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.
I decided to write this book and set up SMART-Learning for Spanish, because teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language I realised that many students were making slow progress and experiencing stress simply because they had not been taught how to manage their language learning effectively.
I have now researched and trained students in smart language learning principles and strategies for several years. The results are excellent: students progress faster and become more effective independent learners. They also experience more self-confidence as a result of the training. I also have extensive experience training language teachers on smart language learning principles and strategies.
The workshops, coaching, interactive talks, and book are very well received by students and teachers. You can read examples of typical feedback in the Testimonials page and below.
~ The book is very clear and practical, I really enjoyed reading it, it’s very good, it also made me think a lot about what I could have done with the French as a student, it can really be extrapolated to other languages. ~ 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
~ I really wish this book had been available when I first started learning Spanish in the Mid 1980s. Blanco has really understood the learning process and how important it is to balance formal and informal learning methods. This little book is jammed packed with useful advice and strategies backed up both by research and the author’s own experience. Some of these I had worked out for myself over many years of learning and lots of mistakes. Others hadn’t occurred to me. The book is clearly written so even if English is not your first language it is easy to follow. I think we all need to ‘learn how to learn’ when it comes to languages. It really doesn’t come naturally to most of us.~ Dr Claire Wijayatilake, Freelance English Language Teaching Consultant
~ SMART Ways of Learning Spanish is an inspirational account of how real students as well as the author herself discovered the benefits of using learning strategies to learn and teach Spanish as a foreign language. The book has been written in a very engaging way and readers will feel they are accompanying the students and Maria in their voyage of discovery.
The book has been cleverly divided in short and easy-to-read chapters, which encourages the reader to read on. Each of the chapters features one of two narratives by different students and a host of insights from research on second language learning and learning strategies that the author has carefully selected to complement the different narratives of learning. There are also reflective activities that invite readers to link the contents of the chapters with their own experiences of learning Spanish or other foreign languages.
The core chapters of SMART Ways of Learning Spanish focus on strategies for learning the key elements of the Spanish language. Thus, readers will find chapters dealing with strategies for learning vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar. These chapters are followed by a series of strategies that will teach readers how to take control and manage their own learning, which, in my view, are as important as the key elements of the language. The book ends with a list of very interesting and extremely useful suggestions such as ‘What to do next?’ and ‘Resources’.
Although Maria Blanco has written SMART Ways of Learning Spanish for students interested in learning Spanish, the strategies explored in her book could be used by learners of any foreign language. By the same token, the content, narratives, and examples of the book will make it a useful resource for teachers of foreign languages.
I would highly recommend SMART Ways of Learning Spanish to students of foreign languages in general and of Spanish in particular at any level of proficiency, and to teachers of foreign languages interested in helping their own students discover SMART Ways of Learning a foreign language.~ Dr Julio Gimenez, Head of the Westminster Professional Language Centre, University of Westminster
~ I highly recommend this book because it is very practical and useful. It is very well addressed to language teachers and students. This book made me aware, one more time, about the importance of giving the students strategies for learning. I completely agree that learning by doing is crucial. This book summarises a list of good practices for teaching learning strategies to students in a very simple, affordable and successful way. ~ María José Gonzálvez, Spanish Language Teacher, Instituto Cervantes London
~ 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.
More feedback on coaching and teacher training in Testimonials