Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own, and I did not receive any compensation for this review.
When the COVID-19 lockdown started, people began looking for ways to pass the time, as many of us cannot go to school or work. Some people decided to look for ways to “glow up” during quarantine and fitness bloggers on Youtube became the latest sensation – the biggest of them being Chloe Ting, as the #ChloeTingChallenge trended worldwide on social media.
I decided to go on a different route. OK, not that I needed to lose weight and inches, and I for sure needed the glow up. That will come later during the quarantine, but my ultimate goal was to level up my language learning. That’s why I came up with a language learning plan during this period.
I initially wrote that I will work on the Language Transfer Complete Spanish course, but a couple of weeks after this decision, I found out about El Metodo by Peter Hanley on Udemy. My company has a corporate Udemy account, and we can take many courses for free. I saw this one, and out of curiosity, I tried a few lessons. I felt it was like Language Transfer but slower, and I ended up loving it, so I decided to pause LT and study with El Metodo for the time being.
Don’t get me wrong; I think very highly of Language Transfer, and I even signed up to be a supporter on Patreon. I will get back to Language Transfer when I finish El Metodo Beginners level 3-4 and Intermediate 1.
What I loved about El Metodo
Each El Metodo lesson begins with a few new vocabulary words, plus a short review of past lessons. The student is expected to either repeat what the instructor is saying, or formulate an answer in Spanish. At the end of each course, there is a short exercise of the topic/s discussed in the lesson. Starting level 2, there are also time trials after every 2 lessons.
1. Perfect for Spanish beginners
I feel that this course is better for complete beginners, compared to Language Transfer. LT is like learning Spanish on steroids, which can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your experience with autodidactic language learning.
If you are used to the speed of LT, then you might feel that El Metodo could be a little boring.
Every main lesson is 10 to 12 minutes in length, so you do not feel overwhelmed. I believe that this is doable for any busy language learner.
2. More practice sentences
El Metodo progresses slower, and devotes a lot of time to going back to previous lessons. Nearly all lessons begin with a short review of past lessons. Because guys, repetition is the mother of mastery. Or something like that.
The learner also gets more practice sentences for every new concept taught.
3. Learning by video
Because the lesson is on the Udemy platform, you learn via video, and this is particularly helpful because you can see and read the words, including accented letters. You will not get this on an audio-only course like LT.
4. Native speaker
Another good point about El Metodo is that you can actually hear a native speaker (Jessica), so you can imitate the pronunciation. You are encouraged to speak aloud, imitating the pronunciation as best as you can.
The course is done mainly in the Spain Spanish accent, but also touches on some differences between Spain Spanish and Latin American Spanish in terms of vocabulary and pronunciation. I do not mind this at all, but I am aware that many learners prefer one form of Spanish over the other, and this is something to keep in mind when you do decide to learn with El Metodo.
5. Engaging Facebook group
I enjoy being part of the El Metodo Facebook group. It is quite an active and engaging group. Peter regularly posts mini-challenges like this one below, and everyone is free to post their answers. If you have questions, suggestions, resources to share, whatever, you are also free to post them. All posts are moderated and will only appear in the group feed once approved by the admin/moderator.
El Metodo is also on Youtube and Instagram, but I haven’t checked out the latter. The Youtube account is less active than the Facebook one. I hope they will continue to make more of Jessica’s vlogs as I find them very fun to watch.
6. The theme music!
Peter shared this video of the entire song for the course! It is so soothing. Whilst listening to it, I even felt like I was already fluent in Spanish. Boinks! Do listen to it, and if you were already alive in the 90s, you might even hear something like a Nokia ringtone. 🙂
I like the time trial music as well; it feels like some 80s jam.
7. Time trials
Initially, I did not like doing the time trial. It makes me nervous! Not gonna lie, in level 1, I only did the very last time trial. Rebel! But in level 2, there are time trials for every second lesson, and I managed to do every single one. Progress!
This helps with the “thinking on your feet” part. There is a lot of repetition within the lessons, that you quickly build automaticity in the language, despite being at the beginner level. This is a big plus for me, that is why I highly encourage you to do the time trial, no matter how difficult it is. You are slow at the start – feel free to pause the video while you compose your answer. Little by little, you will gain confidence as you go through the lessons, and like me, you will no longer have to pause anything by the time you are at level 2.
What I do not like about El Metodo
1. “Unscramble the words” exercises
As in many language courses, I do not enjoy exercises where you unscramble words to form a correct sentence. This is a personal thing, though. I know that it may be useful for other learners.
Many people may enjoy songs when learning languages, but I am not one of them. The songs at the end of a few beginner lessons might be weird to some, myself included. But I do get its usefulness in retaining things. Even after finishing level 2, I still cannot forget “Me pone una Coca-cola, por favor” in level 1 lesson 1! I still sing it in my head! So to be clear, I did not like them, but I admit they are useful!
As some users have noticed, there are typos in some lessons, like the below. I don’t know how often they are edited; but in case you do have clarifications, you are free to post them in the Facebook group, as I have done. The upside is that, the lessons are so effective that I can even spot a mistake instead of taking this as canon!
4. Limited vocabulary
El Metodo teaches you vocabulary in context, and does not give you a list of words to memorize for every lesson. That said, it will not give you heaps of new vocabulary every single lesson, so you need a supplement. For this, I use the Memrise Spanish course, which currently has 7 study levels.
Final notes on El Metodo
I read somewhere that Language Transfer is an updated version of Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish, just like the Michel Thomas and Paul Noble courses. I did take a peek into the Magic Key book on Amazon, and it does look the same. But I prefer studying with audio prompts like they do in Language Transfer and El Metodo. It works better for me that way.
I plan to continue studying with El Metodo until I finish all the published courses (as of this writing, the latest course published is Intermediate 2, available on Udemy and Skillshare). Then I will jump back to Language Transfer, Assimil and Glossika (Spanish Spain).
I feel that I have progressed quite a lot since starting in April. I don’t think that two months of daily Duolingo would enable me to say something like “Tengo que levantarme pronto porque voy a estar muy ocupada hoy“. Even on level 2, I already learned simple imperative sentences that I probably would not have learned until much later in a normal Spanish course or app.
On most days, I can do only one lesson, as I am almost always busy with work. But I make sure that those 10 minutes I spend with El Metodo is a focused 10 minutes, without any distraction. I write down a lot of lesson notes in my Spanish notebook, as this helps me when I revise on my own offline.
If you have managed to get this far in my review, you can say that the things I do not like about El Metodo are not really deal breakers. And I agree. I only have very minor complaints about the course in general, and the things I do not like may be positive points for some people.
So if you are serious about starting Spanish, I wholeheartedly recommend Peter Hanley’s El Metodo!