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Problems for learners in a country of your choice In this article, I am going to talk about the problems for learners in spain. spain is a country renowned for its weather, beautiful beaches, friendly people and laid-back attitude. It is also one of the top destinations for Britons going on holiday thanks to its proximity to the UK and lower cost of living. But one of the difficulties for Britons, or in fact any other visitor ? be it for holidays or for living and working in spain ? is the apparent difficulty Spaniards seem to have when speaking English Compared to other Western European countries such as portugal, the netherlands, or germany, spain seems to lag behind them in terms of English language proficiency. This is particularly interesting as its neighbour, portugal, with a shared common history, similar culture and language, seems to exhibit greater prowess when it comes to speaking the language of Shakespeare. The problem lies, of course, not with the Spaniards themselves but with a number of reasons that impact their ability to learn and speak the English language with the ease of, say, the Dutch. To start with, Spanish is a language with only five vowel sounds, and the stress and intonation differ widely from those of English. This appears to restrict native Spanish speakers? ability to easily adopt English sounds. Also, Spaniards? access to English language material is very limited. spain is one of only a handful of ?dubbing? countries in Western Europe, the others being france, italy and germany. This means that almost all of their films and TV shows are dubbed into Spanish as opposed to having subtitles with the original soundtrack. While there is nothing wrong with this tradition, the problem that this represents for Spaniards willing to learn English is significant. They often struggle as they only ever get to hear English if they go out of their way by visiting cinemas showing original version, acquiring pay TV, or taking English courses, but these are all very limited environments. On the other hand, the Dutch receive lots of foreign content, even on national TV. Dutch children watch German and American TV programmes and, without realising it, they entertain themselves while simultaneously familiarising themselves with foreign languages from a very early age. In spain in mainstream education seems to reinforce a division between written and spoken English. There seems to be an overemphasis on reading, product writing and deductive grammar, at the expense of speaking, listening and lexical or frequent (idiomatic) lexical chunks. As a result, most students will have a declarative knowledge of the language systems, but find it difficult to cope with oral exchanges and pronunciation problems. This explains why students see English as an academic subject rather than as a system of communication, with the consequent depletion in their motivation. There might also be a lack of authentic materials to expose learners to "real English", "real people" and "real culture". The more affluent part of the population send their children to england or ireland to overcome this problem or enrol them on academies or the British Council which might go a long way to bridging this gap. Mainstream Spanish education also place a lot of emphasis on tests and rote learning, a tradition which dates back a long stretch and which permeates higher education and recruitment for the civil service. There seems to be room for more continuous assessment and teaching skills and strategies to cope with real life challenges, not just testing the syllabus. The British Council provides training to primary and secondary teachers on the communicative methodology and task-based learning through conferences, but I feel a lot more could be done, especially as regards outsourced training. Training seems to me to be the only way towards awareness of alternative methodologies and gradual innovation. It is well known that the best way to learn or improve a foreign language is by being immersed in the culture of the desired language, being able to practice it and hear it constantly and on a daily basis. The lessons learned in the classroom can thus be put into practice straight away, making learning the language a necessity, vital to interacting successfully with others, as well as relevant to daily situations.