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Spanish Course Outline

The Cactus Course Outlines provide a learning framework for the Cactus Foreign Language Evening Courses. They are designed to provide you with a good idea of what you might cover over a 10-week period, and include typical themes, grammar and vocabulary fields. They are flexible rather than prescriptive, in that our teachers may decide to adapt their learning plans to the specific level, aims and interests of their classes. Use the tabs below to view the relevant Spanish course outline for your level. If you want to cover the same course outline in a shorter period of time, we also offer One-Week Online Courses and 5-week Courses.

Beginner 1

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Greetings and introductions
  • The alphabet
  • Personal information: name, address, telephone number, email address, age, marital status
  • Countries and nationalities
  • Professions.
  • Numbers 0-100
  • The family
  • Describing people
  • Colours
  • Formal and informal ways of addressing people
Grammar
  • Number and gender
  • Articles: definite and indefinite
  • Demonstrative pronouns
  • Personal pronouns
  • Interrogative pronouns
  • Noun-adjective agreement
  • Present tense of basic verbs like ser, estar, trabajar, vivir, tener, llevar
  • Quantifiers: muy, bastante
Cultural Content
  • The differences in the use of tú/usted and vosotros/ustedes between Spain and Latin American countries.
  • Cultural differences when meeting people.
  • Spanish language in the world.
Skills Work
  • Lots of speaking
  • Lots of listening
  • Lots of pronunciation

Beginner 2

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Common everyday objects
  • Shopping
  • Numbers from 100
  • In the town
  • The house and furniture
  • Leisure activities and sports
  • Likes and dislikes
  • Public places in a town
  • The time
  • Days and months
  • Seasons and the weather
Grammar
  • Indefinite articles
  • Demonstrative pronouns and articles
  • Question words (¿cuál?, ¿qué?, cuántos?, ¿dónde?, ¿cómo?, ¿por qué?)
  • Some uses of ser and estar
  • Hay (there is / there are)
  • Verb gustar
  • Quantifiers: mucho/a/os/as, bastante/s, poco/a/os/as
  • Prepositions
  • Muy – mucho
  • Llueve and nieva: present tense of the verbs to rain and to snow.
Cultural Content
  • Housing in Spain
  • Latin-American music
  • Public places in Spain, opening times.
  • Geography in Latin-America
Skills Work
  • Lots of speaking
  • Lots of listening
  • Lots of pronunciation

Beginner 3

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Daily routine and weekend activities
  • Internet
  • Leisure activities and sports (2)
  • Professions
  • Transport
  • Giving opinions
  • Describing what you did yesterday
Grammar
  • Present tense of regular and irregular verbs
  • Reflexive pronouns
  • Frequency adverbs
  • Quantifiers: mucho, bastante, poco
  • Question words: ¿cómo?
  • Prepositions: de…a, desde…hasta, en, a, por
  • Differences between saber and conocer (to know)
  • Agreeing and disagreeing (también, tampoco, sí, no)
  • Verb creer to give opinions
  • Ser + bueno/malo
  • Introduction to the past tense: preterito indefinido, regular and some irregular verbs (hacer,venir, ser, ir, estar)
Cultural Content
  • Travelling around Perú
  • Spanish television habits
  • Famous Latin-American people
Skills Work
  • Lots of speaking
  • Lots of listening
  • Lots of pronunciation

Elementary 1

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Expressing desire and needs.
  • Plans and intentions.
  • Health and feelings.
  • Giving advice and suggestions.
  • Body parts & remedies.
  • Going shopping.
  • Ordering food and drinks in a restaurant.
  • Talking about what you have done.
  • Excuses and apologies.
  • Talking about personal experiences and opinions.
Grammar
  • I want / I would like + infinitive (Quiero / me gustaría + infinitivo)
  • Have to + infinitive (Tener que + infinitivo)
  • Need to + infinitive (Necesitar + infinitivo)
  • Going to + infinitive (Ir a + infinitivo)
  • Verb doler –form and syntax.
  • Regular and irregular verbs in the present.
  • Present perfect.
  • Regular and irregular participles.
  • Quantifiers: muy, mucho, etc.
Cultural Content
  • La siesta in Spain.
  • Spanish food.
  • Montevideo, Uruguay.
  • Spanish music: El Flamenco.
Skills Work
  • Listening and responding.
  • Reading for comprehension.
  • Speaking activities to encourage interaction in class.
  • Writing assignments as homework.
  • Games to build vocabulary.

