. You’ll get early access to the course for free, in exchange for providing us with your feedback and suggestions to improve the course.

We’re limiting the number of testers, so if you are interested in being part of this please fill in the survey below:

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