The importance of English

The children in the pool

The children in the pool

During the summer holidays I have been giving English tuition, two mornings a week, to a small group of Spanish children whose parents have holiday apartments in Las Negras. Yesterday was their last lesson so, in the evening, I invited them for a swim in our pool.
Margareta, Jose Manuel, Inma, Alma and Paloma

Margareta, Jose Manuel, Inma, Alma and Paloma

The deep economic crisis in Spain and record levels of unemployment have made people aware of the importance of speaking English, particularly as more Spanish people are seeking employment in the UK.
My youngest and oldest pupils

My youngest and oldest pupils

Unfortunately, the standard of English teaching in Spanish schools is lamentably inadequate. Although the children learn to read and write English, there is very little oral tuition and they do not hear the language spoken. As a result, the children lack the confidence for conversation and their pronunciation is very bad. English and American films shown on Spanish TV are dubbed in Spanish and for this reason I have suggested to the parents that they get DVDs of some classic English children’s films such as ‘The Railway Children’ and ‘Five Children and “It”’ which are available from
Because the children were so reluctant to speak English, I taught them a number of simple songs, including the old American song “I bought me a cat”, which they enjoy and are able to sing with confidence.


About Margaret Merry

I grew up in Falmouth, Cornwall, England where, after leaving Falmouth High School, I spent a year at Falmouth School of Art. Then followed three years at Hornsey College of Art in London where I obtained a Diploma in Art and Design. I then spent a post-graduate year at the West of England College of Art in Bristol where I gained an Art Teacher?s Diploma and a Certificate in Education of the University of Bristol. I lived and worked in Truro for over 30 years and became one of Cornwall's most popular artists. My paintings have been exhibited in New York, Tokyo, Paris and London and have been bought by collectors from all over the world. I have published 4 books which became local bestsellers - 'The Natural History of a Westcountry City', 'Margaret Merry's Cornish Garden Sketchbook', 'Sea & Sail' and 'Tidal Reaches'. In 2002 I moved to Spain and now live pn a small farmer the town of Alhabia in the Alpujarra Almeriense in the Province of Almeria. I now get my inspiration from the dramatic scenery of Andalucia and its old cities, towns and villages which I usually capture in watercolour. I also enjoy portraiture and figurative art, particularly nudes and dancers. For these paintings I use artists' soft pastels. I have written and illustrated 3 children's books - The Wise Old Boar, The Lonely Digger and The Adventure of Princess The Pony - which have been published in the USA.
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4 Responses to The importance of English

  1. rondje says:

    Definitely could do with some improving here in Spain, seems like a rewarding job too and the pool looks great. Saludos, Ron.

  2. Angela says:

    I bet you all really enjoy this and you are just the person to teach good English!

  3. Maureen says:

    That’s wonderful. Children are always fun to be around. I’m you learned a lot from them, too. I’m from the US and don’t think I’ve ever heard the song. LOL
    OT. Are the property costs dropping in Spain because of the crisis? My dream is to live there 6 months and here 6. I’m wondering if now is the time to buy.

  4. jeune01 says:

    Good for you Margaret……..some of our “imported’ doctors could do with some English lessons!! The pool looks great!
    Love to you both

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