What age would you say is too old to start learning Spanish? 30? 40? Surely no later than 50! Afterall, children learn things much more rapidly than more mature people so it goes without saying that when you’re very old, you no longer have the capacity to learn anything.
Youth does have its benefits
It’s true that children tend to be able to learn things quickly. This is to do with the way the brain develops. As you get older, and your brain becomes more fixed, learning can become harder. Also, children tend to be more confident, less self-critical and often just jump into things without overthinking them.
Lessons aren’t what they used to be
Something that can put older students at a disadvantage is the recollection of learning languages at school. Teaching techniques were different then but that is no consolation to people who simply feel that they have failed at foreign languages. Such people are likely to benefit from modern and varied teaching methods that really get students involved rather than copying down verb tables from the board.
Change the way you see yourself
Think about your self image and consider your own attitude to your age. Do you really believe that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”? If you are an actual dog, that argument might hold some water but the fact is older people are always learning new things. There is nothing unusual about a person retiring from work and embarking on a degree. There are, in fact, advantages to taking up a course of study when you’re older. You perhaps no longer have children to bring up, your financial commitments are reduced, and you have time on your hands. Why not make the most of it?
Maturity has its own rewards
While we’re on the subject of advantages, it is also worth remembering that adult brains tend to be better trained in problem solving thanks to a more developed long-term memory which in turn creates a stronger sense of motivation. The mature student, is motivated to learn Spanish not through force but through personal choice. Perhaps the student wants increased enjoyment of Spanish speaking countries or maybe a promotion at work depends on it. Whatever the reason, it is common for older learners to become better Spanish speakers than their younger counterparts.
As an adult, you also have an arsenal of learning skills that you have developed throughout your life even if you have not been on any formal courses of study.
Nothing ventured …
So if you have the desire, you’re never too old to start learning Spanish or anything for that matter. Just find the teaching and learning methods that work best for you. Do you learn best from books? Have you thought of an online course? Maybe the way to start is with a friendly group who will support you in your endeavours.
Whatever you do, start learning now!