Studying with Yanapuma

Learn Spanish with Yanapuma

From the beginning Yanapuma set out to create a professional Spanish school with the highest standards. While there are many Spanish schools in Ecuador, the vast majority pay little or no attention to teacher development and methodology. The result may be cheap classes, but we feel that in the end students will get what they pay for in terms of the quality of the Spanish tuition they receive.
We also have put in place a system for monitoring and evaluating student progress week by week. This is something that is unique among Spanish schools in Ecuador. This system combines with your lesson plan to produce a permanent record of your individualized Spanish course with Yanapuma. If you ever need a certificate, we can produce your record as evidence of your Spanish studies.
All of our teachers are certified in teaching Spanish as a foreign language, and nearly all attend or have attended university. However, we are not happy with the standard of preparation offered by the one organization in Ecuador that certifies Spanish teachers. For this reason we conduct ongoing training for our Spanish teachers, and are in the process of formalizing this training into a system to become the second organization in Ecuador approved to certify Spanish teachers.
Our teachers bring experience from their professional lives in other areas as well, including knowledge of the history, culture, traditions, politics and customs of Ecuador and Latin America. Through this experience, they have the talent and dedication for teaching Spanish in a manner that is both professional and engaging, sharing their experience and knowledge with the student.

Our methodology is based on the work of the Instituto Cervantes of Spain, as the foremost authority in the teaching of the Spanish language. Our text books and materials are developed using the latest methodological insights into second language learning, assuring our students of the very best in Spanish language tuition.
At the start of your first class your teacher will provide you with all the information that you need to get the most out of your classes. This will include two short questionnaires that explore your learning style and preferences so that class activities can be optimally oriented. Many of our teachers use laptops during class to take advantage of the wealth of online materials, news channels, etc that exist. We also encourage students to explore Quito’s and Cuenca’s many attractions with their teacher during classes as an addition to more formal in-class study.
The learning environment at Yanapuma is different from many schools. We strive to provide an optimal learning environment in a relaxed atmosphere to permit the student to learn Spanish at an optimal pace. We encourage students to feel at home and use our facilities as a comfortable base from which to explore Quito and Cuenca.
If you have any questions or would like more information about our school and Spanish classes or to discuss your particular requirements, please email us. You can also click on the links on the right to find out more about different aspects of our Spanish school and teaching methods.

Communicative Spanish Language Teaching

In developing our teaching methodology we have worked hard to get away from the old-fashioned grammar-based style of teaching, basing ourselves on «Communicative Language Teaching» methodology. You learn and practice the language through interaction with the teacher and other students in a dynamic and evolving class. This is a marked contrast to the grammar-based style in which the learner constructs a «structure» for the language largely abstracted from the reality of communication with other human beings. Thus at Yanapuma we seek to create a learning space that expands the traditional student-teacher relationship, linking the learning of Spanish to the personal, cultural, social, ecological, historical, political and global contexts within which Spanish speakers express their understanding of the world around them.
Our goal is to provide each student with the communication skills to interact comfortably with Spanish speakers in any country at the level they choose. Teachers attend to all aspects of the language – grammar, reading, writing, speaking and listening, in a communication-based method that encourages the student to develop a positive relationship to the language and culture in which they learn Spanish.
To achieve our goals we dedicate considerable resources to re-training our teachers, challenging them to go beyond what they may have learned before and develop new and more dynamic ways of interacting with their students.


1. The student should be seen holistically. This means taking into account his/her personality, social environment, age, motivation, gender, family background, sociocultural standing, personal expression, educational level, etc, as these affect his/her current situation and need or desire to learn Spanish.
2. The student has his/her own learning objectives defined by personal circumstances, for which he/she is studying Spanish.
3. The student has his/her own learning style. Regardless of whether this is a “correct” learning style, it is one the student has identified as the best way to learn.
4. The student participates consciously in the process of learning. Thus he/she is capable of reasoning about his/her strengths and weaknesses related to learning Spanish, and can provide insight for the teacher in this respect.
5. The student will always learn when the teaching method correctly relates what they already know with active stimulation to learn something new.
6. Grammar is not the central feature of language learning, but part of a wider spectrum of processes.
7. The central objective in learning Spanish or any language is not to think about grammar, but to communicate, realize actions and obtain the benefits of successful communication.
8. The active participation of the student in the process of learning Spanish is of primary importance. The teacher is a facilitator of this process and not the center of attention.
9. The four aspects of the language (reading, speaking, writing, and listening) unfold in parallel. The student may choose to emphasize one over the others, but this is only a matter of emphasis.
10. Communication is the active principle of language learning.
11. Vocabulary, readings, conversational themes, etc, will be adjusted in class to the particular necessities of the student
12. As language is a medium of expression, the student will learn to express him/herself within a certain social and cultural context in which words express the desired meaning and achieve a specific communication.
13. Learning of a language takes place within a framework of contact with a different culture and meaning context, and not only within a theoretical context. Thus the student learns within a nested set of activities that go beyond the classroom to workshops, activities, games, excursions, etc. Beyond the conventional classroom.
14. Each student is unique and different. Thus the methods with which we work are diverse and focused on particular needs, although they are all based on the same methodological framework.
15. The teacher takes material that the student presents from their personal life, experiences and preferences to create suitable programming of class activities.