Elementary 2

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Shopping for clothes.
  • Describing what people are doing.
  • Offering food and drinks.
  • Days of the week.
  • Months of the year.
  • Talking about past holidays.
  • Describing the life of somebody (Biography).
  • Requesting permission and favours.
Grammar
  • Comparison.
  • Direct Object pronouns (lo, la, los, las)
  • Verb ’estar’ + gerund (present continuous).
  • Uses of verbs ‘ser’ and ‘estar’.
  • ‘Para’ + personal pronoun.
  • Past simple of regular and irregular verbs.
  • Prepositions ‘de’ and ‘en’
  • Verb ‘poder’ + infinitve
  • The affirmative imperative
  • Imperative + OD / OI pronouns.
Cultural content
  • El día de los muertos en México.
  • Las islas Galápagos.
  • Simón Bolívar el Libertador.
  • La ñ una letra muy española
Skills Work
  • Listening and responding.
  • Reading for comprehension.
  • Speaking activities to encourage interaction in class and build confidence.
  • Writing assignments as homework.
  • Games to build vocabulary.

Elementary 3

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Talking by telephone.
  • Talking about films and outdoors activities.
  • Inviting people to go out: accepting and rejecting.
  • Means of transport: Buying a train ticket.
  • Asking and giving directions.
  • Talking about free time activities in the past: weekends and holidays.
  • Expressing possession and preferences.
  • Talking about childhood memories.
Grammar
  • Want + infinitive (Querer + infinitivo)
  • Can / Be able + infinitive (Poder + infinitivo)
  • Regular and irregular verbs in the present.
  • Comparisons.
  • Regular and irregular verbs in the simple past.
  • Regular and irregular verbs in the imperfect.
  • Prepositions ‘a’ and ‘de’.
  • Other uses of ’ser’.
  • Direct and Indirect Object pronouns.
Cultural Content
  • Films in Spain and Latin-America.
  • Going around in Madrid
  • Free time and leisure activities in Spain.
  • The Inca society.
Skills Work
  • Listening and responding.
  • Reading for comprehension.
  • Speaking activities to encourage interaction in class.
  • Writing assignments as homework.
  • Games to build vocabulary.

Intermediate 1

Topics & Vocabulary
  • A wide range of possibilities, inc.: Entertainment, mass media, work, education, changes, cities, people and relationships, arts and politics……
  • Talking about present, future and past events and describing situations.
  • Explaining habitual past actions.
  • Talking about memories
  • Comparing how things used to be and how they are now
  • Explaining anecdotes
  • Reactions: Que pena!, Menos mal! ¿De verdad?
  • Expressing feelings such as happiness, pity, surprise, fear
  • Expressing how long you have been doing an action for
  • Sentence and word building
Grammar
  • Imperfect tense
  • Past simple vs. Imperfect past
  • Prepositions inc. por/para
  • Past pluscuamperfecto
  • Different clause types
Cultural Content
  • Introduction to Spanish and Latin American Literature
  • Differences in vocabulary words between different countries
  • Different indigenous peoples in Latin America and their customs and habits
  • Variety of food in all the Spanish speaking countries
Skills Work
  • Lots of talking and active practice
  • Lots of listening
  • Pronunciation
  • Reading and some Writing

