I am María Blanco, the author of “SMART Ways for Learning SPANISH” and the founder of  SMART-Learning for Spanish,  an educational centre dedicated to coaching and training students and teachers on smart language learning strategies.

Many students have never been trained to learn effectively by themselves a foreign language . As a result, their experience is usually more stressful than it needs to be. But there are simple, effective and enjoyable principles and strategies that can be easily learnt and applied when learning foreign languages.  They support deep and long-lasting learning, improve performance, increase motivation, and boost self-confidence. Those smart principles and strategies are the focus of my work with students and teachers.

My approach is the result of more than 20 years of experience of teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language and my passion for helping students to enjoy and succeed in learning Spanish and other foreign languages. My coaching and book also incorporate research from applied linguistics and cognitive psychology.

“SMART Ways for Learning Spanish” ~ Reviews

~ El libro es muy claro y práctico.  Yo disfruté mucho leyéndolo.  Viene muy bien.  También me hizo mucho pensar en lo que podría haber hecho con el francés como estudiante.  Se puede, realmente, extrapolar a otras lenguas. ~ Débora Staryfurman, Codirector of AbeCé Spanish, Corporate Spanish Courses

~ From page one this is an interesting, informative and engaging book. It presents principles for effective language learning as well as strategies for vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation, interweaving current research on applied linguistics and cognitive psychology with useful tips and advice for learning, anecdotes and examples. All of these are illustrated with stories from students which will resonate with most, if not all, language learners. The fact that students (and teachers) can identify with the thoughts, feelings and struggles of other students and, at the same time, be presented with a variety of easy to follow solutions is, in my opinion, a great achievement. The strategies are clearly presented and explained, they are very easy to follow and to use.

I think this is an excellent book for anyone involved in the teaching and learning of a foreign language. I found that, as it usually happens with good books, I didn’t want it to end! In my opinion, this is a great and necessary read for teachers and students alike. ~ Valentina Gamba-Tupper, Spanish Teacher, University of Westminster

~ Just now a new volume appeared replete with strategies for learning Spanish. It is written by a highly experienced instructor of Spanish at the University of Westminster in London. Hopefully, many more such volumes will appear offering strategies for learning and using a host of other world languages. ~ Dr Andrew D. Cohen, Professor Emeritus at the University of Minessota, in Language Learner Strategies: A Call for Fine-tuned Strategy Classification.

Coaching and Training Testimonials

~ Asistí al taller de María Blanco “En el aula: Las inteligencias múltiples y estrategias de aprendizaje”, que tuvo lugar el en Instituto Cervantes de Londres y fue una maravilla de taller, muy claro, bien pautado y con conclusiones a partir de su propia experiencia en el aula. Me ayudó mucho a tener una visión clara de los diferentes tipos de estrategias que existen y qué actividades podemos usar en clase para activarlas. Para mí las estrategias eran algo más relacionado con una cuestión más personal del estudiante, de su estilo de aprendizaje y de sus creencias. Pero este taller me hizo ver que esas estrategias individuales se pueden activar en clase y de forma enriquecedora para todos. Igualmente me ayudó a reflexionar sobre la necesidad de incluir estrategias de aprendizaje en nuestras planificaciones de clase, cómo activarlas, dado el enorme beneficio que tienen en el incremento de la motivación y confianza del alumno.
Especialmente interesantes me parecieron las estrategias de audición, dada la enorme dificultad que supone comprender mensajes orales a gran parte de nuestro alumnado.
También me pareció muy significativa la actividad que hizo María en el taller de encajar los tipos de inteligencia con los contenidos de las actividades realizadas en clase.~ Nieves Haya, Spanish Teacher, Instituto Cervantes Londres

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