If you learn best with jingles or reading aloud, the Michel Thomas Method may be the best way for you to learn Spanish. Renowned linguist Michel Thomas earned fame as the language teacher to the stars, with clients including Bill Murray and Emma Thompson.
There are several versions of the software, and you can choose the one you need based on your experience speaking Spanish. We tested the Total package, which serves as a Spanish foundation. It contains 12 hours of content and is best for beginners and early intermediate students. For absolute beginners and those who just want to sample the program, the Start version is a good introduction. More advanced courses are available in the Perfect and Masterclass programs. Each course is sold separately.
The Michel Thomas Method is vastly different from many learn Spanish programs we reviewed. There are few interactive components, quizzes or study tools like you find in programs such as Rosetta Stone Spanish or Fluenz Spanish.
At the beginning of each audio lesson, Thomas emphasizes the importance of passive and relaxed learning. You're discouraged from taking notes or studying outside of lessons, while constantly learning in a conversation with a native Spanish speaker. This learning method, coupled with the well-designed mobile app, makes the system particularly useful for learners interested in taking quick lessons on the go. You can pause and start lessons in the app, and it includes a flashcard game.
Lesson content builds gradually on itself, and each lesson lasts five minutes. In the first lesson, you learn cognates – Spanish words with similar-sounding English words, such as "posible, no posible." You learn to string sentences together along with their negatives to help you learn basic Spanish grammar.
There are some word games available through the software, but you can breeze through them quickly without much review. The games consist of fill-in-the-blank and matching activities. We found the Michel Thomas Method effective for some learners, but others may grow weary of the system quickly because of the lack of reading and writing exercises.
The Michel Thomas Method encourages passive learning in a relaxed environment, so it lacks the visual and interactive elements of the best programs we reviewed. The mobile app has the same content as the desktop app, and because the curriculum is so audio-heavy, it is a good option for those who prefer to learn on the go.