Intermediate 2

Topics & Vocabulary
  • A wide range of possibilities, inc: Entertainment, mass media, work, education, changes, cities, people and relationships, environment, arts and politics, globalisation…….
  • Describing people and the feelings we feel for them and how they make us feel
  • Expressing wishes for us and for others. Ex: Deseo que mis padres sean felices
  • Expressing future wishes. Ex: Espero que no haya mas guerras en el futuro
  • Explaining problems and giving advice
  • Giving orders and instructions
  • Reported speech, ex: Dali dijo que si moria no moriria del todo
  • Passing messages
Grammar
  • Present subjunctive
  • Imperative
  • Conditional tense
  • Pronouns and prepositions
  • Different clause types
Cultural Content
  • Introduction of Spanish and Latin American cinema
  • Aspects of Latin personality
  • Aspects of Latin habits
  • La Fiesta del sol in Peru
  • Refrains and proverbs
Skills Work
  • Lots of talking and active practice
  • Listening
  • Orthography: accents
  • Reading and some Writing

Intermediate 3

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Entertainment, work, education, changes, cities, people and relationships, arts and politics, ecology, environment, publicity…..
  • How to express opinions and argue them with other people
  • Talking about past events, describe them and give and ask opinion how they were
  • Expressing doubt and probability
  • Giving opinion and recommending films
  • Complaining about things and situations
  • Demanding things.
  • Using gestures to communicate.
Grammar
  • Revision of present subjunctive tense, conditional tense, imperative tense and all past tenses.
  • Uses of all past tenses
  • Direct and indirect pronouns
  • Future tense
  • Expression to use when you argue like: me molesta que…,no soporto que…, me sorprende que..
Cultural Content
  • Telling jokes
  • Idioms
  • Introduction to Spanish and Latin American poetry
  • El dia de los santos innocentes
  • Latin American music.
Skills Work
  • Lots of active oral practice
  • Listening
  • Debates
  • Accents
  • Reading and some Writing

Upper Intermediate Lower

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Entertainment, mass media, politics and history, cities and villages, sports, tourism, ecology…
  • Discussing and writing news
  • Expressing and arguing opinions
  • Considering different options
  • Suggesting limits and conditions
  • Expressing agreement or disagreement
  • Referring to other people’s actions or opinions
  • Giving advice
  • Making hypothesis
  • Expressing wishes
  • Expressing doubt
  • Expressing feelings with ‘dar’
Grammar
  • Past tenses
  • Passive voice
  • Impersonal constructions: se + verb in the third person singular and plural
  • Information transmission verbs: manifestar, declarar etc.
  • Creo que + indicative, no creo que + subjunctive
  • Es una tontería / impensable + infinitive / subjunctive
  • Solo si / siempre que…
  • Eso de…
  • En primer / Segundo / … lugar, por último…
  • Conditional
  • Te recomiendo / aconsejo / sugiero que + present subjunctive
  • Imperfect subjective
  • No sabia que…
Cultural Content
  • Spanish and Latin American Arts and Literature and music.
  • How is life in modern cities in Latin America
  • The Amazon rainforest
  • Telling jokes
  • Sayings and proverbs
  • Slang vocabulary and expressions
Skills Work
  • Focus on listening, speaking and communication
  • High level reading
  • Development of writing style and tone
  • Pronunciation/accent work to achieve reduced L1 interference

Upper Intermediate Higher

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Personal relationships
  • Single life and dating
  • Urban tribes
  • Cities and travel
  • Beliefs, expressing positive or negative feelings
  • The European Union
  • Photography
Grammar
  • Past imperfect subjunctive
  • Uses of ‘por y para’
  • Linking words to add, counter or deny information
  • Verbs of opinion and perception
  • Past perfect subjunctive
  • Uses of infinitive
  • Uses of quienes, aquellos que, todo aquel que, el/la/los/las que
  • Se + verbo
Cultural Content
  • Europe and the role of Spain
  • The relationship between Latin America and the USA
  • Informal text language/social media language
  • Sayings and proverbs
Skills Work
  • Focus on listening, speaking and communication
  • High level reading
  • Development of writing style and tone
  • Pronunciation/accent work to achieve reduced L1 interference

