Alright, you are thinking how to choose the best Spanish school in Madrid! You have already shown considerable wisdom in your choice of location, let’s stay on a roll and see some tips for choosing a Spanish school in Madrid. Now you may be wondering why this Spanish school in Madrid would offer advice on choosing schools, and how neutral this advice can be but we’re just going to say straight up this article will definitely contain some subjective opinions; actually, you might as well stop reading now, we are the best.
But seriously, there simply is a whole range of different schools out there, and some may claim to appeal equally well to everyone, but in reality some will be better suited to some than others. We are a school managed by a team of teachers, our main goal is to acquire a fair wage and be happy doing what we love; teaching and managing our own school in the best way. We are not going to make lists of schools, but more specifically what to watch out for, and we will explain where we fit in the picture.
Tips for choosing a Spanish school in Madrid
Accreditated by the Instituto Cervantes
You should check out if the Spanish school is accredited by the Instituto Cervantes. This means that the courses meet the highest standards of quality. This factor is essential, but Keep it in mind that there are a lots of accredited Spanish schools.
Types of People
Some of the schools cater to larger numbers from specific countries, or some of the bigger chains will be geared towards language holidays for teenagers for instance. A good variety is what is generally considered best for learning effectively, and that is what you will find here at Cronopios. If you cannot always continue to converse with classmates in your own language, or if your course group contains people who can’t speak English then this is actually a plus, you will need to use your Spanish when talking to them whether in class or during the after school activities. This might sound daunting, but in fact these people share your level after all, you will find it is easiest to talk to them without feeling self-conscious. When you first realise that you can communicate with the people around you this is a real pleasure.
There is of course a range of sizes, from smaller schools like ourselves with 9 classrooms, to ones that are part of large international chains, offering different languages in locations all over the planet.
Pay attention when doing your research; some of the larger schools act like some hotels do on travel sites, they pushily market themselves, they consistently do very well in search engine scoring but this is the result of a lot of chasing students for reviews, and even offering freebies in exchange for better reviews. In other words, some schools game the system. The fact that they have the best ratings and are at the top of search engine results is, shock horror surprise!, not the result of simply being the best at what they do. Be critical when looking at ratings, just as you would elsewhere.
Perhaps most important to many people, price is unavoidably a major factor in one’s calculations. There are schools out there that come up as the best in search results, and then cost the most, but this is not a real guarantee of the best quality, as explained above. Cronopios consistently offers prices below average for intensive courses because of our commitment to affordable education.
Even though they do not offer intensive courses, the cheapest option is actually to take lessons from the official government language schools. But they have limited capacity and at times the quality can vary. Furthermore, if you do not speak Spanish, actually getting registered can be a challenge as the process is not exactly streamlined and there are no English speakers among the admin staff. All in all though, if you do get a place, and a good teacher then this can definitely be a very good option.
Again, be wary, there are private schools which offer bargain bin prices on their courses but these will often be of low quality, will not deliver on promises such as the number of teaching hours per week, or employ teachers under exploitative conditions, which takes us to our next consideration:
A fair deal
You might be surprised to find this aspect listed here, but if you consider the effect some aspects of tourism and travel on have on Madrid and its people it actually makes sense. Spanish language courses are a hugely lucrative business and yet the Spanish as a foreign language teachers sector is rife with bad working conditions. In other words, your teachers are actually quite likely to be working for near minimum wage, without decent contracts and are generally expected to work unpaid over hours if they want to keep their jobs. This school, Cronopios Idiomas, was specifically created as a teacher’s cooperative, it was founded by our teachers a few years ago because of these specific inequalities and injustices in the language school sector in Madrid and Spain in general.
How to choose the best Spanish school
If you want to be careful about choosing a Spanish school in Madrid you will have found that it isn’t always easy. First of all read the reviews written by students. Once you find yourself here in Madrid you might find it easier to make choices by visiting some of the schools, or asking around at one of the language exchange evenings that take place on every weekday in bars across the city.