Learn Spanish: The Tebbitt Method - Unit 1

Discover a new simple method to learn the Spanish language.

Learn Spanish: The Tebbitt Method - Unit 1

Discover a new simple method to learn the Spanish language.
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About the Class

What is the Tebbitt Method?

The Tebbitt Method is a simple method to maximize language learning. This simple format can be translated into any language, and this can be used for private classes or a class of 200 people or more.

How can it be used for a class of so many people and still be effective?

The reason it can be used in a class for so many people because the method interacts with our normal social behavior. Peer learning is key to this method, and by starting with the very basics of the language, you are introduced to the vocabulary most needed to get by socially in a different language. This then expands, encouraging you to have a spontaneous conversation, perhaps something completely different from the vocabulary taught.

Does this method work with a class of different levels and ages?

Yes. The method is for students with no skills or knowledge of the language. Still, after teaching with the Method in many classes with adults and children over the past three years, I have found that this could still be useful to students with good knowledge and understanding of the language. I have had many group classes where one student has quite a good level of English for his age, and the level or age of the other student was inferior, and the method can still be used.

This is because the students are being introduced to vocabulary that is not being taught in schools but is used widely in Native English speaking countries. So in every lesson, there are about 7 – 12 words. Two or three of those words would be considered to be a high level. For example, a speaker with a fairly good level will probably know the words:

Hello, Good morning. Goodnight. How are you? Good, and you?

But they probably don’t know the words:

I’m glad, the same to you, that’s amazing! That’s terrible!

All of these words mentioned above are in lessons 1 and 2 of the Tebbitt Method.    

How does it work?    

The Tebbitt Method is comprised of Units. Each unit is about 50 pages. 30 of these pages are the ‘Lessons’. Each lesson has a title, which is a question. The first question is, ‘What is your name?’. The Second is ‘How are you?’. The fourth ‘What do you like to do?’. The 15th  is ‘Where have you been?’. Question 100 is ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?. As you can see, it gets more and more complex as you go on.

Every three lessons, there is a dictation; this is a simple way to practice and test the vocabulary you have learned. There are between 7 and 12 words learned in every lesson, and 25 of them are placed in a list. The student must translate the words into their native language. Sometimes there will be several possible answers; this is a good way for the students to understand that many words do not have a direct translation.

Also, this gives a good indication to the teacher how much this student has retained. The student keeps a note of his score on the results page. This is a good way for the student or the teacher to look at his/her results page, go back to any previous dictation, and test them on the vocabulary they didn’t get correct.

Every 15 lessons, there is a level test. This is another dictation but with the most challenging vocabulary/expressions/phrases in the last 15 lessons.

Every 10 lessons, there is a listening test. This is a prolonged listening, which is an extended conversation of all of the questions in the lessons. There are about 10 – 20 questions the students have to answer. They can listen to it 2 or 3 three times then again when going through the audio with the teacher correcting the test.

The other five or so pages are made up of exercises/tests about the verbs, expression, or phrasal verbs they have learned so far. There are about four or five games the teacher can incorporate into the classes if required. The index page at the front of the book happens to be a long list of questions. The students can revise the method by just looking at the index and asking questions to their partner.

Assessment in the Tebbitt Method

At the end of each unit, the student would have completed 30 lessons. As a result, he would have done 10 dictations of 25 words each. That’s a total of 250 marks. This is the first sign of assessment, focused simply on being able to recall the meanings of words they have learned.

Also, they would have completed 3 listening tests and 2 level tests. The listening test is a long listening with 15-20 questions in each test. The two-level tests in each unit are 50 of the most challenging words/phrases/expressions in the unit.

Last but not least is the speaking and listening assessment that goes on throughout the method. The student is constantly talking to his classmates, and depending on the size of the class, he will have regular conversations with the student. If the teacher isn’t sure if the student understands something in the lesson, he can ask one of the questions available and talk to him: testing and reinforcing. The Dictations, Listening tests, and level tests also serve to test and reinforce the learning of the vocabulary.

What does the ‘Lesson’ pages contain?

The first thing you will see is the Title and the number of the lesson. The title is a question. The second thing you will see is a table with about 7 – 12 words in separate columns. The first column is the words in the student's native language. The second column is for the translated words in the desired language. The third column is blank. The students will hear the word in the desired language, followed by the word in their native language, followed again by the word in the desired language.

Then there will be a pause, and this is for the students to repeat the word out loud and write in the third column how they would spell it phonetically to better pronounce the word. There is no right or wrong answer. It’s whatever the student thinks it sounds like, for example, The Spanish word for Hello – Hola. If I were an English student studying Spanish, I would put in the third column ‘ola’ because the Spanish don’t pronounce the ‘H’ at all, and for me its sounds like ‘ola’ even though they write it with an H.

This repeats between 7 and 12 times, giving you, on average, 10 new words, phrases, expressions, and questions.

Below the table, there is a short Example conversation. This will be a short normal conversation using the title question, and the vocabulary learned in the lesson and possibly before.

The student/students will hear the conversation in the audio, and then they will read the conversation giving the teacher a chance to check pronunciation. Then the students will then translate the conversation into their language. Sometimes a word cannot be translated literally and have to think a bit harder.

Not in every lesson, but in most, there will be a note. This is a little bit of advice or a grammar rule. The students will read this, and the teacher will get his opportunity to explain something that the students want to be explained further. In the teacher’s book of the Tebbitt method, you will see a note for the teacher saying, for example: teach the difference between this, that, these, those. This is important to the Method. The teacher always needs to be evaluated and watching his class closely; if he sees a gap of knowledge, I want him/her to fill the gap in his/her style.  

After the example conversation comes to the ‘Second conversation’. This is a listening test longer than the example conversation but not as long and the ‘listening test’. The student should make notes about the audio because there will be around 2 to 6 questions the teacher will ask about the audio. This audio is based around the title question but is more complex and can have things from previous lessons.

The next stage is for the students to practice between themselves. Give the students between 3 to 5 minutes to have a conversation based around the title question. Try to practice it a few times with different people, encourage them to have a genuine conversation. Asking different questions to different people. The answers don’t have to be true; it would be better if they practiced several different answers.

The final part of the Lesson page is the ‘Revision questions. These are between 2 – 5 questions to help the student have the longest possible conversation, and for the teacher to go around and test the students with their speaking and listening, correcting as always.  

The teacher would then go back a few lessons and use the revision questions of previous lessons to revise a little before moving on to the next lesson or exercise.    


Alex Tebbitt


Alex Tebbitt's School


  • You should have a pen and paper.
  • You need to be native English or at least a high level.

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What's Included

Language: English
Level: Beginner
Skills: Tebbitt Method, Spanish
Age groups: All ages
Duration: 1 hour 40 minutes
16 Videos
15 Documents
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