What should I teach in my Spanish BEGINNERS’ classes? (A1)

One of the main queries that Spanish teachers have at the beginning of their careers, is how they should structure course content appropriately to match student ability and knowledge.

In my case, I keep track of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) which is a guideline used to describe achievements of learners of foreign languages. Moreover, it divides learners into three broad divisions (A, B and C) that can be further divided into six levels (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2). For each level, it describes what a learner should be able to do in reading, listening, speaking and writing.

In this post, I focus on the initial level A1, which I have divided in another 3 parts (A1.1 / A1.2 / A1.3) so that the information can be used in one large course or in 3 shorter courses. In either of these ways the Spanish student will have completed A1:

esquema MCEL

For better exposure, I have created 3 tables with some series of communicative, grammatical and lexical resources to implement in an initial Spanish learner. Before introducing the content, I want to highlight that I have taken as a guide “difusión” an editorial of ELE, the CEFR and my own experience.  Just to clarify, this is not the only way to teach Spanish. It’s just a guide, my guide.

In first place, I present the A1.1. This course has the peculiarity that it is addressed to students who do not have previous knowledge of Spanish, beyond “hola” or “amigo”. As I said, there is no wrong content but it is important that the content you present to your students is as useful as it can be. It is then much easier for students form a commitment and stay motivated.

Following the above notes, I introduce my proposal about what we should teach in A1.1:

cuadro A1.1.001

The below table puts forward the intermediate level within A1, which we have called A1.2

cuadro A1.1.002

Lastly, we have A1.3. Regarding this approach, once it is done, the level A1 is completed.

cuadro A1.1.003

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ELE – Online educational training

foto post ele.001If you’re considering developing new skills to improve your practice as a Spanish teacher, but do not have time to undertake classroom training, here are a number of suggestions regarding distance learning courses.

These educational opportunities allow you to continue with your academic training as a teacher of ELE, as you are able to choose a schedule that suits your needs and free time better.

There is a wide variety of online educational training: more or less number of hours, institution reputation, courses or master titles, etc. Therefore, it is important that you are clear about what kind of training you want and the specific purpose.

It is also important to know that there is no official certificate attesting teachers of Spanish as a second and foreign language, although the Cervantes Institute is currently working to offer a degree of Spanish teacher.

The only specialisation so far is the masters in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language, offered by different universities and other institutions. Therefore to work as a teacher in a private school, at a university or other institution, you must meet the requirements requested for that particular institution.


Universities which offer a master certificate in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language:



Institutions that offer training courses:


The Cervantes Institute is a public institution created by Spain in 1991 to universally promote the teaching, study and use of Spanish and contribute to the diffusion of Hispanic culture abroad. It is present in 87 institutions in 44 countries across the five continents.

What do I need to know about the courses offered by the Instituto Cervantes?

  • The program of courses for ELE teacher training is offered annually. In January they posted all courses on their website (dates, prices, type of courses, etc.) to be held during that calendar year.
  • If you are looking for the most suitable course for you, you must consider; purpose (start, deepen or lead) mode(classroom course, blended or online) and the date on which the course takes place.
  • In order to study these courses you need to be in possession of a degree, or undertaking the final year of university. In the case of participants of foreign nationalities whose mother tongue is not Spanish, the minimum level domain must be C1.
  • To apply for any of the Instituto Cervantes courses, you must complete the registration form and email it to the address infocfp@cervantes.es. You can receive a 10% discount fidelity if you take more than one course in the same year.
  • Online certificate courses have the same validity as the classroom courses.


It is a platform which works with leading universities and cultural institutions around the world, such as: University of Liverpool, University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, Lancaster University, Hanyang University, University of Leeds, University of Groningen, etc..

  • They offer a huge variety of courses with different topics. You also can find courses related to language learning.
  • All courses are free. You can access all the content without paying anything. Personally, I think it’s great to have free access to knowledge.
  • You can take these courses from your mobile, tablet or computer allowing you to plan your learning according to your lifestyle.
  • The courses allow you the opportunity to present and discuss your views with other participants and learn from the ideas of your peers.

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