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JOHN F. COONEY

“I am an intermediate Spanish student, and I have been taking small group lessons from Santiago Montero once a week for several months. He is a gifted and sympathetic teacher, with a great many interests and a real talent for making the class fun for each of the participants. His enthusiasm is infectious, and I have enjoyed the interactions with Santiago and the other students so much that I have reorganized my professional commitments to carve out the time to prepare for his classes. Santiago has developed a logical method of taking students through grammar, in 10 or 15 minute installments per class, so that we understand the principles without feeling that the rules are being drummed into our heads. As a victim of four years of high school French, I greatly appreciate his intelligent approach, which has proven to be successful in helping us learn the various subjunctive tenses. Santiago’s great gift is in helping his students talk and develop an active command of what they have learned from books. He understands the different levels of proficiency of each student in the class and talks to each of us at our own current level, in a natural manner and without giving a hint that he is simplifying his conversation for the less advanced. Santiago encourages and gives each of us the confidence to keep talking and, when we reach an obstacle, to go back and reformulate our thoughts and work around the problem. At the end of a class segment, he goes back and points out errors that we have made — not as an editor or a defender of the language, but the mistakes that are one step ahead of where we are now, so that we understand how we can correct those faults and keep making constant progress towards the next level. Santiago sends us articles about sports, the Internet, movies and current events, so that we walk into class with interesting subjects to discuss, and the conversation starts immediately and does not stop. Santiago also has had us read and discuss interesting short stories in Spanish. In this way, he introduces us easily to the higher levels of discourse in the language, in a manner that I feel as if I am taking an introductory literature class as a fringe benefit. I would be delighted to recommend Santiago as a teacher to any one, at any level.”

 

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