Warren's Classes are Fun & Extremely Effective
by Ann Kuffner, 2018 Spanish School Alumni
Having attended many International Living conferences, I’ve often enjoyed Warren Hardy’s infectious Spanish mini-lessons. My intent was to one day take classes at his Spanish school, in San Miguel de Allende. That day finally came after my husband and I moved to San Miguel, in May of 2018. We’d lived in Belize – where English is the primary language - for ten years. We knew that living in San Miguel, our lives would be easier, and richer, if we spoke at least some Spanish.
Years ago, I’d attended Spanish immersion programs in Antigua, Guatemala, and then in Merida, Mexico. Both are delightful Spanish Colonial towns. But the Spanish classes were frustrating since they were conducted entirely in Spanish. That approach was intimidating. But Warren’s teaching approach addresses how those of us who are no longer “youngsters” learn. And, his concept of focusing on “Power Verbs” first totally makes sense.
Ann Kuffner - Warren HArdy Spanish Student and Alumni
I’ve now completed the Level 1 Power Verbs class and am almost finished with the Communications Skills class. From Day 1, I was thrilled with the approach used at the Hardy Spanish School. We were allowed to ask questions in English in the first class. What a relief! That significantly reduced my stress while learning! The classes are fun. For me, the three hours fly by quickly. Each student is paired with a partner of a similar level. Given my past Spanish studies, verbs and words came back to me quickly. So, I ended up with three different partners during the first class, which sped up my rate of progress.
The flash card approach used in classes is extremely effective. As Warren explained, our elder brains best absorb new knowledge through repetition. Working on exercises with a partner, we zipped through the verb cards, prompting one another when needed. Patricia - our excellent teacher - and her assistants wandered during the exercises. They corrected our pronunciation and answered questions. Partners switch every few minutes, so time moves fast.
Another benefit, the Hardy approach puts significant emphasis on pronunciation. We drilled on our pronunciation every single class. This is critical to progress. Through personal experience I had learned that if you use the correct word, but your pronunciation is not correct, you often will not be understood.
My husband and I bought a new house in San Miguel. So, I had to put my Spanish to the test immediately. We hired a variety of contractors to work on projects at the house, preparing it so that we can move in. Many locals in the Centro area of town speak English. But few local contractors speak English. After a few weeks in the Power Verbs class, I managed to communicate with our contractors, with some assistance from Google translate!
Next week I’ll start the Level 2 Verbs and Pronouns class. It will be great to tackle past tense. After that comes the Storytelling class… By the end of 2018 I should be able to hold a decent conversation in Spanish with my new neighbors!