Advanced

Functional Language
  • Developing an argument and defending a point of view
  • Challenging arguments and opinions
  • Expressing beliefs and expressing opinions tentatively
  • Summarising information, ideas and arguments
  • Deducing and inferring
  • Justifying an argument
  • Expressing caution and expressing reservation
  • Expressing empathy and sympathy
  • Evaluating different standpoints
Lexis
  • Vocabulary specific to the topic and subject areas
  • Phrases and expressions relating to the language functions listed above
Topics & Culture
  • International events, current political and economic issues
  • The internet, global communication, social media
  • Diversity, equal opportunity, social injustice, human rights
  • The future of the planet, climate change, global warming
  • Well-being, mental health, stress management
Grammar
  • Reported speech
  • Subjunctive, present, past perfect, past imperfect
  • Conditionals
  • Use of ‘quedar’
  • Describing actions and feelings
  • Use of ‘se’
  • Uses of the gerund
  • Temporal phrases
  • Phrases for reformulating and exemplifying
  • Phrases for cause and consequence
Pronuntiation
  • The clear pronunciation of topic and subject-area specific vocabulary
  • Sounds with minimal interference from the first language
  • Various features of pronunciation which only occasionally deviate from an internationally intelligible model
  • A range of stress and intonation patterns, pitch and volume to convey subtle shifts in meaning and attitude

 

Proficiency

Functional Language
  • All of the functions at Advanced level
  • Asserting
  • Denying
  • Softening and downplaying propositions
  • Contradicting
  • Implying
  • Affirming
Lexis
  • A good command of a very broad lexical repertoire
  • A wide range of idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms
  • Phrases and expressions relating to the language functions listed above
Topics & Culture
  • Global economy and the influence of global politics
  • The global rise of the far right in the 21st century
  • Internet fraud, scamming, money laundering
  • The impact of Covid on the workplace and across industry
  • Love, marriage and sexuality in the 21st Century
Grammar
  • All the grammar points covered in previous levels
Pronuntiation
  • Produce individual sounds so as to be fully understood, with only a rare sound that deviates from an internationally intelligible model
  • Stress and intonation patterns which are recognisably specific to the language without any lapses in intelligibility

Understanding Language Levels

If you are taking a language course with Cactus you can find out more about our language levels and how you can track your progress using the ‘can do statements’ below. These statements outline the key things that you should be able to say and understand once you have completed each level. Can do statements are officially recognised as a set of performance-related scales describing what a learner is able to do in a foreign language, in accordance with the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) and the CEFR defined levels.

CEFR Levels

If you are taking a language course with Cactus you can find out more about our language levels and how you can track your progress using the ‘can do statements’. These statements outline the key things that you should be able to say and understand once you have completed each level. Can do statements are officially recognised as a set of performance-related scales describing what a learner is able to do in a foreign language, in accordance with the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) and the CEFR defined levels.

Beginner (A1)

  • You can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type
  • You can introduce yourself and others
  • You can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where you live, what you do, people you know and things you have
  • You can ask and give directions
  • You can order food and drink
  • You can make very basic travel and accommodation arrangements
  • You can have a basic conversation, provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.

Elementary (A2)

  • You can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas including basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography and employment
  • You can communicate in simple and routine tasks, requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters
  • You can describe, in simple terms, aspects of your background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need
  • You can comfortably ‘get by’ when visiting the country, albeit with some difficulty.

Intermediate (B1)

  • You can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
  • You can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken
  • You can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest
  • You can describe experiences and events
  • You can talk about dreams, hopes and ambitions
  • You can briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans
  • You could consider working in the country using the language (e.g. bar/counter work, waiting service in cafes or basic office work).

Upper Intermediate (B2)

  • You can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in your field of specialisation.
  • You can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible, without strain for either party.
  • You can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue, giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
  • You can do business with speakers of the language in most run-of-the-mill situations.

Advanced (C1)

  • You can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning
  • You can express yourself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions
  • You can use the language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes
  • You can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, logical flow of text, and clear awareness of the audience.

Proficient (C2)

  • You can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read
  • You can summarise information from different spoken and written sources
  • You can reconstruct arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation
  • You can express yourself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely
  • You can differentiate finer shades of meaning, even in the most complex situations.

How to book with Cactus

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Simply select which language you would like to learn and from the box below and click lets go.

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