Special concerns for Spanish Tutors
by Kaelyn South, 2001, and Cori Verrill, 2002

  1. The most common mistake is a disagreement in Subject/Verb agreement or adjective/noun agreement. Also with masculine and feminine words. Show them how to tell if the words are feminine or masculine. Concentrate heavily on these.

  2. Many have difficulties with Preterite/ Imperfect. When correcting these, attempt to explain them and the different uses. It's especially helpful, for me anyway, to draw a diagram and place the event on a timeline.

  3. Watch for subjunctive problems. When correcting these mistakes, as with all mistakes, explain WHY they're wrong and give examples. It's helpful to ask them what they think is wrong with it. This helps them understand.

  4. In upper level classes, organization becomes more important. It's helpful to go through the paper first looking for grammar/spelling/word choice mistakes and then go back through to look at organization.

  5. With a, de, en, etc. it's best to give several examples of when to use them and to explain which verbs go with what. (Ex tratar DE) 

  6. It's important to remember that these students usually struggle with the language. Patience and understanding are important and necessary.

  7. A great thing to do is introduce them to the language lab. Many people do not realize that we have a Spanish grammar and spell check. Encourage them to check their paper before they come into the writing center. The fewer small grammar mistakes we have to correct the more time we have to check more important and big picture errors.

  8. As students become more advanced, help them with varying their vocabulary. For example an upper level student should not be using mucho every time he/she wants to say many.

  9. If a student is struggling with simple grammar rules (masculine/feminine, preterite/imperfect) it helps to write the rule (or have them write the rule) on the top of their paper. They are much more likely to understand and remember it in the future.