Materials And Spanish Texts

Spanish instruction at Yanapuma Spanish School is based on modern theory and practice of communication methodology, an analysis and synthesis of diverse research-based, language teaching methodologies, given practical form by our teachers through methods and materials that we have developed collaboratively. These reflect both our commitment to excellence in Spanish instruction, and an understanding of the role of language learning in the wider context of learning about the social, cultural, ecological and historical reality of life in a latin country.
We use materials that are appropriate to both the European and US systems of education, in line with the Instituto Cervantes and Common European Framework of Reference for Language and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.
In accord with the recommendations of the Cervantes Institute, teaching is balanced between the areas of grammar, writing, reading, audio comprehension, and most importantly, conversation skills. Our focus is not only on learning Spanish from a textbook, but on learning based on real world experiences and Ecuadorian life and culture.
Methodology and teaching methods are an important area of development for Yanapuma, and we are always taking advantage of the latest research in order to adapt and improve our teaching system for the benefit of our students.

• Grammar: Our Spanish teaching is based on grammatical rules recommended by the Real Academy of the Spanish Language. We present in a simple and easy to understand manner, with clear examples, and follow up with daily exercises and homework for practice.
• Writing: Spanish writing practice includes written in-class short exercises, take home practice exercises, compositions, and dictations, all according to the level of the student.
• Reading: Our library and on-line materials offer the student reading practice in Spanish magazines, local newspapers, and books by Ecuadorian and world authors. Reading is assisted by the teacher, and after reading, the student will be asked to explain his or her understanding and opinions of the material.
• Audio: We offer equipment including a television, DVD player, cassette recorder, and CD player for practice in comprehension of spoken Spanish. We have a selection of movies and other videos on DVD, and varieties of Latin music for practice.
• Conversation: In each class period, after working with the themes introduced that day, students will have the opportunity to put into practice what they have learned through Spanish conversation with their teacher. Themes of conversation can be chosen by the student; generally conversations are spontaneous, relating to cultural, political, and social themes in Ecuador. We encourage conversation based on the student’s own experiences during their stay in Ecuador.

Spanish Tests . . .

Why don’t we recommend an online grammar test?
Some schools offer an online grammar test and some students think that such tests are one of the marks of a professional school. At Yanapuma we work hard to provide the best Spanish instruction using the most effective methodologies and methods. We understand that learning Spanish is much more than just mastering syntax and grammar; that language is central to communication, to personal expression, and carries the culture which it expresses. The process of learning to speak a new language is a complex process that goes way beyond learning the grammatical rules. So many students come to us saying that they have studied some Spanish and they can read Spanish and know the grammar, but they cannot actually say much of anything.
If you would like to take an online Spanish test there is one FREE test that we recommend. This will give you some idea of your current level. But please read the comments below on Spanish tests to learn why we do not generally recommend them.
The test we recommend and it is in our web pag is offered by the Instituto Cervantes of Spain. It takes about 20 minutes and adjusts itself to your level based on the answers that you give.

Here’s why we don’t offer an online grammar test:
• Any test must take into account all 4 aspects of the language – reading, speaking, writing, and listening. Thus, a short and purely grammatical test will never accurately reflect one’s true understanding of the language. Such tests are like a “pop quiz,” with little real value. A grammar test is the equivalent of a written driving test – passing it does not mean that you can actually drive a car.

• We believe that students should be evaluated by criteria that are relevant to them as individuals within the context of their own lives. This implies first understanding the student’s needs for learning the language, and on that basis defining the most appropriate form of testing their current knowledge as well as subsequent progress. At Yanapuma we take an integrated and holistic view of each student and their particular past experience and needs with reference to learning Spanish, as well as their learning goals. On this basis we can evaluate their progress during classes, rather than through an abstract and generalized category of knowledge of grammatical rules.

• Each student brings to a test their own cognitive structuring of their understanding of the language that may help or hinder their particular ability to complete the test. A student may have learned partly through direct experience rather than through formal language study, and thus possess understanding of the language that will not be evaluated properly by a test. Thus each test should be a unique reflection of the needs of the particular student who is learning the language rather than a universal and uni-dimensional test of grammatical ability.

• A short grammatical test of a student’s ability will reveal only a limited amount of information about their grammatical knowledge of the language. A student may know a great deal about the grammar when given time to think, but be hesitant to speak, or may not understand what is actually being said. Thus, a grammar test can only be at best a rough guide to a student’s actual ability, and only a rough guide to their level of grammatical knowledge too.

• As a student of a new language there are a range of relevant factors that will affect learning – verbal abilities, social interaction style, personal psychology, previous experience, learning potential, adaptation to new circumstances, etc. All these affect the learning process and need to be taken into account. A purely grammatical test will not give an accurate reflection of a student’s abilities and limitations.

• Evaluation is a continual process. It should not be limited to the beginning and end of classes, but be an ongoing process of mutual reflection by the teacher and the student as they work together towards a specified learning goal, and with ongoing adjustments as necessary.

• The teacher can assist, through experience and knowledge, in the choice of appropriate forms of testing a student’s advancing knowledge of the language. Our teachers communicate with each student at the start of classes to assess a much broader spectrum of language skills than is revealed in an online grammar test, and on that basis define and monitor a learning program that will achieve each student’s learning goals.

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