When I started teaching Spanish 35 years ago, my first job was teaching a group of doctors that wanted to go fishing in Mexico. They wanted “fishing Spanish”. To meet their unusual needs, I created a bunch of handouts with fishing vocabulary and some grammar components in the Present Tense. This in fact, became my first Spanish workbook of about 20 pages. My course was successful and they all declared that without it they wouldn’t have caught as many fish.
Upon returning from Mexico this same group engaged me to teach them medical Spanish in the local hospital. Again there were no workbooks to teach to their specific needs. I took the same tact of finding out their special vocabulary and then created the grammar components they needed to communicate with their patients. I had now created two Spanish workbooks and I was still in college. This workbook grew over a period of years from a few handouts to a bound Spanish workbook of about one hundred pages.
During this evolution I became a student of Spanish workbooks. I was getting a degree in Spanish education and had studied with many Spanish books both with the purpose of teaching Spanish grammar and literature. As I began to teach Spanish to adult learners I found that none of these workbooks were designed for my students. I researched Spanish workbooks in bookstores and found that there were many reference books but no Spanish workbooks with exercises.
I began to talk to teachers that were teaching adults. These teachers were teaching in community colleges, community centers, and in private schools. Without exception these teachers complained about the same problem. There were no good Spanish workbooks that supported their teaching. In all cases they had to create their own materials that turned out to be a bunch of handouts.
Teachers complained that the available Spanish workbooks offered some explanations but very few exercises. The content was rarely relevant to their students needs. The teaching components bounced from place to place without any logical progression. There were never any exams that allowed evaluation of student progress.
After graduating from college I was offered a contract with the Public Health Service training doctors who were entering rural health clinics where only Spanish was spoken. Again I used my own workbook.
Several years later I founded my own school for adult learners. These students were learning Spanish for tourism and work. At this point I had been teaching Spanish and writing Spanish workbooks for over 10 years and was beginning to master the art of the Spanish workbook and what worked for the adult Spanish learner.
In 1990 I moved to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico with the purpose of refining and publishing my learning system. I had learned several things about the needs of my students and what makes a good Spanish workbook
What makes a good Spanish Workbook?:
1. A clear and logical learning path.
2. Plenty of exercises for retention.
3. Relevant content to the learner’s communication needs.
4. Review sections to repeat and reinforce each concept.
5. Self-correcting quizzes or exams to test progress.
6. Integrated flashcards as a left-brain learning tool.
7. Integrated audios that contain the same content found in the workbooks.
With this in mind I began to write my course of study. Instead of basing the content on situations like the hotel or restaurant, I decided to base it on the one hundred most common Spanish verbs. This would allow flexibility with the vocabulary and provide a linear path through the Spanish tenses and basic Spanish grammar.
I began to use the workbooks immediately in class and developed a paired learning method that used both my Spanish workbooks and Spanish flashcards as learning tools in the classroom. Over a period of 10 years and 5000 students I refined and honed my Spanish workbooks to perfection in the Warren Hardy School in San Miguel de Allende.
In 2000 I published my course of study. It had developed into a four level curriculum with four Spanish workbooks integrated with flashcards and audios. Each Spanish workbook contains 160 pages of exercises gently layered together with self-correcting quizzes. These workbooks take you through all the tenses and the basics of Spanish grammar in a clear and gentle way and it is fun.
Besides meeting all the criteria for a good Spanish workbook, I wanted to make sure the books themselves were user friendly. I chose the finest in materials for easy use and writing. They have a lay flat binder and 90 lb.white bond paper.
I am proud to say that the Warren Hardy Spanish workbooks are used by successful Spanish teachers and independent learners worldwide at home, in community colleges, private schools, home schools, and companies. This learning system is created for the adult brain and is the result of 20 years of teaching and learning what works for adults.
I can guarantee you will like my workbooks or I will happily return your money.
As you can see, all Spanish Workbooks are not created equal.